2 February 2014

Liberia: Pres. Sirleaf Presents Panel Report

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as Chairman of the African Union or AU High Level Panel on Fragile States presented her final report at the just ended 22nd Session of the Assembly of the African Union, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, with recommendations to reverse the entrapment of fragile states in poverty.

Mrs. Sirleaf's committee also promoted the spirit of friendship and partnership, embodied in optimism and commitment throughout all nations. Presenting the report, Mrs. Sirleaf, said, the Panel conducted a robust year-long consultative and deliberative process with African Governments and civil society whose responses noted that fragility is a universal problem; that all nations directly or indirectly are at risk and must work collectively to address it.

Mrs. SIrleaf also noted that countries that lack robust institutions, diversified economies and inclusive political systems are the most vulnerable, and that fragility comes about when internal or external pressures become too great for national institutions and political processes to manage, creating a risk of violence.

She further pointed out that the report endorses the findings of the New Deal on Fragile States, which calls for stronger ownership, harmonization, results and mutual accountability; that broad-based and participatory country leadership and ownership of all actors, including government, civil society and the private sector, are pre-conditions for sustained and irreversible gains.

Mrs. Sirleaf said the report, which is based on the themes of managing change and forging partnership, recognizes that Africa is changing at extraordinary speed and that the values of peace, security and justice are central to development.

"If we are to build resilient and legitimate states, address the potential drivers of conflict and effectively meet challenges of change that will inevitably come, there is need for inclusive and proactive policies to be implemented by all African countries, regional and continental institutions, as well as development partners," she said.

She noted that the Report calls for policies implemented going forward to be done under the framework of five recommendations, which stipulate: Increased focus on potentially disruptive economic, social and environmental change; new instruments for supporting private sector development in isolated communities; more use of private sector and civil society capacity in delivering public goods and services; investment in regional frameworks for resilience; and a more integrated response to conflict and fragility.

"There is confidence that with the guidance and commitment of Member States, measures can be implemented to ensure that, in the future and in conflict-affected areas, no person, community or nation will be left behind, and everybody can look to prosperity through sustained growth and development," she stated.

For his part, the AfDB President, Dr. Kaberuka, in thanking President Sirleaf and Panel members for accepting to serve, observed that security and development are inseparable, and thus fragility, which leads to insecurity and conflict, must be tackled.

Dr. Kaberuka pointed out that the progress made in the Central African Republic and South Sudan had been reversed due to the re-emergence of conflict, and that they would have to start all over again.

He said that the report helped in understanding the factors that promote fragility, and called for concerted actions, based on the Panel's report, to address fragility sustainably.

Several African leaders who commented on the report praised the Liberian President for her brilliant leadership qualities and for being of service to the continent.

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