Liberia Gets Us$5m From UN Peacebuilding Support Office

Mohammed Ibn Chambas, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, briefs the Security Council meeting on peace consolidation in West Africa and the Sahel on July 24, 2019.
24 January 2019

The United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) has approved five million United States dollars for the 2019 implementation of four projects that will advance reconciliation efforts, and enhance the sustenance of peace in Liberia, a release has disclosed.

The projects to be implemented by the United Nations Country Team include: 'Advancing Reconciliation Through Legislative Reforms and Civic Engagements' (1.6 Million USD), 'Sustaining Peace and Improving Social Cohesion Through The Promotion of Rural Employment Opportunities for Youth in Conflict-Prone Area' (1.5 Million USD), 'Socio-Economic Empowerment of Disadvantaged Youth in Liberia' (1.4 Million USD), and 'Support to the Liberia Multi-Partner Trust Fund/Peacebuilding Fund (LMPTF-PBF) Joint Secretariat' (500,000 USD).

The disclosure was made by the United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding Support Mr. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco during an acquaintance meeting with His Excellency Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Liberia to the United Nations. "We have just approved in the month of December 2018, the most recent projects to support reconciliation efforts which is so much at the heart of His Excellency President George Manneh Weah's Agenda, and core to the sustaining peace dimensions of the work that we discuss at the Peacebuilding Commission", United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding Support Mr. Oscar Fernandez-Taranco explained.

In addition to the approved support, Mr. Fernandez-Taranco said the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) would remain strongly committed to fully supporting Liberia's peacebuilding efforts this year"; stressing that Liberia is one of the primary beneficiaries of the Peacebuilding Fund, receiving around 65 Million United States Dollars in the past ten (10) years 2008-2018. "We are here to support you (Liberia), and we are here to support your endeavors in consolidating the gains already attained in Liberia".

According to a dispatch from the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations, the Assistant Secretary General hailed the Government of Liberia for the passage of the Land Rights Act (LRA) and the Local Government Act (LGA), and pledged to explore the possibility to gather support from the Peace Building Support Office of the United Nations for these instruments - Land Rights Act (LRA) and the Local Government Act (LGA).

On the upcoming Peacebuilding Commission meeting, Mr. Fernandez-Taranco reiterated that the meeting would be an opportunity to showcase Liberia in the context of the Peacebuilding Commission, and an ideal platform to provide pertinent details about Liberia's National Development Agenda - the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).

He encouraged the Government to use the meeting to seek further support for the Liberia Transition Multi-Partner Trust Fund (LTMPTF) - the United Nations system's principle financing mechanism for supporting programs designed to sustain peace in Liberia following UNMIL's departure.

United Nations Assistant Secretary General Fernandez-Taranco expressed his fullest support, and that of the United Nations Peace Building Support Office for the launching of Liberia's National Development Agenda - the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Thursday, January 31, 2019.

Mr. Fernandez-Taranco asserted that Liberia's peacekeeping experience has inspired the world, noting that important lessons have been learned from the transition, and would be replicated in other Peacekeeping Missions globally.

Mr. Fernandez-Taranco also hailed the role of UNMIL Radio, now ECOWAS Radio; and said it was important for the United Nations Peace Building Support Office to support the station to enable it play a more meaningful role, not just for Liberia, but for the region.

The Assistant Secretary General also used the meeting to express his positive impression about Ambassador Kemayah's professional background and wealth of multi-faceted experience, including, but not limited to his engagement in the transition process in Liberia, Business Executive Experience in the Private Sector, experience working in the Non-Governmental Organization -

NGO/Civil Society Sector, Membership in the past on a number of Public Sector related Boards, past role as Chairman of the Liberia Coordinating Mechanism (LCM) of the Global Fund; and said; with such experience, the Liberian diplomat could make meaningful contribution to the working of the United Nations.

In response, Ambassador Kemayah said he was very pleased to receive United Nations Assistant Secretary General Mr. Fernandez-Taranco and his Team at the Office of Liberia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York, and expressed his happiness that the meeting was taking place on the eve of the Peace Building Commission's meeting on Liberia, slated for Thursday, January 31, 2019.

Ambassador Kemayah described the meeting as having critical relevance; particularly considering Liberia's ongoing engagements with the United Nations Peace Building Support Office, and on behalf of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, the Government and People of Liberia, thanked the Peace Building Support Office for its approval of five million United States dollars for the implementation of Peace Building and Reconciliation related programs this year -2019.

Ambassador Kemayah used the meeting to urge United Nations Assistant Secretary General Fernandez-Taranco and the United Nations Peace Building Support Office to advocate for support for the Government of Liberia's Pro-Poor Agenda, and to also consider the integration of activities and projects of Liberia's Pro-Poor Agenda into priority areas for support by the United Nations Peace Building Support Office.

Responding to Ambassador Kemayah's request for support for the Pro-Poor Agenda, United Nations Assistant Secretary General Mr. Fernandez-Taranco committed his support and that of the United Nations Peace Building Support Office for the Pro - Poor Agenda of the Government of Liberia.

Mr. Fernandez-Taranco then reiterated that the Liberia Transition Multi-Partner Trust Fund (LTMPTF) could also be used as one of the resource mobilization channels for support for Liberia's Pro-Poor Agenda.

Speaking further, Ambassador Kemayah said Liberia was proud to be a peacekeeping success story, but stressed that it was time to build on the success and sustain the peace in Liberia by drawing on the lessons learned to address the root causes of the civil war in Liberia, especially poverty. "I say to our international partners and friends that the success story is good, but we would like to see it being better. To be better, there has to be appropriate strategies and mechanisms in place to sustain that success story, and take it to another level.

Such strategies and mechanisms cannot work in isolation of support towards livelihood - social and economic development support for the Government of Liberia and the Liberian people.

Not only do we wish to sustain the success story, we aspire to elevate it to the highest echelon where total fear of relapse into civil upheaval will be totally and perpetually eliminated"; Ambassador Kemayah stressed.

Ambassador Kemayah further explained that "the visionary President of Liberia, His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah has taken the first and key step with the crafting and subsequent launching on Saturday, October 27, 2018 in Ganta, Nimba County, of the Government of Liberia's flagship National Development Agenda - The Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD)".

The Liberian Diplomat highlighted that the Pro-poor Agenda with its vision of "power to the people" waplanss focused on road connectivity, a development that President Weah rightly views as encompassing to all sectors.

Ambassador Kemayah cited the positive impact that road connectivity would have on the Agriculture sector; "We consume far more than we produce; and that for me; has security implications, and so the Government's intention and effort is to tailor its programs and activities toward the productive sector.

This will help to cut down on what we input. We have arable land -so fertile... but with bad road network, farmers will not be able to meet their customers at the farm gate.

The kind of agriculture that we seek and promote as a government is the value-chain style of agriculture-where we look from supply to post-harvest, processing, so with good road network this will be possible."

Ambassador Kemayah called on the United Nations, International Partners and Friends of Liberia to give a comprehensive support to the Government of Liberia to ensure the full implementation of its Pro-poor Agenda; stressing "once it is implemented, the Pro-poor Agenda, it will go a long way to sustaining the Peacekeeping Success Story of Liberia; and enhance the much needed growth and development of the country."

Ambassador Kemayah expressed the hope that the Peacebuilding Commission's meeting on Liberia will stimulate interest and give added impetus to the United Nations, International Partners and Friends of Liberia to see the need to mobilize the much needed resources for Liberia in support of the full implementation of the Country's National Development Plan - the Pro-Poor Agenda.

Slated for the 31st of January, this year, the Peace Building Commission meeting on Liberia will include the launching of the Government's Pro-poor Agenda at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Key International and Regional Partners, including, but not limited to the United Nations, International Financial Institutions, African Union, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and the World Bank are expected to be in attendance.

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