Monrovia — Local government officials including Mayors, Superintendents, District Commissioners on Monday dialogued on the formulation of a National Urban Policy for Liberia. The policy is a coherent set of decisions derived through a deliberate government-led process of coordinating and rally various actors for a common vision and goal that will promote more transformative, productive inclusive and resilient urban development for the long term.
The main objective of the forum was to appraise stakeholders on the state of the National Urban Policy (NUP) development process in Liberia and seek input and commitment to ensure timely completion of the diagnosis phase of the Liberian NUP.
According to Organizers, the daylong forum specific objective amongst many include, to inform forum participants into the NUP process and outputs completed under the feasibility and diagnosis phase, and seek for further engagements towards the development of the progressive, forward look and inclusive NUP in Liberia.
Other specific objective of the forum also includes presenting progress in the NUP program and seeking fresh commitment and partnerships to advance remaining phases of the NUP. The forum also reviewed and appraised the outputs of the NUP process in Liberia and key outputs of the Diagnosis phase.
Serving as keynote speaker, Mr. Momolu Johnson, Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for administration, said, urbanization is a trending situation that Liberia cannot ignore and Liberia has come a long way with such situation that requires serious attention.
"The first step to tackle this long existing problem is to embark on the development of a national urban policy. We are committed to ensure that this happened from the anger of the government which seeks to bring dynamism to urbanization in Liberia.
"We as a country have a challenge of putting in place programs that could move us forward. We have come to the realization that we need to turn things around. Lot of preference has been given urban cities and we need to change the dynamics around," Minister Johnson noted.
Mr. William Cobbet, represented the Cities Alliance. According to him, Liberia is one of many countries struggling with the challenge of urbanization - a transformation that according to him that is also ongoing in Asia - and urged stakeholders to make Urbanization a National priority and not limited to the capital city.
For his part, Mr. Remy Sietchiping of the UN-Habitat, challenged major stakeholders to take ownership of the project. According to him, the aspect of taking ownership will make the policy. He pledged the UN-Habitat commitment to support the project achieve its goal that will make the project work for everyone.
"Let us focus on solution. Let's find all the avenue to make this policy work for all of us," he told participants.
UN-Habitat is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all globally; in light of the New Urban Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals and other Global Agenda.
UN Habitat has been supporting the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), and in partnership and support of Cities Alliance to develop a National Urban Policy (NUP) for Liberia, under the Cities Alliance Liberia Country Programme since 2016.
As part of the NUP development process, the partner agencies are organizing a National Urban Forum (NUF) scheduled for the 26th of November 2019 at the Monrovia City Corporation (MCC) - Monrovia City Hall.
The NUP for Liberia is expected to coordinate the work of different sectors, establish incentives for more sustainable practices, and spur a balanced system of cities and towns through strengthening urban-rural linkages and equitable resources allocation, and serve as a framework to guide sustainable and resilient urban planning and city development across Liberia.
The NUP development process in Liberia has five stages/phases (Feasibility, Diagnosis, Formulation, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation). The first phase, the feasibility was completed in 2017 prior to the transition of the Liberian Government. The Diagnosis Phase is ongoing and is building on the summarized outcomes of the Feasibility phase, to provide context for deeper analysis of urban challenge in Liberia. The diagnosis phase started in 2018 and is expected to run up to mid-2020.