Liberia: UNDP Launches Liberia Human Development Report 2019

Market women help fishermen prepare their nets for the night time fishing expedition (file photo).
10 December 2019

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launches Liberia Global Human Development Report, under the theme: Beyond Income, Beyond Averages, Beyond Today; Inequalities in Human Development in the 21st Century.

Officially launching the report here Monday, 09 December Liberia's Vice President Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor says government's development roadmap, "Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development" seeks to provide access, increase equality and ensure inclusion for all under a development framework.

Vice President Taylor explains the 2019 HDR provides an authoritative and unbiased analysis of ranking in certain key sectors, including Human Development Index (HDI) International Human Development Index (IHDI) and Global Development Index (GDI0, among others which reflects the quality of human development, gender gaps, women empowerment, environmental and social economic sustainability.

She notes that based on findings from the report, government, policymakers, and international development partners, need to jointly craft new policies, put in place new plans, and prescription which will help Government tackle the issues as everyone looks towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.

She says nations cannot achieve the SDGs goals of leaving no one behind, if both trends are not inclusive or remain stagnated, unsustainable and the gender gap continues to widen in terms of empowerment, inclusion, and better access to opportunity for women.Madam Taylor also emphasizes that one cannot achieve the SDG if climate change and environmental sustainability are not confronted, saying if concession based modules of development are not revisited to ensure economic diversification, poor citizen rate engagement and effective governance of natural resources.

"We will never achieve the SDGs if land tenure and land rights do not address issues of alternative livelihood to project their family in the concession areas. If government fails to provide proper education by employment, skills, innovation and jobs for the youthful population of which Liberia has about 60%", VP Taylor warns.

She further says if government fails to mobilize resources of domestic revenues, expand the tax base and reduce reliance on external finance, it would never achieve SDGs. She added that if National budget are not aligned with National priorities to reduce inequalities, lift level of poverty, Liberia will not achieve the SDGs.

Vice President Taylor recommends that in order to achieve SDGs, issues of gender equality and women empowerment are key.

Earlier, UNDP Resident Representative Pa Lamin Beyai says since the HDR first release in 1990, a flagship publication for UNDP, is produced periodically to promote development discourse. He notes that the HDR got the interest of the world, because it presented a different way of measuring progress beyond income.

Mr. Beyai explains the title "Human Development Report 2019: Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: Inequalities in human development in the 21st century", reveals that despite unprecedented progress against poverty, hunger and disease; systemic inequalities are still present.He says differences in earnings, inequality are also about unequal distribution of wealth and power, and entrenched social and political norms.

He notes that UNDP will continue to work with the Government of Liberia, Development Partners, Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders to support inclusive and equitable development, adding that they focus on vulnerable groups, seeking to foster gender equality; and ensuring that no one is left behind.

Liberia's Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. in remarks says Liberia is challenging maternal and infant mortality, adding that education and health sectors need to be looked at more. Minister Tweah recalls last year, it was reported that in maternal mortality 25 per 1000 women were dying.

He promises that as a government, they will deliver better, and find more resources from the budget, noting government will continue to do fiscal reform, putting money into education and health. The Finance Minister discloses government is trying to invest more in health care and fight maternal mortality, because the rate is high.

He stresses government needs to tackle mid-wives, train and empower them in the various villages, saying the maternal mortality rate will be cut down by half by creating programs for mid-wives, training and capacitating them.

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