Liberia: Amb. Kemayah Gets Commitment From Colombian President Márquez to Help Address the Problem of Drug Use

press release

New York — Liberia's Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. has stressed the need for increased continuous and predictable financing of United Nations peacebuilding activities in Liberia.

Ambassador Kemayah said an increase in the level of financial support is needed for the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Support Office, and the Liberia Multi-partner Trust Fund to ensure the sustainability of peacebuilding and conflict prevention related program activities.

Addressing the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission meeting on Good Practices in Financing for Peacebuilding and Partnerships in Cartagena, Colombia, Ambassador Kemayah said while conflict prevention may seem challenging, directing appropriate resources to prevention and forging relevant partnerships will certainly prove beneficial and less costly in addressing the challenges of conflict prevention worldwide.

Quoting the United Nations-World Bank report "Pathways for Peace", Ambassador Kemayah asserted that "targeting resources towards just Four (4) countries at high risk of conflict each year; could prevent 34 Billion United States Dollars in losses; in comparison, spending on responses to violent conflict through peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in 2016 was 8.2 Billion United States Dollars for Peacekeeping and 22.1 Billion United States Dollars for Humanitarian Operations; respectively."

Reflecting on the United Nations Secretary General's 2018 Report on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, Ambassador Kemayah agreed that options to considerably increase and make more reliable and coordinated, the funding for United Nations peacebuilding activities from voluntary, assessed, and innovative sources are very pivotal in transition settings.

The Liberian Envoy noted that transitions and draw-downs of Missions represent some of the most critical periods when investments in sustaining peace made by national authorities and their international partners can either be sustained or lost in a matter of months. "For Liberia, the Peacebuilding Commission provided advice to the United Nations Security Council; on the transition of the mandate of the peace operation, and the development of our National Peacebuilding Plan, led by national stakeholders. The Peacebuilding Commission; was also a platform for United Nations leadership in Liberia; to confer with Member States of the United Nations; on a capacity mapping exercise; aimed at identifying expected financing; and expertise gaps; following the departure of the United Nations Mission In Liberia -UNMIL. " Ambassador Kemayah recalled.

Ambassador Kemayah expressed thanks that the investments to peacebuilding in Liberia are being sustained rather than lost. He, however, pointed out that the re-direction of appropriate resources during the transition process from peacekeeping to peacebuilding in Liberia would have made a real and better difference during the transition period.

Said Ambassador Kemayah:"In Liberia, voluntary commitment of un-spent assessed contributions from the peacekeeping budget, to the Peacebuilding Fund could have provided an additional 11.6 Million United States Dollars in support to the transition. In 2018/2019, the recommendation for the assessment of Fifteen (15%) of the total variance in overall financial requirements for peacekeeping operations to finance the Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) would have amounted to 16.5 million United State Dollars."

Ambassador Kemayah then underscored that financing peacebuilding and partnerships is the collective responsibility of national governments, the United Nations, civil society, international financial institutions and the private sector. He commended the United Nations and the International Community for the support to Liberia's peacebuilding process and renewed calls on them to continue to remain resolute in their support.

Ambassador Kemayah: "Excellencies; pursuant to the reality; that we have an unavoidable shared moral responsibility; and obligation to ensure that our one world is a peaceful; and better place for all; as a Global body; and an International Community; we continue to commend, remind; encourage; and herewith; in Cartagena, Colombia; renew our call on the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission; and the United Nations; in General; and the International Community as a whole; including, but not limited to International Financial Institutions; Sub-Regional, Regional and Continental bodies; to continue to remain resolute, unconditional; and uncompromising; in their unwavering support for the sustenance of the hard earned; and much-needed Peace, Security and Democracy in Liberia; and the promotion of the necessary conditions; geared towards transforming Liberia and the Liberian People. "

The Liberian Envoy recalled that key financial institutions- the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), working in close concert with the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission and the Government of Liberia, have been necessary and very useful in enhancing the peace to ensure the sustenance of peace, security, stability, and democracy in Liberia. Ambassador Kemayah described the partnership involving the Government of Liberia, the United Nations System, Bilateral and Multilateral stakeholders, and the Liberian political and civil society actors as a significant factor for peace consolidation in Liberia.

On behalf of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, the Government and People of Liberia, Ambassador Kemayah used the Peacebuilding Commission meeting to thank the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund and Partners for continuing to provide essential funding to key peacebuilding priorities in Liberia.

Ambassador Kemayah also thanked His Excellency Ambassador Olof Skoog of Sweden, who served as Chair of the Liberia Configuration of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission for Five (5) years for his invaluable service to Liberia over the years. Ambassador Skoog takes on a new post as Head of Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations. Ambassador Kemayah then welcomed Ambassador Skoog's successor, Her Excellency Ambassador Anna-Karin Enestrom, who now assumes the role of Chair of the Liberia Configuration of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, in her new capacity as Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations.

Ambassador Kemayah said Liberia was also grateful for intensified cooperation in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region, including the promising engagement between the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission. He expressed the hope that the collaboration, particularly with relevant countries and regional groups, will lead to tangible solutions to peacebuilding challenges in West Africa and the Sahel.

The Liberian Ambassador to the United Nations encouraged the United Nations and all international stakeholders to continue to endeavor to make the global environment more safe and stable and pledged Liberia's commitment to being a meaningful contributor.

Said Ambassador Kemayah: "We should endeavor to make our environment more safe and stable, if we aspire to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, which no doubt require a great deal of sacrifice; and collective support; inclusive of directing adequate resources to peacebuilding priorities; including conflict prevention, and to support partnerships; especially partnerships at every level. We hold the view that, the stronger we ensure multilateralism; the better; it is; in tackling global challenges. The conflict in Liberia did not end without tangible collective resolve; it was a result of international cooperation; and the resilience of Liberians themselves; that facilitated the peace we now enjoy. Hence, on behalf of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia; and the Government and People of Liberia; we look forward to making continuous collective strides; with the United Nations Secretary-General; and other Member States of the United Nations; to further strengthen the United Nations; to ensure that it is more relevant; and fit for purpose; leaving no one behind; and we do re-affirm and renew our unflinching practical commitment to the United Nations Charter; to which Liberia is a Signatory and Founding member."

Ambassador Kemayah concluded by expressing "deep appreciation, on behalf of His Excellency President Weah, and the Government and People of Liberia; to the President of the Republic of Colombia, His Excellency Mr. Iván Duque Márquez; and the Government and People of Colombia, for the unique courtesy; and warm hospitality accorded he and other Ambassadors to the United Nations who attended the Peacebuilding Commission meeting in Colombia.

In a related development, the President of Colombia, His Excellency Mr. Iván Duque Márquez, has extended an invitation to His Excellency President George Manneh Weah to visit Colombia on a State visit. President Márquez also expressed Colombia's preparedness to partner with Liberia to address the problem of drug use in Liberia through a comprehensive approach; including but not limited to supporting programs to assist drug users especially 'At Risk Youths' to desist from using drugs.

President Márquez who expressed that he has been a longtime fan of His Excellency President Weah during his legendary soccer years, extended the invitation to the Liberian Leader during a meeting with Ambassador Kemayah on the sidelines of the Peacebuilding Commission meeting.

Ambassador Kemayah extended on behalf of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia, and the Government and People of Liberia, greetings and best wishes, and assured His Excellency President Márquez that he would ensure that His Excellency President Weah is informed of the warm sentiments and gestures proffered.

Organized by Colombia as Chair of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Commission meeting convened in Cartagena, Colombia from January 14-15, 2020, and brought together stakeholders in the peacebuilding sector. The visit was sponsored by the Government of Colombia.

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