The National Secretary General of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia Jeremiah S. Swen has called for more structural support from the United Nations to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and the UN's commitment to empower CSOs to take broader leadership role during the development and implementation of policy and program - a strategic approach to achieve the Grand Bargain.
He spoke last week while serving as opening speaker at a workshop organized by the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) to introduce the draft Combined Human Rights and Gender Checklist of Liberia. The workshop was attended by heads and representatives of CSOs, held from April 15 - 16, 2021 in Monrovia.
The Checklist when launched and fully implemented by the Legislature during the development, enactment and amendment of bills will make Liberia the second country of its kind on the African Continent - first is Uganda.
The Checklist presented by Ms. Mama Fatima Singhateh, UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale and Sexual Exploitation of Children and former Justice Minister of Gambia, highlighted the strategic importance of the Human Rights and Gender Checklist for legislative proceeding and enactment of law - ensuring laws are human rights driven.
The Legislative component of the workshop was held on the first day. Justice Fatima detailed the technical roles of CSO as it relates to implementation, legislative engagement, advocacy, and periodic assessment from Civil Society.
The Secretary General in his attempt to enhance stronger commitment and partnership between state and non-state actors requested 'OHCHR to roll-up an intentional engagement process that will harness joint Multi-Stakeholder Policy Dialogue - a platform bringing together the Legislature and CSO.
This will help facilitate intentional commitment and strengthen state and non-state actors' policy exchanges.'
The Workshop was also addressed by Ms. Simone Heri, Deputy Country Representative, Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights. She reminded GoL of her standing obligation to international protocols and conventions, the Constitution of Liberia and long-term benefits that the Human Rights and Gender Checklist inspires.