The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, has lauded Ebola survivors and Ebola Response Workers and has commended them for a job well done.
“We salute the courage and commitment of all the people who led the fight against Ebola,” Crown Prince Haakon said in Monrovia, on the second of a three-day visit to the country.
“The Sustainable Development Goals call for leaving no one behind. The doctors, nurses and technicians; the volunteers, case finders and burial workers who went into communities; the survivors; and the ordinary Liberians who took in survivors and orphans, should not be forgotten, especially now as they rebuild their lives,” he said.
Liberia was hit by the Ebola Virus Disease epidemic in 2014. Some 4,806 people lost their lives, and more than 4,500 children were orphaned. Since the disease waned, some survivors have faced stigma, finding it difficult to find employment or receive healthcare.
The Crown Prince is an advocate for UNDP’s effort to assist member states achieves their Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1- to end poverty in all its forms. His visit to Liberia is an opportunity to see first-hand the country’s progress in Ebola recovery, in consolidating peace, and plans for taking forward the SDGs.
His visit comes as Liberians prepare for two milestones. Elections scheduled for October 2017 are expected to bring in a new government, and the departure of the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL) in early 2018 will see Liberians take their future into their own hands, and an increased focus on peacebuilding which UNDP, other UN agencies, and partners stand ready to support.
While in the country, the UNDP Goodwill Ambassador is meeting with senior government officials, young entrepreneurs and women’s groups, civil society organizations, local communities and other partners.
He is also visited UNDP-supported initiatives focused on post-Ebola recovery and building resilience against shocks, national reconciliation, and support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
UNDP’s work in Liberia is aligned with the national development plan, the Agenda for Transformation.
Key focus areas include supporting the government to develop a strategy to achieve the SDGs; technical assistance to the National Electoral Commission for free and fair elections in 2017; improving access to justice and the functioning of rule of law institutions; boosting social cohesion and decentralization efforts; and advocacy and engagement on laws and other actions related to women’s empowerment.
Crown Prince Haakon has been a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador since 2003, focused on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and now on the SDGs.
He has visited several African countries in this capacity, including Tanzania (October 2003), Sierra Leone (February 2005), Burundi (October 2007), Botswana (November 2009), Zambia (October 2013), and now Liberia (April 2017).