The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Liberia, Madam Hélène Cavé has reassured the organization’s commitment to supporting the Liberian government’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
Madam Cavé spoke to delegates attending the 9th ROAC-FED meeting currently taking place in Monrovia, and said the EU will also work with countries in the West African sub-region to enhance sustainable forest management through the Network of National Authorizing Officers Support Unit in West Africa, through the European Development Fund to add value to forest resources.
She added that the EU and its member states are fundamental and reliable partner in all the countries of West Africa, “not only because of our cooperation, but also for the political partnership we have with ECOWAS.”
“Since the signature of the Lomé Convention and the Cotonou Agreement,” she said, “the role by the NAOs and RAO is very important in the context of our cooperation with the host ACP country.
“By consequence, the NAO support unit is instrumental in the success of our cooperation, and is strategically linked to the NAO, the EU Delegation and the line Ministries.”
The EU Ambassador emphasized that it is important to connect the National EDF programs to the regional cooperation, and also further on to the continental efforts.
By doing so, she stressed: “Our aid can be more effective if a clear and complementary link can be made between these different levels. Priority sectors for the WA RIP: Peace and Security/ regional economic integration and trade/resilience and natural resources management, relevant for many parts in the region not the least Liberia. Important to see the synergies between the national programs and the regional program.”
She said one practical example is the management of forest ecosystems where the regional program for West Africa will work with local communities including those in Liberia to ensure the sustainable economic development of the forest, while at national level will be building the capacity of all Liberian stakeholders to ensure that the export of logs can be certified as the highest possible price of timber can be obtained on the international market.
For instance, fully certified timber can enter the European market with a 20-30% top up on the price. While recommending the regional bodies like ECOWAS, but also WAEMU to steer this regional integration process. Allow me at this point to mention also the key political role ECOWAS is playing in West Africa.
For instance, here in Liberia, ECOWAS has been at the forefront, together with AU during the electoral process, when the situation was rather tense during the two rounds for Liberia as for other countries the regional additionally is important.
Sanniquellie-Loguatuo road would not have been possible from the National NIP alone and the €14.2 from the regional envelope made it possible to ensure this vital link in the Western African Costal Corridor between Nouakchott and Lagos. For the EU it has always been important to help and strengthen regional bodies in Africa since the EU started as an economic regional organization, nowadays it has an enhanced and worldwide recognized political mandate. A similar development has taken place over the years within ECOWAS.
The Ambassador indicated that despite being happy to see that migration has a place in the agenda other issues of mutual concerns such as climate change and terrorism need to be considered. “For the EU, migration has been and is a sector of growing importance and increased attention to the development agenda. Some countries are already benefiting from some development projects under the Trust Fund,” She emphasized.
“What priorities the region might want to set within the next programming cycle, after completion of the post-Cotonou negotiations. Understand that this is still an ongoing discussion between the EU and the ACP group but it is important already to anticipate within the region and with a West African regional perspective on where the region would like to influence these discussions.”
She then pointed out to the delegate “Sharing best practices is a must, I am sure than some of you have developed some useful tools you can share with others. I sincerely wish you all the best in your working session, and that you will go back to your country with new ideas.”