GC Craves Smooth Transitions in 2017

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Amos Sayer and partner.jpg

The Chairman of the Governance Commission (GC), Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, says next year will be a very critical time for Liberia because the country is poised to face what he termed as “Triple Transitions.”

“Liberia is in the midst of triple transitions,” Dr. Sawyer told an Open-House event at the headquarters of the GC in Monrovia. These include security, political and economic transitions.

“With the drawdown of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), Liberia now assumes responsibility for its own security; and secondly, the five-year Agenda for Transformation (AfT) is ending next year, thereby arising the need for a successor development agenda, which will be called AFT2,” Dr. Sawyer said.

The third transition, Dr. Sawyer said, is the availability of the presidential and legislative seats during the elections slated for October 2017.

He said the GC is preparing to ensure the ensuing 2017 transitions take place smoothly.

Yesterday’s Open-House event brought together international partners including UNMIL, UNDP, AfDB, WB, among others. It was held under the theme, “Successful Elections, Smooth Transition, and Sustaining Governance Reforms.”

In a PowerPoint presentation, GC Executive Director Steve Manley said the Commission, conscious of its mandate, unique roles and responsibilities in contributing to steering post-conflict Liberia towards stronger democratic stability and peace, must also pilot the reform process skillfully and safely through the unfolding headwinds of the triple transitions.

His presentation highlighted the Commission’s past accomplishments; ongoing institutional reforms; setting the pace for a secured future through democratic and participatory governance; and safeguarding the gains made thus far, including those in the pipeline, as Liberia prepares for a historic election and subsequent transition.

The GC was established by an Act of Legislature in 2007 and works through the National Integrity System (NIS), Public Sector Reform (PSR), Political Legal Reforms/Decentralization (PLR), Civic Engagement, National Identity and Visioning (CENV) and Monitoring and Evaluation Research and Publication (MERP).

“These have had some level of successes,” one of the commissioners told this newspaper yesterday during the opening of the ceremony.

During the period 2012-2015, the GC made significant contributions in policy formulation and implementation of public service reform, decentralization, the Code of Conduct, the development of a National Vision, the National Reconciliation and Healing Roadmap, and expanded its role as a repository of governance reform resources.

But according to the entity, there is a need for these to continue to ensure that Liberia is on the right trajectory for good governance as well as to ensure good results from the triple transitions.

In this regard, the GC has formulated a new five-year roadmap. This new five-year Strategic Plan (SP) (2016-2021) which, according to Director Manley, focuses on results-based programming aimed at successfully delivering outcomes through effective collaboration across its five mandated areas, other
MACs, cooperating CSOs and international partners, and the maximization of resources (financial, technical and human).

In the first two years, the GC will place immediate priority on consolidating the gains of current reform initiatives, enhancing security through community policing, reinforcing reconciliation, carefully preparing for and successfully holding the 2017 elections, and ensuring a near-seamless transition, Manley noted.

“This two-year results-based program started in January 2016 and is being implemented through a coordinated Joint Work Program (JWP) among Mandate Areas and other partners,” he said.

“The GC proposes to focus its programming on the prioritization of strategic actions, resources and partnerships in completing constitution reforms, protecting and completing public service reform, and strengthening decentralization implementation.”

He said the Commission also intends to ensure effective asset management during the transition, developing conflict management arrangements in natural resource governance, establishment of a gender desk within the Commission, strengthening reconciliation, as well as building confidence among political actors, and supporting the electoral process and the transition, among others.

To ensure that these are successful, the Commission will need US$4.99 million. According to Manley, US$3.19 million (64 percent) of this will go directly to Program Related Activities. The GC hopes to generate this from donors, while the government will provide the balance US$1.71 million (36 percent).

Partners, including ECOWAS, AFDB UNMIL and others, committed themselves to supporting the GC.

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