The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has jointly signed a contribution agreement of Euro 4.5 million with the European Commission (EC) to promote decentralization in Liberia.
The signing ceremony took place Monday at the Internal Affairs Ministry in Monrovia.
The agreement targets decentralization, which is central to governance reforms, peace building and reconciliation as well as poverty reduction in line with Liberia’s National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance and the Liberia Decentralization Implementation Plan (LDIP).
The contribution from the European Union is part of Liberia’s five-year Decentralization Support Program (LDSP), funded by the Government of Liberia, EU, UNDP, and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly said the amount will be used for decentralization in all parts of the country, describing it as service delivery.
“This support came at the right time and it’s good because it represents a good start to the country’s development but the bad side about it is that so many of our people are dying from this deadly disease Ebola,” Minister Dukuly said.
Minister Dukuly made it clear that the issue of the deadly disease Ebola would not stop the decentralization process in the country.
He thanked the European Commission and other partners for their contributions in helping to develop the country.
“I, therefore, hope that the pillars of decentralization will be established expeditiously in all of the regions,” he said.
Discussing the deadly disease Ebola, which is leaving several dead, he said the Liberian government is doing all it can to fight Ebola, especially by avoiding the traditional practices of burying dead bodies.
At the same time Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, head of EU Delegation to Liberia, said the EU support to the Liberia’s decentralization Support programme is geared toward contributing to the development of Liberia so that all Liberians will have access to services and benefits from inclusive economic growth and participation in the political life of the country.
The decentralization program focuses on administrative and fiscal governance by ensuring responsive, capable and countable local governments as well as developing and strengthening local level planning and monitoring and management capacity.
Discussing the issue of Ebola in the country, Ambassador Pacifici said he is afraid that with all of the other support coming in for development, Ebola has also begun another challenge for Liberia.
“Ebola will not change this country right now but we will change the country with all we can do to move this country forward,” he said.
Ambassador Pacifici said the European Union is prepared to work together with the Liberian government through the decentralization and help fight Ebola in the country.
For his part, Mr. Antonio Vigilante, UNDP Resident Representative, said the Euro 4.5 million is 50 percent of what the Liberian government needs to carry on its decentralization.
He pledged his support to the Liberian government in terms of development and the fight against Ebola.