The Mano River Union (MRU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are expected to hold a three-day Joint Sub-regional Action Plan meeting in Monrovia.
The meeting is in furtherance of a MoU between the two organizations based on the core principles of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will ensure stronger regional cooperation among the MRU Member States and UNDP in areas of mutual cooperation.
According to a release issued on Friday, February 14, 2020, the meeting is aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of their development efforts, as well as to strengthen regional integration to advance peace and security and the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the MRU member states.
UNDP and MRU share similar visions and have worked together on various missions and initiatives over the past years.
The release also stated that the two institutions have worked collaboratively to foster peace and security, especially during and since the end of the civil conflicts in the MRU countries, as well as during the Ebola epidemic which began in 2014 and ended in 2016.
The meeting, according to the statement, is a follow-up to the outcome of the first meeting held in Sierra Leone last year. Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel Tweah, is expected to deliver the keynote address.
On November 27, 2019, a signing ceremony of an MoU between MRU and UNDP was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Freetown. The MoU, which is based on the core principles of the SDGs, is leading to stronger regional cooperation among the MRU Member States and UNDP.
It also aims at strengthening the capacity of the MRU Secretariat to deliver on its integration agenda including supporting the MRU to develop its five-year strategic plan and a resource mobilization strategy.
The release further noted that this will strengthen the capacity of the MRU Joint Border Security and Confidence Building Units to address trafficking in arms, persons and other illicit substances and promote cross-border peace building and social cohesion.
The MoU further aims to promote sustained progress in the consolidation of democracy and sustainable development with a focus on increasing women participation/presence in elected positions; youth entrepreneurial development and cross-border trade of SMEs, especially those owned by women in the MRU Member States, the released said.
This, according to the statement, will further coordinate with the MRU to support its Member States to harmonize national policies with regional implications, including civil registration and vital statistics and identity management, maritime, as well as climate change resilience policies, strategies, and resources.
The meeting, which is due to be held at the Monrovia City Hall, is expected to run from February 17 to 19 and will bring together civil society actors, government Ministries and Agencies, as well as other international partners.
The release further stated that the methodology for the sub-regional meeting will comprise a workshop which will take place over a period of two and a half working days, and will involve group work sessions and presentations to plenary.