UN Peace-Building Support Office Approves US$5M for Liberia

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Mr. Fernandez-Taranco handshakes with Amb. Kemayah (R).

The United Nations Peace-building Support Office (UN-PBSO) has approved US$5,000,000 for the implementation of four projects that will advance reconciliation effort and enhance the sustenance of peace in the country for 2019, a release has said.

The projects to be implemented by the UN Country Team include: ‘Advancing Reconciliation Through Legislative Reforms and Civic Engagements’ (US$1.6M), ‘Sustaining Peace and Improving Social Cohesion Through The Promotion of Rural Employment Opportunities for Youth in Conflict-Prone Area’ (US$1.5M), ‘Socioeconomic Empowerment of Disadvantaged Youth in Liberia’ (US$1.4M), and ‘Support to the Liberia Multi-Partner Trust Fund/Peace-building Fund (LMPTF-PBF) Joint Secretariat’ (US$500,000).

The disclosure was made by Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peace-building Support, during an acquaintance meeting with Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Liberia to the UN.

“We have just approved in the month of December 2018 the most recent projects to support reconciliation effort, which is so much at the heart of President George Weah’s agenda, and core to the sustaining peace dimensions of the work that we discussed at the Peace-building Commission,” Mr.Taranco said.

In addition to the approved support, Mr. Taranco said that the UN PBSO would remain strongly committed to fully supporting Liberia’s peace-building effort this year, stressing that Liberia is one of the primary beneficiaries of the Peace-building Fund, receiving around US$65 million in the past 10 years (2008-2018).

“We are here to support Liberia and your endeavors in consolidating the gains already attained in the country,” Mr. Taranco said.

According to a dispatch from the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the UN, Taranco hailed the Liberian government for the passage of the Land Rights Act (LRA) and the Local Government Act (LGA), pledging to explore a possibility that would gather support from the Peace Building Support Office of the UN-PBSO for the Land Rights Act (LRA) and the LGA.

On the upcoming Peace-building Commission meeting, Mr. Taranco reiterated that the meeting would be an opportunity to showcase the country in the context of the Peace-building Commission and an ideal platform to provide pertinent details about Liberia’s National Development Agenda – the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).

Taranco encouraged the government to use the meeting to seek further support for the Liberia Transition Multi-Partner Trust Fund (LTMPTF), which is the UN system’s principle financing mechanism that supports programs designed to sustain peace in Liberia following the departure of peacekeepers of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

He expressed his fullest support and that of the UN-PBSO for the launch of Liberia’s National Development Agenda – the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) at the UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday, January 31, 2019.

Mr. Taranco said that Liberia’s peacekeeping experience has inspired the world, noting that important lessons have been learned from the transition and would be replicated in other Peacekeeping Missions globally.

He also hailed the role of UNMIL Radio, now ECOWAS Radio, and said it was important for the UN-PBSO to support the station so as to enable it to play a more meaningful role, not just for the country, but for the region.

Taranco also used the meeting to express his positive impression about Amb. Kemayah’s professional background and wealth of multi-faceted experience, including, but not limited to his engagement in the transition process in Liberia; business executive experience in the private sector; experience working in the non-governmental organization-NGO/Civil Society Sector, membership in the past on a number of public sector related boards, past role as chairman of the Liberia Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund; with such experience, Kemayah could make meaningful contributions to the work of the UN.

In response, Amb. Kemayah expressed gratitude for receiving Mr. Taranco and his team at the office of Liberia’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, and expressed his happiness that the meeting was taking place on the eve of the Peace Building Commission’s meeting on Liberia and which has been scheduled for Thursday, January 31, 2019.

Amb. Kemayah described the meeting as having critical relevance, particularly considering Liberia’s ongoing engagements with the UN-PBSO, and on behalf of President Weah, the Government and People of Liberia, thanked the PBSO for its approval of US$5,000,000 for the implementation of Peace-building and reconciliation related programs this year.

Kemayah used the meeting to urge Mr. Taranco and the UN-PBSO to advocate for support for the Liberian government’s Pro-Poor Agenda as well as to consider the integration of activities and projects of Liberia’s Pro-Poor Agenda into priority areas for support by the UN-PBSO.

Responding to Amb. Kemayah’s request for support for the Pro-Poor Agenda, Mr. Taranco committed his support and that of the UN-PBSO for the Pro-Poor Agenda.

Taranco reiterated that the LTMPTF could also be used as one of the resource mobilization channels for support to Liberia’s Pro-Poor Agenda.

Amb. Kemayah said Liberia was proud to be a peacekeeping success story, but stressed that it was time to build on the success and sustain the peace in Liberia by drawing on the lessons learned to address the root causes of the civil war in Liberia, especially poverty. “I say to our international partners and friends that the success story is good, but we would like to see it being better. To be better, there has to be appropriate strategies and mechanisms in place to sustain that success story and take it to another level. Such strategies and mechanisms cannot work in isolation of support towards livelihood, social and economic development support for the Liberian government and the Liberian people. Not only do we wish to sustain the success story, but we also aspire to elevate it to the highest echelon where total fear of a relapse into civil upheaval will be totally and perpetually eliminated,” Kemayah said.

Amb. Kemayah said that “the visionary of President Weah has taken the first and key step, with the crafting and subsequent launching on Saturday, October 27, 2018, in Ganta, Nimba County, of Liberia’s flagship of the PAPD.”

The Liberian diplomat highlighted that the Pro-Poor Agenda, with its vision of “power to the people”, would focus on road connectivity, a development that President Weah rightly views as encompassing to all sectors. Kemayah cited the positive impact that road connectivity would have on the agriculture sector.

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