The Executive Board of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has approved the Country Program Document (CPD) on Liberia for the period 2020-2024.
The CPD will support the government’s national development Plan, the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), in promoting mechanisms to improve the quality and effectiveness of core government functions; with the aim of advancing the recovery process to reduce the risk of relapse into societal disorder.
According to a dispatch from the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations, the Country Program Document (CPD) targets interventions to promote inclusive growth through the private sector; peace and justice through formal and informal mechanisms; and governance through decentralization.
Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa, said the approval of the Document was important to support the Government of Liberia in addressing existing challenges left by the years of civil war, the Ebola crisis and reliance on the extractive sector.
She made the presentation on Wednesday, September 4, 2019, at the Second (2nd) Regular Session of the Executive Board of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
UNDP Regional Director Eziakonwa highlighted that under the leadership of President George Manneh Weah, the Government through its PAPD was working to address business environment constraints, attracting investments opportunities and promoting value addition; especially in the agriculture sector.
Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Liberia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the United Nations, who received the document on behalf of his country, said his government was pleased with the primary objective of the Liberia Country Program Document (CPD); and acknowledged the pivotal role that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) intends to continue to assume in addressing the existing challenges in country.
Ambassador Kemayah said the priority areas outlined in the document, with specific reference to UNDP programming, are well-structured and align with the PAPD, envisioned and launched by President George Manneh Weah.
Ambassador Kemayah further stated that the Country Program Document presents an opportunity for a renewed comprehensive partnership between the United Nations and the Government of Liberia; especially toward the achievement of the core objective of Liberia’s Pro-Poor Agenda–to sustainably reduce poverty and achieve middle-income status by 2030.
He said, “As a country, we also view the Country Program Document as an opportunity for a renewed comprehensive partnership between the United Nations and the Government of Liberia and, in particular; it aims to achieve a more sustainable pathway to renewed progress and prosperity; as well as consolidated peace, and security in Liberia; especially; with coherent and effective support from the United Nations.”
While appreciating the UNDP’s work on the content of the Country Program Document, Ambassador Kemayah highlighted the need to make adjustments to critical areas to better reflect the efforts that the Government of Liberia is making to address existing challenges, especially in the area of women empowerment.
Ambassador Kemayah said, “Paragraph three of the CPD highlights critical issues faced by women in the country. However, it does not speak much to efforts the Government of Liberia is making to address these issues.
“The Government of Liberia has conducted and stepped up awareness campaigns against compromised settlements; resulting from sexual-based violence against women. This year, the Government of Liberia signed into law the Domestic Violence Act – a legal instrument that seeks to abolish all forms of violence meted out against women, children and men. Additionally, the Government of Liberia and relevant partners also launched the “Spotlight Initiative” in June this year. The initiative focuses on reducing the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence, and harmful practices; and increasing women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services.”
On UNDP’s quest to enhance legal literacy, Ambassador Kemayah strongly recommended the provision of assistance to major legal institutions in Liberia. ” In furtherance of enhancing legal literacy, we strongly recommend that one significant way to achieve this goal is to provide assistance to the initiatives of institutions such as the Louis Arthur Grimes School of Law of the University of Liberia; the James A. A. Pierre Judicial Institute, the National Association of Trial Judges of Liberia, National Bar Association of Liberia and the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia (AFELL),” Ambassador Kemayah emphasized.
He also recommended for inclusion in the Country Program Document for Liberia: the need for continuous support to the justice system of Liberia; with a focus on Liberia’s judiciary; stressing that access to justice and the upholding of the rule of law remain among top priorities of His Excellency President Weah, the Government and People of the Republic of Liberia.
Ambassador Kemayah then assured the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of the fullest support of the Government of Liberia toward achieving the objectives of the Country Programme Document of Liberia.
“On behalf of President Weah, the Government and People of the Republic of Liberia, we express our deepest gratitude to all of you; particularly our UNDP Family, for the laudable contributions to this Country Programme Document for Liberia. We trust that this comprehensive and well-framed document will be, among others; the crucial basis for increased and continuous cooperation between the United Nations and Liberia; and the medium for renewed and sustained support by the United Nations for economic growth and development, peace and prosperity in Liberia”. Ambassador Kemayah concluded.