The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Liberia to the United Nations, His Excellency Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., has called for renewed international support towards peacebuilding and peace sustenance in Liberia.
Speaking at a Roundtable Event on “Challenges and Opportunities in Transition Processes: Lessons learned from Liberia and Best Practices to sustain peace and development beyond mission withdrawal”, Ambassador Kemayah stressed that sustainable peace can only be achieved with sustainable development, and encouraged Partners and Friends of Liberia to provide additional support to enhance Government’s peacebuilding efforts.
Said Ambassador Kemayah: “Friends, we are all cognizant of the fact that sustainable peace is driven by the achievement of sustainable development, and there is a significant nexus between conflict and poverty; and poverty makes a country vulnerable to civil upheaval… thereby increasing the risk of conflict relapse. We strongly need your renewed support in this premise. We, therefore, encourage all of our partners to see the need to make additional sacrifices in order to build on the gains”.
Ambassador Kemayah told participants at the roundtable that the Government of Liberia, with support from the Peacebuilding Commission and relevant partners, is taking concrete steps to address challenges in key priority areas; including the security sector, rule of law, national reconciliation, economic growth and development, mitigating corruption, and empowering women and youth, among others.
He stressed that the priority areas, which remain a paramount concern to the leadership of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, were borne out of a genuine reflection of conflict drivers; including corruption, deprivation, exclusion, inequalities, land ownership, tribal difference, poor education, and poverty.
Ambassador Kemayah asserted that the Government had taken measures to increase revenue generation; including reforms in the tax system to attract more businesses, and the introduction of new strategies to enhance the collection of taxes. Ambassador Kemayah also mentioned the exemplary leadership shown by His Excellency President George Manneh Weah, when he announced a cut in his salary and subsequent reduction and standardization of salaries for Ministers of the Liberian Government and Heads of Autonomous Agencies.
The Liberian Diplomat highlighted the enactment of the Land Rights Act and the Local Government Act; pavement of about Twenty (20) community roads with asphalt; institution of a tuition-free education for undergraduate students at all the public universities; signing of the Kamara Abdullah Kamara Act of Press Freedom; and the launch of the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development. The Pro-poor Agenda seeks to address the basic needs of Liberians and requires the allocation of approximately US$6.2 Billion over Five (5) years.
Expressing optimism that the Pro-poor Agenda will attract funding from the Liberia Multi-Partner Trust Fund (LMPTF), Ambassador Kemayah emphasized that although the Government was making great strides to spur the needed reforms, it could not do it in isolation. “Friends and partners, when you look at what is needed to implement the Pro-Poor Agenda over Five (5) years and do a comparative analysis of how much the International Community invested in Liberia during the many years of peacekeeping, it is rational to sacrifice a little more to sustain the peace in Liberia. You spent billions and may need to spend just a little million to help us move forward. But if you hold back, the billion that you have spent may go into the breeze if there is a relapse; and you will have to mobilize again, which in my mind is not rational, considering the kind of investments that had been made; including lives.”
Ambassador Kemayah further asserted that Liberians were pleased to have had Sixteen (16) years of uninterrupted peace, during which they held Three (3) successive peaceful and democratic Presidential and Legislative elections, 2005, 2011, and the most recent, 2017, which brought to power His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, as President of the Republic of Liberia.
He thanked Partners and Friends of Liberia, and the United Nations; especially the Peacebuilding Commission for the support over the years, He noted the establishment of and strengthening of a Resident Coordinator’s Office (RCO), which has so far proven very innovative, efficient and effective in engaging national government and the UN Country Team.
The Roundtable Event on “Challenges and Opportunities in Transition Processes: Lessons learned from Liberia and Best Practices to sustain peace and development beyond mission withdrawal” was organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), in partnership with the Permanent Missions of Sweden and Germany to the United Nations.
Security Council Members including the United States, China, France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, and Equatorial Guinea, were among participants at the roundtable event.