The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) through its newly approved 2020-2024 Country Program Document (CPD) for Liberia will support the conduct of National Housing and Population Census in Liberia in 2020.
Under its target for Population dynamics, the UNFPA will support the strengthening of national capacity and systems in data collection, management and use for development and humanitarian programming; including Population and Housing Census and the Liberia Demographic and Health Survey; which were last conducted in Liberia in 2008 and 2013, respectively.
The disclosure was made by UNFPA's Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Mr. Mabingue Ngom, during the presentation of UNFPA's Country Programme Document (CPD) for Liberia for approval by the Executive Board of the United Nations Population Fund at its Second (2nd) Regular Session. The Session was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Friday, September 6, 2019.
Mr. Ngom told the Executive Board meeting that the "Country Programme Document builds on the principles of equity, right-based and culturally sensitive approaches; leveraging innovative practices to overcome challenges affecting the most vulnerable groups-- women, adolescents, and youths.
Through the Country Programme Document for Liberia, the UNFPA will also support the Ministry of Health, strengthening its capacity to deliver an integrated package of Sexual Reproductive Health services for adolescents and young people; with the aim of engendering behavior change by improving access to sexual and reproductive health, and strengthening capacity for family planning and maternal health amongst others.
A dispatch from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Liberia to the United Nations quotes Mr. Ngom as saying that the Country Programme Document aligns with the Government of Liberia's National Development Plan, the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD); and was developed through a consultative process with a wide range of stakeholders; including the Government of Liberia, United Nations Agencies, Donors, Civil Society, and Private sector institutions.
Addressing the Executive Board of the United Nations Population Fund on behalf of the Government of Liberia, His Excellency Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah Sr., Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Liberia to the United Nations, said the Government of Liberia was pleased with the thriving partnership subsisting between Liberia and the UNFPA, and noted that it has proven critical and beneficial; especially in sexual and reproductive health rights and improvement of family planning services and the legal setting in communities across Liberia.
Ambassador Kemayah acknowledged that the Country Programme Document aligns with the Government of Liberia's National Flagship Development Agenda - The Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD); envisioned and launched by His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia.
Ambassador Kemayah stressed that the implementation of the UNFPA Country Programme Document for Liberia will prove very integral to achieving the Pro-Poor Agenda of His Excellency President Weah, which puts the Liberian People at the core of development processes; with the goal of leaving no one behind.
Ambassador Kemayah stressed that under the leadership of His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, the Government of Liberia's goal is to accelerate the process of transforming Liberia’s demographic dividend--Sixty-three percent (63%) youthful population-- into a potential driver of growth through social inclusion; the creation of employment; and life skills opportunities. "This; however, cannot be achieved exclusively; as it would require partnerships at all levels; with UNFPA being pivotal." Ambassador Kemayah added.
The Liberian Envoy "welcomed the joint implementation and monitoring mechanism enshrined in the Country Program Document for Liberia, which among others would allow for joint field visits; as well as quarterly and annual reviews; in line with the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF); and the provision for a mid-term review that would facilitate adjustments; taking into consideration progress that would be made during the course of implementation of the Country Programme Document."
Taking note of challenges outlined in the Country Programme Document and assuring of continuous strides by the Government of Liberia to address them; Ambassador Kemayah used the occasion to provide clarity on paragraph seven (7) of the Document which asserts among others that the Government’s commitment to prevent and respond to gender-based violence is being undermined by the failure to revise legislation; and a national action plan to address gender-based violence within the framework of a national strategy.
Said Ambassador Kemayah: "We like to use this opportunity to provide clarity. As we today draw nearer to the approval of the Country Programme Document, we would like to make clear that the Government of Liberia continues to conduct; and has increased awareness campaigns against compromised settlements; resulting from sexual-based violence against women. Prior to commencing such initiative, the Government of Liberia and relevant partners also launched the “Spotlight Initiative” in June this year. Reducing the prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence, and harmful practices; and increasing women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services are the primary objectives of this endeavor. More importantly; and which directly addresses the aforementioned assertion in paragraph seven (7) of the Country Programme Document; in relation to legislation; we are pleased to inform this gathering that 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."
Ambassador Kemayah then expressed the hope that the clarity provided by the Government of Liberia will be considered for inclusion in the 2020-2024 UNFPA Country Programme Document for Liberia.
Responding to the clarifications made by Ambassador Kemayah; UNFPA's Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Mr. Mabingue Ngom, noted the "very good progress made by the Government of Liberia" and assured Ambassador Kemayah that UNFPA will consider making the necessary adjustments.
Ambassador Kemayah then expressed immeasurable gratitude to the UNFPA and Partners, the Government of Liberia and Civil Society; for their collaborative efforts in developing the Country Programme Document for Liberia; and their renewed commitment to supporting the National Development Program of the Government of Liberia. "Satisfied with this level of partnership, enjoyed by the Government of Liberia and UNFPA and Partners; we entertain the hope that UNFPA will continue to work with the Government of Liberia and key stakeholders; for the full achievement of the strategic outcome areas of this Country Programme Document; including; but not limited to sexual and reproductive health; adolescents and youth; gender equality; women’s empowerment; and population dynamics; which, as we have emphasized, are essential for the realization of our National Development goals." Ambassador Kemayah emphasized.