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GOL, UNDP and Partners Strategize 2018-2020 Transition Plan for Liberia 

The Liberian Government (GOL), the UNDP and other development Partners have been holding a number of consultations in the wake of the country’s triple transition. The strategic plan prioritizes six key transition thematic areas to sustain peace including Justice, Rule of Law and Security Sector reform; Governance and Public institutions (decentralization and land reform priorities; Constitutional reform); Sustainable Economic Transformation (Socio economic and SDGs priorities) ; Gender (equity and empowerment); Youth (development, and empowerment); and Human Rights.

The Governance Commission was first to begin work on Liberia’s Triple Transition when it designed its publication “Mainstreaming Democratic Transition in Liberia 2016-2018” in 2015. This triggered the UNDP’s own Transition Plan which also makes references to the GC publication followed by numerous consultations between the two organizations.  

On Tuesday December 5, 2017, the GOL, UNDP, and Partners jointly organized a one day consultative meeting at the Lutheran Conference Hall on 13th Street with the aim at exchanging views to advance consensus building for the development of a consolidated and coordinated Transition Plan for Liberia in critical areas of governance.

The meeting brought together representatives from the Diplomatic Corps, civil society organizations, officials from government ministries, agencies and commissions (MACs), the Legislature and other stakeholders.

In Opening remarks, Dr. Amos Sawyer, Chairman of the Governance Commission’s Board of Commissioners noted that the level of attendance demonstrated the strong interest and commitment attached to the Transition processes of Liberia by the government, the UN system, civil society, the diplomatic and donor communities, and other Partners. Liberia’s political parties have also been consulted for inputs in the draft Transition Plan to ensure a holistic plan that takes into consideration major programs and projects geared toward enhancing Liberia’s development agenda.

This political transition (the first in 74 years where a sitting democratically elected president will turn over office to another democratically elected president) takes place at a time when the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) will itself be ending its mission after 15 years of peacekeeping in Liberia, and the UN system will be undergoing reconfiguration.  Dr. Sawyer emphasized that these transitions therefore need a broadly owned transition plan to guide the transition process of both incoming and outgoing governments, as well as the change within the UN System – “a plan that supports stability, change and continuity; and a plan that establishes pathways toward Liberia’s continued development”.

Against this backdrop, the GC proposed to advance the consultative meeting to introduce to all stakeholders the draft Transition Plan for their inputs. It is important to note that the Transition Plan does not address every political, social, and/or economic issues but rather key thematic areas of governance. The objective of the consultations is also for stakeholders to recommend other critical priority issues that are equally necessary at this time of the transitions and build consensus around enhancing development, while at the same time assuring continuity and support for Liberia.

The second transition is with the UN mission in Liberia that is ending its mission since 2003 in March 2018.  For His part, UN Resident Coordinator and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General H.E. Yacoub El-Hillo noted that the meeting was the first step in building consensus on the Transition in Liberia. He emphasized that the meeting was more about post-election Liberia and how all stakeholders prepare for the process. Mr. El-Hillo explained that the zero draft Transition Plan was intended to trigger thoughts and generate ideas that could enhance the Plan.

Mr. El-Hillo commended the Governance Commission for helping to transform a document that was initially intended to guide the UN system’s own transition and configuration in Liberia for the next two/three years. Mr. Hillo maintained that the Plan intends to ensure that Liberia’s transition is orderly, peaceful, seamless and responsible. The Transition Plan also highlights the UN responsibility to Liberia’s transition process.

The UN Special Representative commended the Liberian government for the various activities being carried out as part of the transition including asset registry and tracking, as well as handover notes already prepared for the new government.

Also making remarks at the Meeting was ECOWAS Special Representative H.E. Amb. Tunde Ajisomo. He was accompanied by an ECOWAS delegation on a technical mission led by Dr.  Kwadwo Afari  Gyan  a former Chairman of Ghana’s Election Commission with 23 years’ experience without blemish, head of the technical team and Dr. Chidi Nwafor of the ICT of Nigeria Independent National Election Commission. The delegation’s visit was to help strengthen Liberia’s National Election Commission’s (NEC) capacity and assure the holding of credible and transparent elections in Liberia. The delegation’s visit to Liberia is also a testimony of ECOWAS’ commitment to supporting peace in Liberia, strengthening the transition process in line with ECOWAS protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.

Amb. Ajisomo said the Consultative meeting was important for consensus building particularly at a time when Liberia is at a critical juncture – a time when Liberia is grappling with several transitions including political, security and economic transitions. He emphasized the need for collective ownership of the transition plan led by the Liberian government. Amb. Ajisomo also promised ECOWAS’ commitment to capacity building and the Transition process in Liberia.

Liberia’s development partners all pledged their support to the Transition Plan and process. Civil Society of Liberia also committed to support the Plan and process.

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