UN Celebrates 77th Anniversary, Assures Gov’t of More Developmental Programs

The United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator to Liberia, Neils Scott, has announced that the UN will further support the government and people of Liberia through the Presidential Development Program.

The program also known as the ‘Accelerated Community Development Programme (ACDP)’, is designed to help Liberians climb out of poverty, improve their living standards, and live healthier and longer life while reducing gross inequalities between rural and urban areas. The Programme will focus on poor people with limited access to basic social services and infrastructure in rural and urban areas.   

He made the statement at the celebration of the 77th Anniversary of the United Nations on October 24, in Monrovia. 

The Government of Liberia has already invested US$3 million to help initiate the project this year in a show of its commitment and determination to improve the country’s overall human development. The government aims to mobilize US$100 million for the first three years of the program from 2022 to 2025. 

With support from UNDP, the Government of Liberia is currently negotiating with other development partners to secure the full financing needed to lift all Liberians out of poverty before the year 2030. 

Scott said the initiative is intended to amplify more development programs for the people in the rural counties as well as the grass root level in Monrovia and its environs.

“I am very pleased to note that, as part of our response, we will be inaugurating a little later today a Presidential Program supported by the United Nations which will accelerate community development in some of the less developed areas of Liberia,” Scott said.

Liberia is a founding member of the United Nations and the UN has remained very much supportive of the development agenda of the country since the end of the civil war.

Making the address at the One UN House in Sinkor, Monrovia, he noted that, “The United Nations will increasingly focus its work downstream at the county level, closer to communities, supporting government efforts towards development gains for all the people of Liberia.”

Scott expressed hope that the county superintendents and other local leaders as well as other partners will work with the UN in implementing the set development goals.

“To support local impact, the United Nations country team is currently finalizing plans for regional programming hubs to reinforce its already considerable implementation across Liberia – and a feasibility study for the first of these hubs in Gbarpolu is within a few days of completion, ” he disclosed.

He said the UN office in Liberia is motivated by the undertakings of the new Fiscal Decentralization Bill, passed under the leadership President, which should greatly facilitate local development by providing much-needed development resources to the counties.

“Also, I welcome with considerable enthusiasm, the multi-year, national and international hybrid financing, a programmatic approach adopted by the Government recently with the At-Risk Youth Program.”

“We would venture to suggest this forward-looking programmatic approach may be applied in other sectors where a clear vision of results, financial requirements, and capacity and year-on-year flexibility are required. This may very well apply to many program areas from education, to health, to forestry, to the environment, and many more,” he continued.

He said a programmatic approach, if based on efficient and effective coordination, will strengthen national ownership and development partner integration guided by a clear strategic vision – for the inevitable benefit of the people, the UN, and its partners, including the government.

The UN Resident Coordinator pointed out that his office would love to continue seeing the Government of Liberia providing direction and maintaining the momentum on decentralization and the provision of responsive administration, local social services, and economic opportunity for all at the local level.

Speaking of ‘providing direction’, President George Weah began his speech by stating the theme of this year’s forum. “The Future we want, the UN we need: Reaffirming our collective commitment to national peace and development.”

He emphasized the critical role peace plays in galvanizing the people of Liberia to contribute their collective quota towards the realization of national development.

“As I have said on many occasions, without peace, there can be no sustainable development. This is more than a mere observation. It is in fact my firm conviction. And because of this, I have dedicated every effort since my incumbency to ensure that peace prevails in Liberia, our native land,” Weah continued.

He said that a successful peace agenda must always consist of three distinct phases, namely, achieving peace, consolidating peace, and sustaining peace.

“As to count one, we are all aware of the historic role that the United Nations played, through UNMIL, in ending the civil wars and establishing the peace in Liberia that we now enjoy. We as Liberians will always be grateful,” he noted.

“My Administration inherited that peace in 2018,” the President said, “and since then we have spared no effort to continue to maintain and consolidate it and to prevent any reversals. However, when it comes to counting three, sustaining the peace, can never be done without development. Development must be seen as a dividend of peace,” he said.

“For development to contribute to the sustainability of hard-won peace, it must be felt as a tangible dividend by all members of a given society. Citizens will only become and remain committed to peace when the peace dividend of development brings meaningful improvement in their lives.”

He reflected that he indeed called on the UN to support the pro-poor agenda’s drive to take development to the people in the counties.

“The guidance I provided to you and the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning at that time was that you should finalize the development of a program that would help address many of the needs that the communities expressed to me during my county tours covering the entire country in 2021 and 2022. I requested a program that would bring water, solar lighting, feeder roads, sanitation facilities, and farming equipment, among other things, to address the needs of our various communities around Liberia,” Weah told the gathering.

He thanked the UN for the support and assured of his government’s continuous collaboration to achieve all UN goals aimed at promoting peace and bringing development to under-developed communities.

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