As the UN peacekeeping mission wraps up in Liberia and the country looks to secure a stable future, the UN has cautioned the Government that while it has made great strides, the road ahead will be challenging.
At the launch of the country’s new National Development Plan in the capital, Monrovia, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed congratulated all Liberians on a hard-won peace after 15 conflict-torn years.
While also congratulating them on the progress made during the subsequent post-war period, she, however, outlined that along with opportunities, serious challenges lie ahead.
“When I look at the young women and men, and the initiatives for peace that they have courageously carried forward, sometimes even risking their lives, I am filled with pride and hope but also with fear,” she said.
The UN deputy chief noted the severe economic constricts in the country and high unemployment among its youth.
“We cannot fail them. We must empower them, meet their needs and expectations, and help them to fulfil their dreams,” she added.
Applauding the country’s new development framework, dubbed: ‘The Liberia Moment’, Mohammed underlined five principles that must underpin the Plan.
These include national ownership; eliminating poverty; improving tax and revenue collection, strengthening rule of law, and ending dependency on aid; enhancing transparency; and ensuring predictable and sustainable means for development financing.
She also underscored the need to consolidate peace and avoid a relapse into conflict, and in doing so reiterated the importance of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the best tools we have to prevent conflict and we should make every effort to achieve them without delay,” she said.
According to her, the UN stands ready to provide the Government with advice, expertise and support needed.
“We will be with you every step of the way. This is our commitment,” the deputy scribe said.
Liberia went through two civil wars spanning over 14 years between 1989 and 2003, claiming the lives of almost 250,000 people and led to a complete breakdown of law and order.
The UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia (UNMIL), was established by the UN Security Council in 2003 after a peace agreement was signed to end the fighting.
The mission created a security environment that enabled more than a million refugees and displaced persons return to their homes.
It also supported the holding of three presidential elections, and helped the government establish its authority throughout the whole country following years of fighting and instability.
Meanwhile, as part of the closure of UNMIL, its official radio station, UNMIL Radio would transfer to Radio ECOWAS – the radio station operated by ECOWAS.
UNMIL Radio had been broadcasting since October 2003 to over 80 per cent of the country’s population.