Liberia Envoy At The UN Explores Opportunity For Partnership Between Cities In Liberia And New York City

Commissioner and Kemayah

(New York, January 30, 2018)  Liberia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, His Excellency Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr. has begun exploring opportunities for collaboration and partnership between the Cities of Monrovia, Paynesville and other major cities in Liberia, and the City of New York in the United States of America.

On Tuesday, January 29, Ambassador Kemayah met with the  Commissioner for International Affairs in the Office of the Mayor of  New York City, Ms. Penny Abeywardena, at the Office of Liberia’s Permanent Mission in New York,  and discussed the possibility of partnership and sharing best practices with the Cities of Monrovia, Paynesville and other major cities in Liberia.

During the meeting, Ambassador Kemayah hailed New York City for being one of the most influential cities globally –setting good trends and best practices that could be replicated to improve cities across the world. He cited the recent policy pronouncement by the Mayor of New York in December 2018, setting an hourly minimum wage for employees of small businesses at fifteen United States dollars ($15.00); the extension of rent stabilization laws ensuring that tenants are secure in their homes; submission of bills for legal protection of tenants from harassment and displacement among others.

Ambassador Kemayah then expressed Liberia’s interest in forging partnerships that would impact the security, business, agriculture and infrastructure sectors in Liberia.  ” We think that there are a lot of best practices that we can learn from New York City. New York is one of the best when it comes to policing, and we have our police force back home that could benefit from capacity building and shared experiences. Also, there are lots of cities in Liberia–we have Monrovia our Capital City, Paynesville City— that we want to see learning, and trying to implement some of the good models in the city of New York.

Even on the business front, you have a huge number of businesses that are operating and thriving in New York. Similarly, there are business opportunities in Liberia, that you could take advantage of. We believe that through collaboration and partnerships between New York City and cities back home, there could be investment or trade missions, whether, in agriculture, infrastructure and other sectors that would help lift people out of poverty.”  Ambassador Kemayah emphasized.

Ambassador Kemayah further stressed that lifting Liberians out of poverty was  at the core of  the Government ‘s Flagship National Development Agenda–the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, which was launched by His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah in October 2018; at such it was important to explore every opportunity to fully implement the agenda.

In response, Commissioner Abeywardena expressed excitement about the meeting and disclosed that her office was  willing and available to start a conversation on how best practices could be shared with cities in Liberia.

A dispatch from the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations quotes Commissioner Abeywardena as saying that “with an economy that is as large or larger than the economies of  One Hundred Forty-One (141)  countries across the world,  the Mayor’s office  is of the belief that if our policies succeed in New York City, they could be successful in other countries”.

Commissioner Abeywardena disclosed that lots of opportunities were available to exchange best practices; especially around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  She spoke of the development of New York City’s ‘Global Vision/Urban Action booklet–a guide that maps the Mayor’s development agenda with the SDGs, and finds synergies with each of the SDGS for successful implementation.

Commissioner Abeywardena further stated that a series of activities; including site visits and tours are organized for diplomats throughout the year, and encouraged the Permanent Mission of Liberia to take advantage of them  ” We engage very actively on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We take people from different diplomatic missions to site visits around New York City. We do a series of events with the consular corps , where we give them behind the scene access of our city agencies. We’ve done one on counter-terrorism; we have one coming up on sustainability; as well. This is the way to meet the person running the work, and learn how they do it. For the ‘Global Vision/Urban Action we do also a series of events. We would love to partner with you (Ambassador Kemayah and the Permanent Mission of Liberia)  or delegations coming in from home-Liberia; such as those expected to attend the Sixty-Third (63rd) Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March this year. We would love to connect them to experts that are doing the work here in New York City. So there is now a platform for such and welcome a conversation with cities back home in Liberia; especially on localizing the SDGs.” Commissioner Abeywardena concluded.

At the request of Ambassador Kemayah, the Consul General of Liberia in New York Hon. Rudolph Sherman organized the meeting with the Mayor’s Office, and was in attendance.

From Vivian Gartayn Lombeh | Minister Counselor/Press and Public Affairs – Liberia Permanent Mission to the United Nations – Tel: (212) 6871033/1034 Email: vlombeh@pmun.gov.lr

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About Cholo Brooks 10804 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.