(New York, May 5, 2020) The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission and International Partners of the Republic of Liberia have indicated overwhelming willingness and expression of support to the Government and People of Liberia for Liberia’s National Response to COVID-19. They also expressed satisfaction and commendation for the able Leadership being provided by the Government of Liberia in its fight against COVID-19.
The UN Peacebuilding Commission and International Community indicated their overwhelming willingness and expression of support for Liberia’s National Response to COVID-19 and Post-COVID-19 Socio-economic development during an Ambassadorial-Level Virtual Meeting of the UN Peacebuilding Commission Liberia Configuration held recently in New York on the impact of COVID-19 on peacebuilding and sustaining peace in Liberia.
The meeting was convened by Her Excellency Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations and Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission Liberia Configuration, in collaboration with His Excellency Ambassador Dee-Maxwell Saah Kemayah, Sr., Permanent Representative of Liberia to the United Nations and the UN Peacebuilding Support Office.
In remarks, Ambassador Eneström expressed satisfaction about the level of cooperation and collaboration between the Government of Liberia and the International Community and donors and the UN Country Team. She reaffirmed that the International Partners and United Nations stand in solidarity with the Government and People of Liberia in this difficult situation.
Ambassador Eneström also expressed that she was very pleased with the level of cooperation, collaboration and coordination between Ambassador Kemayah and her; stressing that she looks forward to continuing that cooperation with Ambassador Kemayah and the Permanent Mission.
She welcomed the Officials of the Government from Monrovia and Ambassador Kemayah and Representatives of the International Community to the Meeting. She commended, and paid tribute to the Government and People of Liberia for the effort in fighting COVID-19 and mourning the losses of those who have lost their lives to the virus. She provided an overview of the meeting, which she said was convened to focus on the socio-economic situation in Liberia in the wake of the virus and explore ways to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on economic development; and the risk of reversing peacebuilding gains in Liberia. She said the meeting was called to consider the peacebuilding priorities in Liberia that require attention in view of COVID-19 and its potential socio-economic implications; and how conflict-sensitive responses to COVID-19 can be supported. Ambassador Eneström stressed that the Ambassadorial-Level Meeting, which was very well attended and supported by the International Partners of Liberia at the United Nations; was convened to also focus on the international support that is required to assist Liberia mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on peacebuilding gains in Liberia, and maintain its path towards sustainable peace and development.
According to a dispatch from the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Liberia to the United Nations; following the comprehensive briefings and updates from the Government of Liberia, United Nations Country Team and World Bank on COVID-19 and its related impact in Liberia; the members of the UN Peacebuilding Commission and Liberia’s International Partners in New York voiced their concerns for the likely socio-economic impacts COVID-19 may have on Liberia’s economy, the health sector and efforts to building and sustaining peace in Liberia. There was immense commendation and support expressed by the members of the UN Peacebuilding Commission, UN Country Team and Liberia’s International Partners for His Excellency President George Manneh Weah and the Government of Liberia for the Leadership being demonstrated in Liberia, and measures being taken in the fight against COVID-19, which they affirmed is critical in fighting the virus. The Partners also thanked and praised the efforts of the international community for its assistance to Liberia; and appreciated the close collaboration between the Government and the international community and donors and the UN Country Team in coordinating efforts to avoid fragmentation and duplication of donor efforts aimed at fighting COVID-19; as well as ensuring that the peacebuilding priorities in Liberia remain on the front burner; while heartening the UN Peacebuilding Commission to explore ways to source funding for Liberia’s peacebuilding priorities.
A dispatch from the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations states that the overwhelming willingness and support for Liberia’s National Response to COVID-19 and Post-COVID-19 Socio-economic development was expressed by Liberia’s International Partners and Members of the UN Peacebuilding Commission who fully participated in the recent meeting; including the United States of America, Sweden, Canada, Colombia, Bangladesh, United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Japan, United Nations Country Team in Liberia, European Union, Kenya, Egypt, World Bank, WHO, Brazil, Norway, United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office and ECOWAS, amongst others. Samples of overwhelming expressions of willingness and support for Liberia’s National Response; in addition to the overwhelming expression of willingness and support for Liberia from Ambassador Eneström and the UN Peacebuilding Commission; included the following:
United Nations Country Team: Dr. Kingsley Opoku Amaning, UN Resident Coordinator in Liberia said the effort of the UN Peacebuilding Commission is very much appreciated by the Government of Liberia and UN Country Team. He said the Country has been doing the right thing in term of the preventive measures; stressing that the UN Country Team and International Community are working together with the Government to galvanize the strength of the communities to build all the structures necessary for containing COVID-19 and addressing all the threats to the resilience of the communities. Dr. Amaning praised the Government for the leadership it is providing in fighting COVID-19. He expressed satisfaction about the pillars of the response plan of the Government, and the broad-based technical staffing based on competencies and skills across the political divide. Dr. Amaning stressed that all the resources and support are needed in the wake of the strong Leadership that continues to be shown by the Government; with the involvement of His Excellency President Weah to fight COVID-19, and the strong leadership in the pillars. Dr. Amaning informed the meeting that there is coordination mechanism; pointing out that there is a systematic coordination mechanism among donors, partners, diplomatic missions and the UNCountry Team; stressing that they are working hand in hand with the Government of Liberia on very, very close terms. He further stressed the need for the international community to provide financial and material support to Liberia to fight COVID-19 and mitigate its socio-economic impacts.
World Bank: Dr. Khwima Nthara, World Bank Country Manager for Liberia recognized the leadership,commitment, and flexibility that the Government of Liberia has shown; and this according to him,is enhancing the mobilization of resources. Dr. Nthara lauded the international community and UN Country Team for the Financial, Material and Technical support being provided. He underscored that it is heartening that the Government and partners are not just looking at the immediate health response, but also considering the medium term to address the socio-economic impacts; he commended the Government of Liberia for clearly outlining its Response Plan; welcoming Government’s response plan and effort at involving all communities and other stakeholders in fighting COVID-19; expressing that with such involvement, there is national ownership.
United States of America: Representing the United States, Mr. Jason Mack, Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs at the United States Mission to the United Nations thanked all parts of the United Nations System that are combating COVID-19 and continuing the important work of building peace and resilience country by country, including in Liberia. In the case of Liberia, Mr. Mack informed the meeting that the United States is working to realign the support of the United States Government to Liberia in line with needs on the ground. Mr. Mack stressed that the United States Government appreciates its closed Partnership with the Government of Liberia in addressing the COVID-19 crisis. He affirmed that the United States remains focused on humanitarian concern and the importance of coordinated efforts; including the work of the UN Peacebuilding Commission and other United Nations entities to mitigate the impacts of this crisis in Liberia and around the World; emphasizing that working together, this will be gotten through. He said the United States knows that comprehensive solutions are required to help countries mitigate the impact of COVID-19, and to deliver results; so the United States he said, welcomes the robust support through the United Nations Response Plan, World Bank Funding and the International Monetary Fund Extended Credit Facility. He indicated that the United States hopes the UN Peacebuilding Commission can leverage its advisory role to support further coordination across these efforts. He further said that to help countries focus on the crisis and recovery; as the G-7 Finance Ministers announced on April 14, 2020; the United States stands ready along with its counterparts to provide a time bound suspension on debt service payments due on official bilateral plans for all countries eligible for World Bank Concessional Financing if joined by all Bilateral official creditors in the G-20; and as agreed with the Paris Club.
European Union: His Excellency Ambassador Olof Skoog, Head of Delegation of the European Union to the United Nationsand Former Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations and Immediate Former Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Commission Liberia Configuration said it was sad to see Liberia coming back to such situation following Ebola, but encouraging to see the country coming together because the key word; according to him is unity; unity he stressed amongst countries and partners, and also in countries; including in Liberia; Ambassador Skoog stressed. He congratulated the Government of Liberia for the way it has been able to keep the country together in the fight against COVID-19; ensuring unity; he said the European Union strongly Supports Liberia. Ambassador Skoog welcomed and commended His Excellency President Weah for the State of Emergency and measures proposed to the National Legislature to address the needs of affected Liberian households; stressing that the European Union is ready to support Liberia; and will support the measures proposed to the National Legislature. He further lauded His Excellency President Weah for the structure put in place and the appointments of Hon. Mary Broh and Ambassador Nora Finda Bundo. Ambassador Skoog reaffirmed that the European Union is behind Liberia andstands ready to support Liberia in the country’s focus on healthcare, economic development, community support, livelihood, rule of law, communication, food security, human rights and social protection.
Ireland: Her Excellency Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations said there was reassuring message from Monrovia; stressing that the big virtue is that the Government is listening and working with the international partners. Shesaid Ireland is working with the Government on the ground to restructure the assistance of Ireland to enable Liberia cope with the impacts of COVID-19; stressing that Ireland is working in its country to support food and nutrition security in the crisis environment of Liberia; especially for the women. She stressed that Irelandis working along with Liberia on a Five year Plan for Liberia; and looks forward to hearing from Liberia on the impacts COVID-19 may have on its elections; whether it has to do with timing or management; stressing that Ireland fully stands ready to support Liberia in helping to mitigate such impacts on its elections.
Canada: His Excellency Ambassador Marc-Andre Blanchard, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations and Chairman of the UN Peacebuilding Commission thanked and saluted Ambassador Kemayah for the work, engagements, coordination and collaboration at the United Nations; terming him – Ambassador Kemayah as a good friend. He stressed the need to support the strengthening of the economy; and small and medium businesses; further emphasizing that the jobs must be saved as much as possible around the world to sustain peace. He also stressed and offered support to ensure support for food security in the midst of the challenging COVID-19 should the Government of Liberia express the need. Ambassador Blanchard expressed satisfaction and congratulated the Government of Liberia for work being done, and coordination and collaboration with the International Partners, terming the togetherness of the international community in Liberia as comforting.
ECOWAS: His Excellency Ambassador Babatunde Ajisomo, Representative of ECOWAS in Liberia commended the Government of Liberia for the Leadership being demonstrated in fighting COVID-19 and welcomed His Excellency President Weah’s measures proposed to the National Legislature; he also extended appreciation to the UN Peacebuilding Commission, UN Country Team and International Partners and donors for the support to Liberia and the coordination. He reaffirmed the commitment and support of ECOWAS to the Government and People of Liberia in fighting COVID-19; a support which he said already started.
Ambassador Kemayah in his closing remarks expressed immense thanks and appreciation to Ambassador Eneström, for convening the very important meeting at a critical, but appropriate time. He paid tribute and empathized with those affected by COVID-19. He thanked the Ministers and other briefers for their insights and contributions; and highlighted and praised the astute leadership being exemplified by His Excellency President Weah during this difficult period. Ambassador Kemayah, on behalf of His Excellency President Weah, and the Government and People of Liberia; also extended appreciation to Dr. Kingsley Opoku Amaning, UN Resident Coordinator in Liberia and his UN CountryTeam, and all of Liberia’s local, national and international partners who are; either already lending and/or will lend a helping hand to Liberia in the fight against COVID-19. Ambassador Kemayah then commended the IMF for the Immediate Debt Relief for Twenty-five (25) Countries, including Liberia; and welcomed and supported the UN Secretary-General’s call for developed countries to immediately assist the less developed ones. In conclusion, he thanked all the participants for their valuable inputs.