UN Renews Commitment to Support 2023 Elections in Liberia
UN Renews Commitment to Support 2023 Elections in Liberia
The United Nations, through its Peacebuilding Support Office and the Liberia Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, has renewed its commitment to support Liberia’s peacebuilding priorities, especially the 2023 Legislative and Presidential Elections.
The commitment was renewed when Liberia’s Minister of Internal Affairs, Varney A. Sirleaf held separate engagements in New York with the Chair of the Liberia Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Permanent Representative of Sweden to the United Nations, Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström, and Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, Ms. Elizabeth Spehar. The engagements took place on September 30th and September 1st, 2022, respectively.
Minister Sirleaf stressed during the engagements that the United Nations and all its partners in the 2023 Presidential or Legislative elections were crucial to sustaining the peacebuilding achievements made over the years.
He assured that the Government of Liberia, under the leadership of President George Manneh Weah, is committed to ensuring the enabling environment for the conduct of a peaceful, transparent, and inclusive election and has begun implementing, with support from partners, policies, and programs in this regard.
The Liberian official acknowledged the significant contributions made by the United Nations through the Peacebuilding Fund and Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) and the Liberia Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission, to maintain peace in Liberia.
In 2021, the Peacebuilding Fund approved five new projects in Liberia, two of which are supporting women’s political empowerment and prevention of gender-based violence, women’s leadership at the county level, and women and youth driven community early warning systems.
Minister Sirleaf described the projects as positive and welcoming, especially the ones that promote women’s political empowerment, noting that “women can be good leaders and custodians of peace just as men or even more than men.”
The Internal Affairs Minister then asked for more technical support and institutional support to ensure an inclusive and peaceful election in Liberia. “To this end I am seeking support of the United Nations and Bilateral Missions for institutions related to electioneering for inclusive, free and fair elections; support to the election situation room for monitoring and responding to issues before, during and after the elections; support to early warning and response mechanisms and support to county peace committees”.
Additionally, Minister Sirleaf sought technical and financial support toward addressing boundary disputes, decentralization challenges, particularly the implementation of the Local Government Act of 2018, the recently legislated Revenue Sharing Law, Cross-border peace, and issues of youth and women’s empowerment, describing them as issues with potential to derail the peace in Liberia.
Ms. Elizabeth Spehar, Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding Support, responded by confirming that Liberia is still a priority country and can rely on the strong partnership of both the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (UN Peacebuilding Support Office) and the Peacebuilding Commission.
Ms. Spehar assured that the Peacebuilding Support Office as well as the Peacebuilding Commission will continue their support for peaceful and inclusive elections to be held in Liberia. This was described by her as a necessity in order to consolidate democracy and peace in Liberia.
Said Spehar: “Not only is the upcoming election a priority for the Government, but a necessity for the country…we don’t want backsliding, we don’t want deterioration of the situation; we want to keep going forward. We all know how peace can be fragile, it’s not a linear process, you can have two steps forward and sometimes one to two steps backward, so we want to help Liberia consolidate the democracy and the peace that you are building.
The PBSO boss confirmed that resources were being mobilized to support some critical peacebuilding areas. This includes bolstering youth empowerment and participation in elections as well as countering hate speech or other incitements that could lead electoral violence. She expressed the hope that the assistance will be of useful contribution.
For her part, Ambassador Anna Karin Eneström, Chair of the Liberia Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Permanent Representative of Sweden, acknowledged the peacebuilding challenges mentioned by the Minister and assured of the UN’s commitment of support. She stressed that Liberia had the opportunity to consolidate its democratic gains over the years through the upcoming elections.
Ambassador Eneström disclosed that plans are underway for the conduct of a PBC Liberian Configuration meeting in October, exclusively on the 2023 elections.
She extended an invitation for the Minister of Internal Affairs (Minister of Internal Affairs) to attend the meeting to discuss the case and broaden support requests to countries and institutions inside and outside the UN Peacebuilding Commission. “We at the peacebuilding Commission have a focus on the upcoming elections and we are planning a meeting in October this year, exclusively on the 2023 elections in Liberia and we hope that you will attend. … Then, of course, all the issues of the Situation Room and Early Warning Structures can be brought to the table and discussed”. Ambassador Eneström told the Minister.
The engagements by Minister Sirleaf followed a recent official Peacebuilding Commission visit to Liberia by Ambassador Eneström and ASG Spehar and are a part of Minister Sirleaf’s efforts to rally more support for Liberia’s peacebuilding roadmap, including soliciting funding from UN and other bilateral partners towards a free, fair, transparent, and tension-free 2023 Elections, as envisaged by His Excellency Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia.
Ms. Cecilia Forgbe Wreh-Mcill, Deputy Permanent Rep of Liberia at the United Nations, and Mr. Emmanuel Wheinyue were accompanying Minister Sirleaf to the meetings.
Source: New republic liberia
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