Liberian stakeholders, ECOWAS adopt roadmap to institutionalise government approach towards improving protection and human security

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The Directorate of Humanitarian and Social Affairs in the Department of Human Development and Social Affairs organized a 3-day Coordination and Capacity Building Workshop for Multi-Stakeholders in the Republic of Liberia involving Ministries, State Institutions, Agencies, CSOs (Civil Society Organizations), the Organized Private Sector, the Media and Partners.

The Work-shop Component is part of a two-phase Activity in Liberia aimed at the development and adop-tion of a Roadmap; as well as the establishment of an ECOWAS Integrated Protection and Hu-man Security Coordination Mechanism (ECO-PHSICM), hosted at the highest level of Govern-ment. The overall purpose of the activity is to strengthen the Protection and Human Security architectures in all ECOWAS Members and Liberia is the seventh Member State to benefit from this intervention. The other Member States are The Gambia, Sierra Lone, Burkina Faso, Nige-ria, Togo and Niger.

At the Opening Ceremony, the ECOWAS Resident Representative in Liberia, H.E. Josephine Nkrumah, in her Welcome Speech said the ECOWAS Protection and Human Security Integrated Coordination Mechanism when established in Liberia will promote the rights of people to live in freedom and promote dignity with equal opportunities to enjoy their rights and develop their human potential. She therefore maintained that the Intervention to improve coordination in responding to human security issues requires the commitment of all stakeholders.

Goodwill Messages were received from the following persons: President of the National Civil Society Council of Liberia, Ms. Loreta Popekai; United Nations Resident Coordinator in Liberia, Mr. NIELS Scott; Representative of the Office of the Vice President of Liberia, Ms. Ciatta H. Clarke; Representative of the Legislature, Hon. Rosana GDH Schaack; Honourable Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Williametta E. Saydee Tarr; the Attorney General and Honourable Minister of Justice, Mr. F. Musah Dean; and the Honourable Deputy Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Madam Tanneh Brunson, who afterwards declared the Workshop open. All the Speakers reiterated the commitment of the Government and People of the Republic of Liberia towards the enthronement of protec-tion and human security in Liberia in particular and the region in general.

In her Overview of the Workshop, the Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, represented by Mr. Osondu Ekeh, Project Officer, OCWAR-T Project in the Human Security and Civil Society (HSCS) Division welcomed the participants and expressed the ap-preciation of the ECOWAS Commission of the efforts made by stakeholders to address human security and protection concerns in the country. He informed participants that the 3 Day Workshop Component of the Intervention in Liberia should have been preceded by a One Day High Level Advocacy with the Vice President of the Republic of Liberia and other relevant Min-isters by the Commissioner, Human Development and Social Affairs. The High-level Advocacy will still take place in the near future. He also informed participants that the Liberia interven-tion was the second of the eight countries earmarked for 2022; as five countries had already been covered in 2021.

Mr. Ekeh, noted that the rationale and justification for the intervention is to address prevailing realities in West Africa with regards to Human Security and Protection including Human Traf-ficking, Violence against Children, Irregular Migration, Drug Abuse, Gender Based Violence, Low Level of Social Protection and Access to Justice, Forced Displacement amongst others.

According to him, the main expected outcome of the intervention, is substantial improvement in national coordination and capacity to prevent and address vulnerabilities, victimization, and other related risks; hoping that the Rights of Children, Women and other Groups in vul-nerable situations are mainstreamed into National Development Planning, Budgeting Process, and adequate resources allocated with resultant significant improvement in citizens’ protec-tion and human security. The Opening Ceremony was moderated by Madam Eva Flomo (Radio Coordinator) and Mr. Raymond Zarbay (News Coordinator) of the ECOWAS Radio, Liberia.

The Workshop ended with the adoption of a Roadmap by the Liberian stakeholders on the establishment of the Liberian Protection and Human Security Coordination Mechanism in the country with membership from all relevant stakeholders. The stakeholders also agreed on key Advocacy Points for the second phase of the Activity.

Some of the recommendations made to facilitate the work of all stakeholders in driving the protection and human security agenda in the country, include: establishment of a system that guarantees prompt and affordable access to justice by the most vulnerable in society; creation of an enabling environment for the protection of vulnerable people, especially women and children by the abolition of harmful social norms and behaviours; strengthening the Liberia National Law Reform Commission to clearly delineate the relevant laws of the Land in order to clear ambiguity and prevent alterca-tions amongst the various related Ministries, Departments and Agencies; exercise of strong political will by the Government for the passage of the Model Drug Law currently before the Senate for concurrence; promotion of skill acquisition and entrepreneurship training to en-sure that people in vulnerable situations are able to be self-employed or secure employment either in the public and private sector; conduct of a national baseline and situation assessment and analysis, building on existing national surveys on the state of protection and human secu-rity in Liberia, amongst other recommendations.

In closing, the ECOWAS Commission reiterated its commitment in supporting the Government and People of Liberia and indeed other Member States in improving the protection and human security for all ECOWAS citizens and for all persons within the region.

The Workshop was very well attended and participants included ECOWAS Staff, ECOWAS Na-tional Office, Liberia; Office of the ECOWAS Resident Representative in Liberia; ECOWAS Radio Liberia, Liberian Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other State Institutions including: Gender, Children and Social Protection; Justice; Finance and Development Planning; Defence; Internal Affairs; and Health and Social Welfare. Others include: NCCRM; Liberia Institute for Statistical and Geo Information Services (LISGIS); Liberia Drug Enforcement Agency (LDEA); Liberia National Police (LNP); Liberia Chamber of Commerce; Liberia Immigration Service; Li-beria Refugee Repatriation and Resettlement Commission; Inter-Religious Council of Liberia; National Civil Society Council of Liberia; The Legislature; Office of the Vice President; Press Council of Liberia; The Children Parliament of Liberia. Other Civil Society Organisations/ Net-works include: WANEP; FLY; Traditional Council of Liberia; LNBA; NCHE; PUL; WACSOF-Liberia; AFELL; FeJAL; WHKM and Media Institutions including the FrontPage Africa Online and Liberian Observer. Partner Organizations in participation were Plan International and UNICEF.

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