CBL Seeks New Partnership

On the sidelines of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Mr. Milton A. Weeks has held meetings with officials of Citi Bank, aimed at exploring areas of cooperation between the two institutions, particularly the establishment of corresponding relationships for the CBL and commercial banks in Liberia.

The Governor informed Citi Bank representatives that CBL needed the corresponding relationship to handle its transactions and manage its reserves. Citi’s representatives welcomed the meeting and informed the Executive Governor that such collaboration is worth pursuing.

The Citi Bank officials offered to provide guidance that would help to attract corresponding relationship from international banks. They said Citi Bank technicians would be willing to work along with their Liberian counterparts to explore other possible areas of collaboration. Governor Weeks also held discussions with the senior management of the African Export – Import Bank (Afrexim). The discussions focused mainly on access to finance, especially creating line of credit to guarantee trade finance activities emanating from Liberia. Officials of the Bank have agreed to visit Liberia to follow-up on discussions between the two institutions.

The CBL Governor has also held discussions with Executives of the West Africa Monetary Institute (WAMI) on arrangements as Liberia prepares to host the upcoming meeting of Ministers and Governors of the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ). Governor Weeks has also held meetings with the Director General for West Africa of the AfDB Group, Janvier K. Litse; and the new Governor of the Central Bank of the Gambia, BakaryJammeh, accompanied by his deputy. The meetings focused on possible areas of collaboration between the Central Bank of Liberia and the respective institutions.

The CBL Governor is among several Governors of African Central Banks, Finance Ministers and other representatives of other leading financial institutions attending the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the 43rd Meetings of the Board of Governors of the African Development Fund (ADF).

Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister, BoimaKamara, is heading the Liberian delegation to the Meetings in his capacity as Governor of the AfDB for Liberia. Minister Kamara has also held various bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings which opened in Ahmedabad, India, on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, with calls for greater cooperation between the Bank and India to help drive Africa’s transformation.

Opening the Meetings at the Mahatma Mandir Conference and Exhibition Center, Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi, reiterated India’s strong ties with Africa and promised that Africa would continue to be a top priority for India’s foreign economic policy. Being held under the theme, “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa,” Prime Modi said his country and the bank can fruitfully join hands for greater partnership. “I have launched an initiative to double farmer’s incomes by 2022,” Prime Minister Modi disclosed, “It will require concerted steps, ranging from improved seeds and optimum inputs, to reduce crop losses and better marketing infrastructure.” India, he said, is keen to learn from Africa’s experience as the bank and his country proceed on the initiative. Africa, Mr. Modi said can also benefit from the Indian experience in the development of the agriculture sector.

For his part, AfDB President AkinwumiAdesina spoke of the Bank’s new transformation agenda which he said is encapsulated in the High 5s and underscored the need to support the Bank with the resources required to enable it accomplish its ambition programs for the good of the African continent. He praised the partnership between the AfDB and India over the years and expressed hope that the bank would benefit greatly from India’s success in agriculture. “From being dependent on imports for food security, India has achieved self-sufficiency in the last three years” said AfDB Mr. Adesina. “When we follow India’s model of agriculture, Agriculture can help eradicate poverty in a big way,” he added. According to reports, Africa produces only 10% of the global food output despite having 60% of the arable land in the world. On the contrary, India has to support its population (17% of the world population) with 2% of world land mass.
Tuesday’s opening ceremony was attended by the presidents of Benin and Senegal, the Vice President of Cote D’Ivoire and other partner countries including Japan and China.

Governor Weeks is accompanied to the Meetings by Mr. Michael B. Ogun, Senior Advisor on Multilateral Relations; Mr. FonsiaDonzo, Deputy Director, Regulation & Supervision Department; Mr. Jackson Wolobah, Deputy Director, Research Policy & Planning Department, Ms. Lilian Best, Corporate Policy Coordinator and Mr. Cyrus W. Badio, Head of Communications.

A Strengthened Civil Service Reduces Poverty

Ms. Elizabeth Harleman, head of development cooperation at the Swedish embassy here says a strengthened civil service has an important role in Liberia’s effort to reduce poverty; and allows for the smooth operations of the private sector.

The private sector, she added, is important for job creation, and consequently in the peace and state building of the country. According to Ms. Harleman her country is pleased that Liberia has developed a pay reform strategy through the civil service agency, and urges the Liberian government to continue its efforts directed at implementing the strategy.

The strategy has a vision to attract, retain and motivate competent employees to work to deliver high quality services to the public, in accordance with the principles of equity, transparency and competiveness.

For her part, Mrs. Patience Coleman-Beyan, director of the Civil Service Reform Directorate says, so far, seven ministries, agencies and commissions of the Liberia government were selected to form part of the pay reform strategies, which according to her, was based on their readiness for reform.

Moreover, the seven MACs makeup 75 percent of Liberia’s civil service. “You can see that if we succeed, it’s a big jump for majority of the civil servants. The lesson for all of us is that, let us try to embrace these reforms; they are designed to help us do our job better and to nurture an effective and efficient government that produces results for the betterment of society, madam Coleman-Beyan added.

“I want to congratulate the Civil Service Agency, Liberia Institute for Public Administration and Governance Commission for the commitment in implementing an important area of reform and to encourage you to continue with the next steps. We are looking forward to follow the continued important implementation of the program, madam Coleman-Beyan noted.

They spoke over the weekend at the ministry of foreign affairs in Monrovia at the launch of the Disbursement Link Indicators (DLIs), a system set up by the World Bank to track the performance and rate government development program.

There are nine DLIs in the whole project. Each year, DLIs are achieved, the performing ministries get paid 40,000USD each and the government of Liberia through the ministry of finance and development planning gets 400,000.00 when 90 percent of the participating ministry performs.
The launch was attended by an array of government officials including vice president Joseph NyumahBoakai, governance commission chairman, Dr. Amos Sawyer and director general of the civil service agency, Dr. Puchu Bernard.

The Swedish embassy head of development cooperation spoke on behalf of partners. According to her, Sweden is pleased to be a contributor along with other donors to the project which aim is important for a functioning and transparent government that improves pay management, performance and enhances merit based recruitment in the civil service. “The main challenge being addressed by this project relates to the problem of poor alignment between skills and functions, and weak payroll control within the civil service of Liberia.

Liberia has recognized these challenges and have committed towards civil service reform. Efforts by Liberia have directed to processes such as pay and grading, cleaning the payroll, mandates and function review and decentralization, Ms. Harleman pointed out.

Liberia has committed to improve opportunities for participation of female civil servants in decision making positions. “Experience show that a country will not reach sustainable development if women are excluded, therefore, Sweden applauds Liberia for its commitment to strengthen gender equality in the civil Service and urges Liberia to increase actions directed as fulfilling the goal of greater proportion of female in senior positions in the civil service,” she added.


Remettre sur pied les incitations aux investissement fixes

LONDRES – En février dernier, j'ai remarqué que l'économie mondiale à la fin de l'année 2016 était dans une situation conjoncturelle plus forte que celle majoritairement attendue, étant donné les bouleversements politiques qui ont eu lieu au cours des 12 derniers mois. Cette tendance à la hausse s'est maintenue jusqu'au premier trimestre 2017. Selon les derniers indicateurs de type « nowcast » (prévisions à très court terme), la croissance du PIB mondial est supérieure à 4 %, soit peut-être la plus forte performance depuis avant la crise financière de 2008.

Pourtant certains observateurs (et pas seulement les pessimistes chroniques), ont établi que les preuves restent anecdotiques et qu'il est impossible de prédire la durée du moment économique actuel. En effet, durant la reprise qui a suivi la crise de 2008, il y a eu d'autres périodes de relance de la croissance, qui ont fini par s'essouffler rapidement et par redevenir calmes.

Pour soutenir la croissance économique à long terme, les investissements des entreprises vont devoir augmenter. Malheureusement cela est plus facile à dire qu'à faire. Dans les pays occidentaux en particulier, les investissements en capital fixe dans le secteur non résidentiel ont été précisément le facteur manquant dans les précédents cycles d'accélération de courte durée.

Personne ne peut dire avec certitude pourquoi les investissements non résidentiels n'ont pas réussi leur relance au cours des dernières années. Mais je soupçonne que sur cette question, la croyance populaire se trompe.

L'argumentation de cette croyance affirme que les PDG méfiants en sont venus à considérer les risques à long terme comme « n'en valant tout simplement pas la peine. » Voici une liste des nombreuses incertitudes auxquelles ils sont confrontés : inquiétudes au sujet de la réglementation excessive, trop lourdes impositions sur les sociétés, niveaux élevés d'endettement, élaboration erratique des politiques, réaction politique contre la mondialisation et doute quant au fait que les dépenses de consommation à l'extérieur (ou même à l'intérieur) des États-Unis vont durer.

Une opinion moins pessimiste estime qu'après 2008, il est devenu inévitable que l'économie mondiale se détache du moteur de consommation américain et s'adapte à l'essor des économies de consommation émergentes, notamment chinoise. Si cela se produit, nous pourrons tous vivre heureux jusqu'à la fin des temps.

J'ai tendance à pencher du côté des moins pessimistes. Comme je l'ai signalé en mars, l'économie de la Chine s'en est étonnamment bien sortie au premier trimestre 2017, tout comme cela semble être le cas au deuxième trimestre. En fait, les derniers chiffres mensuels de la Chine montrent des signes d'accélération économique, en particulier dans la consommation. Et il a été évident au premier trimestre que les consommateurs chinois sont de plus en plus un important moteur de croissance économique.

Confrontés aux chiffres, les pessimistes répondent en insistant sur le fait que les récentes performances économiques fortes de la Chine ne sont que temporaires : un produit d'un stimulus encore moins viable. Et même si la croissance dure en définitive, affirment-ils, les autorités chinoises n'autorisent pas les entreprises occidentales (voire même les entreprises chinoises, si l'on en croit les ultra-pessimistes), à en bénéficier. Mais si les pessimistes s'avèrent avoir raison au sujet de la Chine, il est étrange que les investissements des entreprises restent timides même pendant les périodes où le moteur de la croissance mondiale se trouve ailleurs, par exemple aux États-Unis ou en Europe (en Allemagne en particulier).

Durant mon mandat de Directeur du gouvernement britannique de la Commission sur la résistance aux antimicrobiens, j'ai été chargé de développer une meilleure compréhension de l'industrie pharmaceutique et j'ai appris qu'il y a quelque chose à dire en faveur des forces micro-économiques - et en faveur du bon sens.

Pensez à l'avenir, qui a toujours été et sera toujours incertain. Pourtant les plus gros flops économiques ont eu lieu lorsque les entreprises n'étaient pas assez incertaines : quand elles étaient sûres que l'avenir serait radieux. Une surabondance de certitude pourrait expliquer la bulle Internet de 2000-2001, entre autres.

Mais si grâce à l'augmentation de la disponibilité de tant d'informations (y compris de différents points de vue et opinions), nous savons maintenant que l'avenir est toujours incertain, le comportement des entreprises occidentales (et de nombreuses entreprises dans les pays émergents) est éminemment logique, surtout étant donné le fonctionnement actuel du système financier. Pourquoi les dirigeants d'entreprises iraient-ils investir dans un monde incertain, plutôt que payer des dividendes à des investisseurs exigeants (mais en général peu enclins à prendre des risques), ou racheter une partie de leurs propres actions (ce qui améliore le taux de capitalisation des bénéfices et, mieux encore, augmente leur propre rémunération) ?

En fin de compte, les PDG et les investisseurs les plus agressifs sont tous satisfaits de cette approche. Malheureusement, on ne peut pas en dire autant des employés de leurs sociétés, anciens et actuels, qui ne bénéficient pas d'avantages sociaux sur leur salaire ni sur leur retraite (qui ont en fait été érodés par la faiblesse des rendements obligataires dans l'ensemble des pays occidentaux).

Il est grand temps que nos gouvernements élus modifient les règles du jeu. Tout d'abord, cela implique une mise à jour du code de l'impôt pour rendre bien moins attrayante l'émission de titres de créance, surtout quand les bénéfices sont utilisés pour racheter des actions. Au minimum, il devrait être plus difficile de racheter des actions que d'émettre de véritables paiements de dividendes. De cette façon, au moins tous les actionnaires, pas seulement les cadres supérieurs initiés, en bénéficieront.

En outre, ces mêmes cadres ne devraient pas être rémunérés sur la base des objectifs à court terme du ratio cours/bénéfice. Davantage d'investisseurs devraient exiger une modification des incitations afin qu'elles reflètent de véritables mesures du rendement à long terme.

À son crédit, le Fonds souverain norvégien s'est dernièrement montré favorable à de tels changements. D'autres grands investisseurs institutionnels et décideurs devraient suivre cet exemple, pour donner un coup de pouce au monde de l'entreprise. Si nous modifions les incitations fiscales, nous pourrons enfin voir les investissements des entreprises faire leur grand retour.

Jim O’Neill, ancien président de Goldman Sachs Asset Management, ancien Secrétaire commercial du Trésor du Royaume-Uni, professeur honoraire d'économie à l'Université de Manchester et ancien directeur de la Commission du gouvernement britannique sur la résistance aux antimicrobiens.

Par Jim O’Neill

Saving Asia’s Mothers

BANGKOK – With all the talk about the impending “Asian century,” one might imagine that the region had moved beyond what are often viewed as poor-country health challenges, like high rates of maternal mortality. The reality is very different.

In 2015, an estimated 85,000 women died of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth across the Asia-Pacific region – 28% of the global total. Up to 90% of those deaths, which were concentrated in just 12 countries, could have been prevented through quality antenatal, obstetric, and perinatal care.

In the absence of such care, the average maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the Asia-Pacific region is extremely high: 127 per 100,000 live births, compared to the developed-country average of 12 per 100,000. The 12 countries with the highest MMRs, exceeding 100 deaths per 10,000 live births, are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste.

These countries, together, accounted for about 78,000 known maternal deaths in 2015. The actual figure is probably higher. In fact, MMRs are notoriously difficult to estimate, with conflict, poverty, poor infrastructure, weak health systems, and inadequate resources causing many deaths to go unreported.

MMR data do, however, provide an indication of general trends, which are not promising. Indeed, if they persist, hundreds of thousands of mothers in those 12 high-MMR Asia-Pacific countries alone could lose their lives by 2030.

To be sure, substantial progress has been made in the last 15 years, and efforts are being made to sustain it. The United Nations development agenda, underpinned by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), aims to reduce the MMR to 70 deaths per 100,000 live births by 2030. If that target is met, up to 100,000 lives could be saved across the Asia-Pacific region.

Achieving the goal presupposed faster progress, with annual rates of MMR reduction particularly low (2%) in Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. On current trends, only four of the Asia-Pacific region’s 12 high-MMR countries will be able to meet the SDG target for maternal mortality. The remaining eight will require an average of 26 years.


At a time when family-planning policies are becoming increasingly restrictive, accelerating the pace of progress could prove difficult. Indeed, for some countries, progress is at risk of slowing.

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) is working hard to counter this trend. We are committed to ensuring that all pregnancies are safe and wanted, and that all women and girls are empowered not just to make their own choices about their own families and bodies, but also to contribute more to poverty reduction and economic development.

In the 12 high-MMR Asia-Pacific countries, the UNFPA advocates the development of responsive and inclusive health systems with sufficient numbers of trained personnel, from midwives to community-health workers. And we are already working to advance that objective.

In Afghanistan, the UNFPA and its partners have supported the expansion of community health services, including the creation of 80 family health houses and nine mobile support teams. Those initiatives had reached more than 420,000 people by 2015.

In Lao PDR, the UNFPA has helped the Ministry of Health train midwives and village health volunteers to provide basic sexual and reproductive care, providing the information that women need to avoid unwanted pregnancies. This contributed in a steep drop in the MMR, from 450 to 220 per 100,000 live births, between 2005 and 2015.

In Fiji, the UNFPA, with the support of the Australian government, pre-positioned thousands of dignity and reproductive-health kits. Following the devastation caused by Cyclone Winston in February 2016, these strategically placed supplies help to address women and girls’ immediate reproductive-health needs, saving the lives of mothers and children.

But, while such initiatives are already having a powerful impact, more investment must be channeled toward ensuring that comprehensive health services are available and accessible to all, especially the most vulnerable groups. In particular, additional resources must be allocated to sexual- and reproductive-health services – and to ensuring access to them. Strengthening the provision of antenatal care, ensuring safe delivery through skilled birth attendance, and expanding emergency obstetric care are all key interventions that can reduce MMRs across the region.

Of course, women also need access to family-planning services, to help them avoid unwanted pregnancies and reduce the number of unsafe abortions. The rights of all women and their partners to choose the family-planning method that is appropriate for them must be respected, and a full range of quality contraceptives must be readily available to all.

When women have full control over their sexual and reproductive health, society as a whole reaps enormous benefits. In fact, every $1 invested in modern contraceptive services can yield as much as $120 in social, economic, and environmental returns. Such investment should come partly from international development assistance, which must place a higher priority on sexual- and reproductive-health services, and partly from national governments.

But money is not all governments can offer. They can and must develop inclusive policies that address the needs of vulnerable and marginalized groups, including in ways that go beyond the health sector. This includes fighting harmful practices such as child marriage and gender-based violence; removing legal barriers to contraception; and working with communities to address misconceptions around sexual and reproductive health.

Safe pregnancy and childbirth should be a top priority for all societies, as it is for the UNFPA. If we are to meet the SDG target for maternal mortality, we must work together to advance targeted, tailored interventions that respect the rights of women and girls to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

Anderson Stanciole is a Health Economics Advisor at the United Nations Population Fund’s Asia-Pacific Regional Office. Federica Maurizio is Health Economics and SRHR Fellow at the United Nations Population Fund’s Asia-Pacific Regional Office.

By Anderson Stanciole and Federica Maurizio

Lutter contre la mortalité maternelle en Asie

BANGKOK – À l’heure où beaucoup évoquent l’imminence d’un « siècle asiatique », nous pourrions supposer que la région a désormais surmonté les défis souvent associés aux pays pauvres en matière de santé, tels que l’existence de taux de mortalité maternelle élevés. Or, la réalité est tout autre.

Pour l’année 2015, on estime à 85 000 le nombre de femmes décédées de complications liées à la grossesse et à l’accouchement dans la région Asie-Pacifique – soit 28 % du total mondial. Pas moins de 90 % de ces décès, concentrés dans seulement 12 pays, auraient pu être évités grâce à des soins de qualité en médecine prénatale, obstétrique et périnatale.

En l’absence de tels soins, le taux de mortalité maternelle moyen (TMM) dans la région Asie-Pacifique est extrêmement élevé : 127 décès pour 100 000 naissances viables, contre 12 pour 100 000 en moyenne dans les pays développés. Les 12 pays présentant les plus forts TMM, supérieurs à 100 décès pour 10 000 naissances viables, sont l’Afghanistan, le Bengladesh, le Cambodge, l’Indonésie, le Laos, la Birmanie, le Népal, le Pakistan, la Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée, les Philippines, et le Timor oriental.

Ces pays représentent ensemble environ 78 000 des décès maternels connus pour l’année 2015, les chiffres réels étant certainement plus élevés. En effet, les TMM sont toujours difficiles à estimer, dans la mesure où les conflits, la pauvreté, le manque d’infrastructures, la fragilité des systèmes de santé, et l’insuffisance des ressources conduisent à l’absence de prise en compte de nombreux décès.

Les données relatives aux TMM fournissent néanmoins une indication sur les tendances générales, qui ne sont pas prometteuses. En effet, si ces tendances se prolongent, plusieurs centaines de milliers de femmes, rien que pour les 12 pays d’Asie-Pacifique aux TMM les plus élevés, pourraient d’ici 2030 décéder en donnant la vie.

Bien entendu, des progrès significatifs ont été accomplis ces 15 dernières années, et nombre d’efforts sont fournis pour pérenniser ces avancées. Le programme de développement de l’ONU, sous-tendu par les Objectifs de développement durable (ODD), vise à réduire le TMM à 70 décès pour 100 000 naissances viables d’ici 2030. Si cet objectif était atteint, pas moins de 100 000 vies pourraient être sauvées dans la région Asie-Pacifique.

L’accomplissement de cet objectif nécessite des progrès plus rapides, la réduction annuelle du TMM étant particulièrement insuffisante (2 %) en Papouasie-Nouvelle-Guinée et aux Philippines. Dans le cadre des tendances actuelles, seuls quatre des 12 pays à TMM élevé de la région Asie-Pacifique pourront atteindre les chiffres ciblés par les ODD en matière de mortalité maternelle. Il faudra en moyenne 26 ans aux pays restants pour y parvenir.


À l’heure où les politiques de planning familial deviennent de plus en plus limitées, l’accélération du rythme de progression pourrait se révéler difficile. Pire encore, pour certains pays, les progrès risquent de ralentir.

Le Fonds des Nations Unies pour la population (FNUAP) redouble d’efforts pour contrer cette tendance. Nous travaillons pour qu’un jour toutes les grossesses soient souhaitées et médicalement suivies, et pour que toutes les femmes et jeunes filles soient en mesure non seulement de faire leurs propres choix quant à leur famille et à leur corps, mais également de contribuer davantage à la réduction de la pauvreté ainsi qu’au développement économique.

Dans les 12 pays d’Asie-Pacifique aux TMM les plus élevés, le FNUAP aspire au développement de systèmes de santé réactifs et inclusifs, employant en nombre suffisant un personnel formé, allant des sages-femmes aux agents de santé de proximité. Et nous œuvrons d’ores et déjà pour atteindre cet objectif.

En Afghanistan, le FNUAP et ses partenaires soutiennent le développement de services de santé de proximité, notamment à travers la création de 80 maisons de santé destinées aux familles, et de neuf équipes mobiles d’assistance. De leur mise en place jusqu’en 2015, ces initiatives ont permis à plus de 420 000 personnes de bénéficier d’une aide médicale.

Au Laos, le FNUAP a aidé le ministère de la santé à former des sages-femmes et des bénévoles intervenant dans les villages pour fournir les soins les plus essentiels en matière sexuelle et reproductive, et apportant aux femmes les informations leur permettant d’éviter des grossesses non souhaitées. Ces démarches ont contribué à une importante réduction du TMM, qui est passé de 450 à 220 décès pour 100 000 naissances viables entre 2005 et 2015.

Aux îles Fidji, avec l’aide du gouvernement australien, le FNUAP a distribué plusieurs milliers de kits d’hygiène et de santé reproductive. Après le désastre provoqué par le cyclone Winston en février 2016, ces stocks stratégiquement déployés ont contribué à répondre aux besoins immédiats des femmes et jeunes filles en matière de santé reproductive immédiate, et à sauver la vie des mères et de leurs enfants.

Bien que ces diverses initiatives produisent d’ores et déjà d’importants résultats, il est nécessaire que davantage d’investissements soient déployés pour faire en sorte que des services de santé complets soient disponibles et accessibles pour tous, en particulier pour les catégories de population les plus vulnérables. Il est notamment important que des ressources supplémentaires soient allouées aux services de santé sexuelle et reproductive, d’une manière qui garantisse à tous un accès à ces services. Le renforcement de la fourniture de soins en médecine prénatale, la possibilité d’accouchements sûrs via un encadrement médical, et le développement de la médecine obstétrique d’urgence sont autant d’aspects fondamentaux sur la voie d’une réduction des TMM dans la région.

Bien entendu, les femmes doivent également pouvoir accéder à des services de planning familial, afin qu’elles puissent éviter les grossesses non souhaitées, et que le nombre d’avortements pratiqués dans des conditions dangereuses puisse diminuer. Le droit de toutes les femmes, et de leur partenaire, de choisir la méthode de contraception qui leur convient doit être respecté, de même qu’une gamme complète de contraceptifs de qualité doit être facilement accessible pour tous.

Lorsque les femmes ont pleinement le contrôle de leur santé sexuelle et reproductive, la société dans son ensemble en bénéficie considérablement. En effet, chaque dollar investi dans les services modernes de contraception peut produire jusqu’à 120 $ de rendement sur le plan social, économique et environnemental. Il est nécessaire qu’un tel investissement émane en partie de l’aide internationale au développement – à laquelle il incombe d’accorder une plus grande priorité aux services de santé sexuelle et reproductive – et en partie des gouvernements nationaux.

Mais certains gouvernements peuvent agir au-delà des considérations financières. Ils sont en capacité, et dans l’obligation morale, d’élaborer des politiques inclusives consistant à répondre aux besoins des catégories vulnérables et marginalisées, y compris au-delà du secteur de la santé. Interviennent ici la lutte contre les pratiques préjudiciables telles que les mariages d’enfants ou les violences sexistes, la levée des barrières légales à la contraception, ainsi qu’un travail auprès des communautés pour remédier à la méconnaissance des aspects de santé sexuelle et reproductive.

Grossesse et accouchement sans danger doivent s’inscrire au plus haut des priorités de toutes les sociétés, comme c’est le cas pour le FNUAP. Si nous entendons atteindre la cible des ODD en matière de mortalité maternelle, il nous faut œuvrer dans le cadre de démarches orientées et adaptées aux situations, qui respectent le droit qu’ont les femmes et les jeunes filles de prendre leurs propres décisions quant à leur santé sexuelle et reproductive.

Traduit de l’anglais par Martin Morel

Anderson Stanciole est conseiller en économie de la santé au sein du bureau régional Asie-Pacifique du Fonds des Nations Unies pour la population. Federica Maurizio intervient en économie de la santé, ainsi qu’en droits des femmes en matière de santé sexuelle et reproductive, au sein du bureau régional Asie-Pacifique du Fonds des Nations Unies pour la population.

Par Anderson Stanciole et Federica Maurizio

House reviews Code of Conduct

The controversial Code of Conduct shockingly surfaced on the agenda of the House of Representatives for revision on Tuesday, 4 April; roughly a month after Liberia’s Supreme Court endorsed the instrument as being legal.

It is not yet clear who submitted the Code of Conduct and for what purpose, but lawmakers in the chambers appeared to be in the know of the reappearance of the Code of Conduct which was passed since 2013.

Though, the agenda of the lawmakers did not reveal anything as it relates to the appearance of the controversial Code of Conduct, House Speaker James Emmanuel Nuquay’s leadership reverted to executive session apparently to discuss the act which has created tension among politicians that are vying for elected posts.

Information gathered within the corridors of the House of Representatives Tuesday, 4 April suggests that some influential politicians and stakeholders are appealing to Liberian lawmakers to amend some portions of the Code of Conduct to avoid tension here ahead of the 2017 Representatives and Presidential elections.

In 2009, the Executive Branch of Government submitted a bill to the Legislature to have a National Code of Conduct passed into law. The instrument prescribes activities of public officials.

After languishing at the Capitol for nearly five years, the Code of Conduct was ratified by lawmakers, subsequently signed by the President and took effect since 2014. The Code received huge public commendations especially provisions regarding the conduct of public officials who many see here to be flouting the laws.

But there are criticism however that the Code of Conduct is allegedly being violated by some officials appointed by the President, over claims that they are now actively participating in politics while still serving in appointed officers.

At the ongoing national convention of the ruling Unity Party, several presidential appointees actively took part in political activities, with some being elected to party positions.
Part V of the Code of Conduct prohibits all officials appointed by the President from taking part in active politics. It says all officials appointed by the President shall not engage in political activities, canvass or contest for elected offices.

The intent of the instrument is to prevent the use of government facilities, equipment or resources in support of partisan or political activities by officials who may be seeking elected jobs.

They are not also allowed to serve on a campaign team of any political party, or the campaign of any independent candidate while still serving on appointed jobs.
Notwithstanding, appointed officials who seek to contest for elected offices are required to resign from the appointed offices two years ahead, while those holding tenured jobs are to resign three years ahead of such elections.

By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor-Editing by Winston W. Parley

Clinical training course in Liberia

The Joint West Africa Research Group or JWARG Monday began a week-long clinical training course in tropical and emerging infectious diseases for clinicians and lab professionals in Monrovia.

A press release issued in Monrovia says the training will help strengthen clinical skills needed to enhance research capability in West Africa.The 2014 Ebola epidemic highlighted gaps in local and regional disease data, research capabilities, and resources available to address epidemics in West Africa.

The course will include training on several specific diseases of concern in Liberia, including Ebola, Lassa fever, malaria, typhoid, and HIV, as well as training on sepsis from any cause, the release says.

Lectures will also address clinical response to infectious disease threats, including diagnostics, prevention, treatment and ethics. Students include clinicians from Liberia, Ghana, and Nigeria who are partnering with JWARG to conduct research.

Physicians and scientists from JWARG’s partner institutions in West Africa and the United States are teaching the course. “This initiative is a unique collaboration between military and civilian partners in West Africa,” said U.S. Ambassador Christine Elder. “Each group brings unique perspectives and strengths to the table, enabling the Group to develop strategies and capabilities that will help prepare the region for future disease outbreaks.”

The training follows on the establishment of Liberia’s first clinical microbiology lab in 40 years at Phebe Hospital, implemented in late 2016 with support from JWARG. Prior to that, Liberia had no advanced microbiology diagnostic capabilities.

This improved capability is critical to the management of infectious diseases. JWARG efforts in Liberia will also enhance the capabilities of West African physicians, scientists, and institutions to conduct clinical research, build and strengthen research capabilities in the region.

It is also expected to provide an effective surveillance mechanism, develop effective countermeasures and also broaden understanding of relevant infectious disease threats. A local partner, Africabio Enterprises, Inc., supports JWARG efforts in Liberia.
--Press release

Gov’t unprepared for chiefs’ elections

The Senate Committee Chair on Internal Affairs, Good Governance and Reconciliation, Nimba County Senator Sumo Grupee says government is not prepared at this time to underwrite the cost of conducting elections for Liberia’s Traditional Council of Chiefs while the country is also faced with conducting presidential and representative’s elections.

Sen. Grupee announced the postponement of the chiefs’ elections when he appeared on a local radio talk - show over the weekend, following a longstanding opposition that has encountered Chief Zanzan Karwah’s administration in demand for his replacement.

Sen. Grupee had said his committee received two petitions, one calling for the establishment of an interim administration that would lead the council to elections, while the other called for the postponement of the exercise to a later date.

After reviewing the two petitions, Sen. Grupee said it was not feasible to conduct elections for the Council considering the fact that the national elections were in full swing.

A key obstacle cited as justification for postponing the Council’s election was that government would be required to make budgetary allotment to facilitate the process.

While announcing that his comments personal and not for the Senate Committee that he chairs, the Nimba County Lawmaker said he believed that the Karwah led-administration should hold onto power until at such time when the government has concluded with the conduct of the national elections which he says are cost intensive.

He suggested that following the national elections, government would be in the position to galvanize the needy financial resources to fast track the chiefs’ electoral process.

Meanwhile, Sen. Grupee has raised concerns that there are no clear criteria as to who is an elder, noting that most of the local government officials were appointed by the President and not elected by the people.

He cited alleged violation of elections laws here which called for the holding of “chiefdomship” elections for local government officials working under the Ministry of Internal Affairs or MIA, claiming that the National Elections Commission or NEC was not adhere to such laws.

Sen. Grupee concluded that the Council was not accountable to any board or the MIA due to the absence of a Board of Directors.

Rebuilding the World’s Forests

OXFORD – Humankind has always had a tricky relationship with forests. We depend on them to regulate the climate and rainfall, clean our air and water, sustain myriad species of plants and animals, and support the livelihoods of over a billion people. Yet we continue to destroy them, to the point that only half the world’s original forest cover remains.

The price of deforestation can hardly be overstated. Trees consume large amounts of carbon dioxide as they grow, making them vital tools for absorbing the greenhouse-gas emissions – from cars, factories, power stations, and livestock – that result in climate change. If we continue to lose forest cover, the Paris climate agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius (above pre-industrial levels) by 2050 will be impossible to achieve. In fact, to meet that target, we will need to restore a significant amount of forest cover that is already gone.

There are two ways to approach reforestation. The first is to allow agricultural lands to fall into disuse, and then wait for them to revert naturally to forest. This wouldn’t cost much, but it would take decades. The second option is more proactive: plant billions of new trees.

As part of the New York Declaration on Forests, signed in 2014, governments pledged to restore hundreds of millions of hectares of forests. But, with most governments short on cash these days, financing the pledge has proved challenging. Against this background, we must try to engage the private sector to deliver the needed investment.

When forests have an economic value, they are more likely to be cultivated than destroyed. And, indeed, trees have been cultivated for profit for millennia. Today, productive forests cover an area of more than a billion hectares, or about one-quarter of the world’s forested land.

Such forests produce fuelwood, which accounts for about half of tree removals. They also produce materials for clothes, oils for soaps and lubricants, fruits, and other foods, such as cocoa. Demand for these products is growing, though not as fast as demand for newspaper print falls as a result of computerization.

How can demand for forest products be increased? A promising opportunity lies in construction.

Timber has always been an important building material, and remains so for residential construction in places like the United States, Scandinavia, and parts of Southeast Asia. But most buildings today are constructed using bricks and mortar, concrete, and, for larger structures, steel – all materials that produce substantial carbon emissions during the manufacturing process.

While it is unlikely that timber can fully replace any of these materials, new types of engineered wood are making it more competitive. One of these is cross-laminated timber (CLT), which is made by gluing together layers of wood to create panels that are as strong as steel or concrete, and thus can replace those materials in buildings.

More research is required to determine the precise benefits of using timber to cut CO2 emissions. One estimate comes from architect Anthony Thistleton-Smith, one of the United Kingdom’s leading experts on wooden buildings. He recently noted that, whereas a typical British home has a carbon footprint of around 20-21 tons, a CLT home has a negative footprint of 19-20 tons. In other words, every home built with CLT saves 40 tons of CO2 emissions. If the 300,000 new

homes targeted for completion in the UK this year were built using CLT, it would be like taking 2.5 million cars off the road. The climate benefits could be massive.

As with so many climate measures, cost can be a major barrier to implementation. And, according to a United Nations report, CLT is more expensive than concrete in Europe. But CLT is still in its infancy, with only a handful of factories in operation. As the CLT supply chain develops, costs will inevitably fall, as has happened with renewable energy.

Moreover, builders report that the total costs of building with CLT already end up similar to those of building with concrete, because it takes less time. After all, unlike concrete, CLT doesn’t need time to set.

Of course, delivering such a transformation will not be easy. Vested interests – pressure from industries producing traditional building materials – must be overcome, including by ensuring a level playing field in terms of subsidies. Furthermore, public concerns – for example, regarding fire safety or infestation prevention – must be addressed, and builders will have to learn new skills. Most important, monitoring will have to be improved considerably, so that increased demand does not result in more deforestation.

For many countries, the economic opportunities should be sufficient to make addressing these challenges worthwhile. New plantations could regenerate rural areas, as new factories created opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs. Governments and larger companies would be able to tap the fast-growing green-bond market to fund the early transition, including the creation of systems using drones and satellite imaging to monitor for unsustainable forestry practices.

Opportunities to align economic development with the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions are rare. Yet that is what reforestation offers. We must take advantage of this opportunity, by pursuing a construction transformation based on restoring trees, the world’s most effective carbon-capture tool. In this “new age of timber,” we would grow wood, build with wood, and allow our forests to thrive.

By Justin Adams

Power outage disrupts House’s regular session

Regular session at the House of Representatives on Tuesday,7 March was interrupted due to power failure. Lawmakers had gathered Tuesday in the Chamber of the House ofRepresentativesto conduct normal business as usual when the currentsupplying the Capitol Building abruptly went off.

After waiting for some time, Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay instructed the Chief Clark of that august body to announce that there willbe no session because of power outage.
Reporters at the Capitol went to the Chief Clark’soffice to take a look at the agenda for the day, but a staffin the office said the agenda was about to printed when power failed, sothere was no way to have it printed.

This is the second time in less than a month lawmakers in the House ofRepresentatives have abruptly closed session due to lack of power since they returned from annual break and the start of the voter’s registration process here.

The 1986 Constitution of Liberia mandates members of the legislatureto meet every Tuesday and Thursday to conduct official business, butthat have not been the case for 24 of February and the March 7,2017, respectively.

By Bridgett Milton-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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