The Government of Sweden has signed a US$5m-agreement with Liberia,through the Ministry of Internal Affairs in support to Liberia’s decentralization process covering a two-year period.
The ceremony was witnessed by several partners, including USAID, UN Women, UNMIL, as well as UNDP, among others. During the signing ceremony held at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Wednesday, December 9, Swedish Ambassador to Liberia Lena Nordstrom said the Liberia Decentralization Support Program aims to ensure a more effective service delivery closer to where the people live in the counties.
“People’s participation in some form is an essential part of successful decentralization. The communities’ real participation in society is fundamental in order to maintain peace and increase inclusiveness,” Ambassador Nordstrom said yesterday, emphasizing that people’s participation will empower the communities themselves – men, women, girls and boys, to take the leadership of local development and contribute to national development with their full human potentials.
She concluded that this will also contribute to a more effective way to combat poverty. Acting Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf said when the decentralization is implemented fully, Liberia would be a better place not only for this generation, but the children to come.
“Therefore, decentralization is a priority program; I want to assure you – partners, that we’re going to make sure we support [it],” Minister Sirleaf noted at the signing ceremony.
He said with the contribution of US$5m by the Government of Sweden, the Government of Liberia commits to fast-track the implementation of the decentralization agenda by making systems and local government functional.
Minister Sirleaf promised his ministry’s commitment to seriously enhance capacity to support and lead the decentralization program.
He recognized that capacity is an issue here, further indicating that the Ministry Internal Affairs had just concluded data analysis of the re-profiling and re-documentation exercise once launched in support of the former LDLD program that will re-profile all employees of the Ministry.
UNDP Country Director Dr. Kamil K. Kamaluddeen admonished that the commitment made should not be limited to the signing of the book, but implementation.
By Winston W. Parley