The Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Dr. Pa Lamin Beyai has encouraged project affected communities and citizens across Liberia to always use tripartite engagement in responding and seeking redress to concession issues.
“The concession may not be operating to your expectations, but your response should not be violent or conflict…. Your response should be based on a tripartite arrangement and continuous dialogue. Tripartite mechanism should be maintained,” Dr. Beyai said.
Speaking in Sinje, Grand Cape Mount County at a two-day training held recently for members of the Sustainable Partnership Initiative (SPI), the UNDP Boss said dialogue and round-table engagements among the three stakeholders- the concessionaires, the government and the people should always be the way of dealing with issues and ensuring peaceful co-existence in concession communities.
The SPI, built upon the work of Sime Darby, brings project-affected communities (PACs), relevant government entities, civil society, development partners and concessionaires to a common platform to work through specific concerns arising from concession operations as well as framing collective agendas.
Also speaking, the Director of the National Bureau of Concession (NBC) Ciatta Bishop told PACs to ensure that the operations of the concession positively impact their respective communities through dialogue and peaceful engagements.
“At the end of the day, what has affected you most impact you positively…. The government will not always be right all the time, the concessionaires will not always be right all the time and you will not also be right all the time; but your goal must be to ensure that the community is positively impacted, despite and whatever the disagreements may be” she added.
Dr. Francis Kaikai, Head of Peace Consolidation Section of UNMIL told members of the PACs to ensure peaceful co-existence with the concessionaires for the development of their respective communities and Liberia in general.
Dr. Kaikai encouraged community dwellers to always seek settlement of issues arising from concession communities through round-table discussions and peaceful dialogue with the concessionaires and the government of Liberia. He promised UNMIL’s commitment and support to the partnership.
The training was part of a series of workshops conducted in four land conflict-prone concession sites around Liberia to include Sinoe, Maryland, Grand Cape Mount and Nimba Counties ) under the Accessed Funding Project.
The Project is being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the United Nations Mission in Liberia in partnership with the National Bureau of Concession (NBC). It is part of Strengthening National Reconciliation through Improved Understanding of Conflict Drivers in Concession Areas and the Establishment of Multi-Stakeholder Platforms (MSPs).
The trainings covered topics under peace-building, conflict resolution and management, land and concession, leadership, as well as gender roles and responsibilities among others. Participants also discussed the various concession agreements for better understanding.
Over 90 beneficiaries drawn from 27 affected communities, chiefs and elders’ council, civil society, women peace huts, primarily Women in Peacebuilding Network (WIPNET) and other local peace structures in the four counties, participated in these trainings. Each affected community selected 20 participants (a total of 24 women).
During the trainings affected Communities also elected their respective leaderships comprising President, Vice President, General Secretary and Financial Secretary. The four leaderships have four women serving different positions.
The leaderships would be responsible to further engage Senior Management of concession companies on issues of major concern in order to avoid violent conflicts in concession areas.-Press release