Just few days ahead of Liberia’s 2017 General and Presidential Elections, the Executive Director of Camp for Peace Liberia, Mr. B. Abel Learwellie is calling on the United Nations to engage local stakeholders at all levels of development programs, including peace and security.
Speaking at a lunch meeting on Wednesday at the Quaker United Nations Hall in New York, Mr. Learwellie said in order for the UN to become a success story in Liberia, it is urgent and essential to engage local stakeholders and structures in all spheres; planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programs and projects. According to Mr. Learwellie, such inclusivity has a great potential to serve as vehicle for restoring and maintaining sustainable peace and development in Liberia.
Mr. Learwellie confirmed that there is a missing link between the UN and local structures and actors. He said the UN has done lots of wonderful work in Liberia, but with low participation of local actors in the various segments of implementation. He therefore stressed the urgent need for the local population to take national ownership of development projects and program, and the UN should not only consider them as beneficiaries, but rather they should also be considered as benefactors of programs and projects intended for them.
Mr. Learwellie used the occasion to share updates on the current social, economic and political situation in Liberia, especially issues bordering the 2017 elections. He consider the current political situation as critical to Liberia’s post transition period, noting that young Liberia must be engaged and conscioustized to leverage positive attitude and build the Liberia that they envision for themselves. Mr. Learwellie also used the occasion to discuss his organization’s local perspective of peacebuilding initiative that supports youth empowerment, self-sufficiency and national reconciliation in Liberia post conflict transitions. He engaged the UN officials in an open discussion on peace building in Liberia’s transition, prospects and challenges.
It is anticipated that Mr. Learwellie’s presentation will contribute towards informing UN Policy discussions and action on sustainable peacebuilding in Liberia and will provide a forum for participants to share views and information that lead to achieving sustainable peace and security in Liberia.
In a closing remark, the UN Representative to Quaker UN Office, Ms. Megan Schmidt thanked Mr. Learwellie for providing such an incredible insight from a local perspective of peacebuilding in Liberia. She concluded by also thanking her colleagues from the different UN Agencies for turning out to listen to Peacebuilding during times of transitions: A local peacebuilding perspective from Liberia.