<<

Vol. 5, No. 04 UN FOCUS June - August 2009

Clinton, DPKO Chief Visit Peacekeepers Mentor AFL Banking in the Soil Message from the Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Johnson Sirleaf, the UN Country Team development of the LNP and the areas and a cross-section of Liberian stake- that require international community’s holders to assess Liberia’s continued support, including that of the United need for international support. He com- States, to ensure that the LNP is opera- mended the outstanding progress tionally independent. UNMIL and the Government has made Nearly six years after its launch, in ensuring peace and security in Liberia’s Disarmament, Liberia and stressed the country’s need Demobilization, Reintegration and for continued support and assistance Rehabilitation (DDRR) programme was from the international community. officially closed by President Johnson Another distinguished visitor to Sirleaf in July. The programme, spear- Liberia in June was the new United headed by the Liberian Government Nations Development Programme and UNMIL and supported by multilat- (UNDP) Administrator, . eral and bilateral partners, succeeded in As an indication of the priority that disarming 103,019 former combatants. UNDP attributes to Liberia’s efforts Of the disarmed and demobilized com- towards recovery and development, batants, approximately 98,000 partici- Liberia was her first international trip pated in vocational training and formal since taking up her new assignment. In education schemes aimed at helping iberia continues to play addition to meeting President Ellen them earn a livelihood. The DDRR pro- host to important personal- Johnson Sirleaf, she held discussions gramme’s success is testimony to the ities whose visits to the with senior government officials, return of peace and stability in Liberia. country underscore the UNMIL and the UN agencies, repre- The peaceful celebration of the importance the internation- sentatives of women’s groups and country’s 162nd independence anniver- Lal community attaches to Liberia’s sus- donor institutions. She reiterated her sary was a time of hope and encourage- tained progress towards peace and agency’s strong commitment to support ment for the people of Liberia. After development. Closely following the technical and vocational capacity build- many devastating years of civil war, Security Council delegation’s recent ing to enable Liberia to achieve its Liberians now look forward to the visit, Under-Secretary-General Alain development goals. prospect of a better future. The recently Le Roy, who is in charge of all UN The US Secretary of State, Hillary released report of the TRC presents operations worldwide, Rodham Clinton, paid a visit to Liberia both opportunities and challenges to the visited Liberia in June to have first- in August during which she met with process of reconciliation based on hand knowledge of the progress we President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and peace and justice. As the Secretary- have made in consolidating the peace addressed a joint session of the legisla- General stated, it is up to the Liberians and the remaining challenges that ture. She also visited the National to decide how to move the process of require joint effort by UN, Police Training Academy, which gave reconciliation forward. I therefore urge Government of Liberia and partners. UNMIL the opportunity to highlight all Liberians to approach the issue with He held talks with President Ellen the progress that has been made in the a sense of responsibility.

Ellen Margrethe Løj Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of Operations in Liberia

2 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 IN THIS ISSUE

04 Liberia a powerful example, says 04 Clinton 06 DPKO Head Pleased With Progress 04 in Liberia 28 UNMIL Mentors New AFL 10 Getting Set for Life After UNMIL 12 UNDP Administrator Satisfied with 14 Liberia's Progress 14 Banking in the Soil 16 Interview: Alain Le Roy 18 Planting for the Planet, and Liberia 20 Unification Town Gets Magisterial 16 Court 22 Polio Resurfaces 24 TB: Rising Resistance to Drugs 26 Confronting Climate Change 4 27 Dealing with Disaster Mathew Elavanalthoduka/UNMIL 28 Nigerians: “The Face of UNMIL” 29 TRC Ends Mandate During a whistle-stop visit to Liberia in August, US Secretary of State offered unstinting support to Liberia's peace process calling the coun- 30 Liberians Speak try an example of successful transition from lawlessness to democracy, and promised additional financial support for the training of the Liberia National Police.

Chief of Public Information George Somerwill

Editor and Head of Publications Mathew Elavanalthoduka

Staff Writers Sulaiman Momodu J. Wesley Washington 6 8 Design and Graphics Paddy Defoxy Ilos, II Thomas Blidi

Visiting Liberia in June as part of a In a unique departure from tradition- Photos four-nation West African tour, DPKO al peacekeeping, UNMIL peace- Emmanuel S. Tobey head Alain Le Roy expressed satis- keepers have been mentoring mem- faction over the progress being bers of the restructured Armed made by UNMIL and the Liberian Forces of Liberia with a view to Published by the Public Information government in securing peace and enhancing their skills in rehabilitation Office, United Nations Mission in security in the country. and reconstruction work. Liberia

www.unmil.org [email protected] Printed by Buck Press Ltd., Accra,

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 3 Clin Liberia a powerful exam

espite pouring rain, hun- being trained with financial and technical ognize the investment that has been made dreds of Liberians lined up support from the United States, the UN in them but pointed out that there are along the main streets of Police and other partners as part of the greater challenges the LNP is facing as to welcome US country’s security sector reform, Clinton some elements of the Liberian police force Secretary of State Hillary thanked Special Representative of the UN had betrayed the public trust in the past. DRodham Clinton who was on a whistle- Secretary-General Ellen Margrethe Løj for She quoted President ’s stop visit to Liberia in the second week of “her outstanding work as head of the UN recent address in the Ghanaian capital August. And her key message of unstint- Mission in Liberia.” Accra that urged Africans to take control ing support for the country’s efforts to Since its deployment in 2003, the UN of their destiny and strive for the peace consolidate peace and reconciliation was Mission has been assisting to restructure and security necessary for progress. “For unequivocal and inspiring. “I am very the Liberian police force. While acknowl- too long in Liberia, the police instilled supportive of actions that will lead to the edging that training professional police fear. Today, you must fight fear. For too peace, reconciliation and unity of Liberia,” officers was one of the hardest jobs to do long, the police undermined the rule of she said, and urged the people of Liberia to in post-conflict situations, Clinton law. Today, you must uphold it,” she urged continue to speak out against corruption. described maintaining law and order as “a the LNP personnel. She lauded women Emerging from 14 years of civil con- critical element in sustaining peace and who have joined the force, stressing that flict, security issues are very close to the stability” and emphasized that Liberians, it has been found around the world that heart of Liberians. Speaking at the particularly the women and children, need women police officers are essential, along National Police Training Academy on the the LNP not only to protect them but to with their male counterparts, to provide outskirts of Monrovia, where members of heal the wounds left by years of conflict. the stability of peace and security. the new Liberia National Police (LNP) are Clinton encouraged the recruits to rec- U.S. police officers and advisors have

4 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 the challenges facing the LNP, the UN policies and is seeing strong economic envoy said: “Even the best trained police growth. It’s impressive the way that officer needs means of transportation; Liberia has decreased its which had means of communication; a police station run up during years of conflict and has had to work from; a place to live -- just to a high rate of Gross Domestic Product name a few of the logistical needs. (GDP) growth in the last few years,” she Without that they will not be able to func- noted, praising Africa’s first elected tion. Without that they will not be able to female President for her accomplishments respond to crime incidents and thus be since coming to power in 2006. “I look at able to gain the trust and confidence of the what President Sirleaf has done over the community they serve.” past three years and I see a very accom- Since the restructuring of LNP began plished leader,” she said. in 2004, over 3,700 officers have been Alluding to the 2011 Presidential elec- trained so far. Currently 14 per cent of all tion, Clinton urged lawmakers that while LNP officers are female. For the ERU, a hard fought elections are part of a democ- fourth class of 80 recruits is currently racy, opponents must close ranks when the undergoing training. election is over. She stressed that democ- Prior to visiting the police academy, racy depended on good governance, Clinton addressed the media following a adherence to the rule of law, and sound meeting with President Ellen Johnson economic policies, and announced that the Sirleaf and her cabinet, and later addressed US will be contributing US$17.5 million a joint session of the Liberian National for programmes to help Liberia ensure that Legislature.“We think Liberia is on the the 2011elections are free and fair. Earlier, right track, as difficult as that might be,” welcoming Secretary Clinton to Liberia, she told the media. She referred to Liberia President Johnson Sirleaf expressed grati- as a model of a successful transition from tude for the partnership and friendship that lawlessness to democracy, and despair to Liberia enjoys with the US. hope. “Liberia has adopted sound fiscal Liberia has very strong historical links nton with President Sirleaf and Løj at the Police Academy with America. Clinton, who was visiting Liberia for the first time, left for Cape Verde the same day on the last leg of her seven-nation African tour. ple, says Clinton SM& JW

Clinton addresses joint session of Legislature been collaborating closely with the LNP but much of the US Government’s focus has been on LNP’s Emergency Response Unit. “Our investment in the ERU, includ- ing the new headquarters that will be opening soon, is a down payment on Liberia’s future security. And I am pleased to announce today that in next year’s budget, the United States will increase its financial support for training the LNP,” she said to loud applause. Special Representative Løj said the United States has been a “crucial partner” in the efforts to shape a national police force “that serves the people of Liberia with professionalism and dignity.” She noted that the United States has con- tributed over 100 UN police advisors including a Senior Advisory Team, which has brought expertise to the LNP’s devel- opment at the strategic level. Highlighting

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 5 Le Roy enjoys traditional welcome DPKO Head Pleased With Progress in Liberia

isiting Liberia in June for the interlocutors I met have been praising so far, there are still numerous challenges. the first time, the head of the work of UNMIL. I was pleased that the He attributed the fragile security situation the United Nations work of UNMIL to sustain the peace and in the country to the limited capacity of the Department of security, to help with the rule of law, security and judicial institutions. He sin- Peacekeeping Operations strengthen the judiciary and police, all that gled out the Liberia National Police V(DPKO), Alain Le Roy, expressed satis- is very much appreciated,” Under- (LNP), the as faction for the outstanding progress being Secretary-General Le Roy said when he well as judicial institutions which have made by UNMIL and the Government in briefed journalists at the end of a three-day still not developed the capability to func- securing peace and security in this post- familiarization visit to Liberia, the first tion autonomously. He promised to contin- conflict West African nation. since he assumed office nearly a year ago. ue to work with government to provide the “I must say I’m very impressed with The Under-Secretary-General however necessary support to enhance capacity in what I’ve seen. I was very pleased that all reiterated that despite the progress made the Security and Rule of Law pillars.

6 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 Reconciliation Commission, and the situa- tion in the sub-region, in particular the uncertain political situation in some neigh- boring countries. Despite all these challenges, Le Roy noted that Secretary-General Ban has rec- ommended to the UN Security Council a reduction in the mission’s military strength by 2,029 troops but no change in the police component during the third drawdown phase, which would run from October 2009 to May 2010. This would bring UNMIL’s total military strength down to 8,202 (including the 250 for the unit in charge of the Special Court for ) by May 2010 while the police component would remain at 1,375. A reduction in excess combat equipment is expected to result in substantial savings. The report foresees no further reductions before the 2011 presidential and legisla- tive elections. He noted that the military strength envisaged is capable of dealing with any security situation that may arise. “It’s after the 2011 elections that we will assess the situation,” the head of DPKO said, reas- suring Liberians that though at some point UNMIL will have to leave, it will not be a hasty exit. A decision on the Secretary- General’s recommendations will be taken when the extension of UNMIL’s mandate comes before the Security Council in September. In a meeting with President Ellen Le Roy, who heads 18 current UN During his visit, as part of his four- Johnson Sirleaf, Le Roy applauded the peacekeeping missions around the world, nation West African tour, besides meeting cooperation between UNMIL and the said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with President Johnson Sirleaf, the Under- Government which has provided a smooth had presented to the Security Council rec- Secretary-General held discussions with opportunity to align policies for maintain- ommendations and the report of the government officials including members ing peace and stability in the country. The Technical Assessment Mission (TAM) that of the Security Pillar, political party lead- President, in response, reiterated the vital visited Liberia from 26 April to 6 May fol- ers and the International Contact Group on role that the Mission has played in stabiliz- lowing the end of the second-phase of the Liberia. He also met with the UN Country ing the country. She expressed apprecia- UNMIL’s drawdown process. Team, the UNMIL’s leadership and held a tion for the partnership, noting that the Amongst the several challenges still Town Hall meeting with UNMIL staff. country would not have made progress facing Liberia as stated in the TAM report Out in the field, Le Roy visited without the support of the United Nations. is the fragile security situation, destabiliz- Liberia’s central city, Gbarnga, and met The Liberian leader repeated the need ing factors like corruption, land disputes with Superintendent Ranney for more training of the police to enable it and high youth unemployment that are Jackson and the Joint County Security to provide security, particularly mention- exacerbated by the global economic crisis. Team. He also visited the Circuit Court, ing the Emergency Response Unit (ERU) The Technical Team also named the interacted with the UN Formed Police which, she noted, is a critical component presence of a large number of ex-combat- Unit and was briefed on the security situa- in Government’s response to acts of law- ants who have retained their old command tion by the Sector Commander. Le Roy lessness. Though President Johnson structures and are well organized; political also visited the Monrovia Central Prison Sirleaf spoke of the many challenges fac- tensions likely to increase as presidential where he toured the facility. ing the country, she assured the Under- and legislative elections in 2011 approach, Secretary-General that her Government is divisions in the national reconciliation JWW committed to reforms. process and the work of the Truth and

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 7 UNMIL Mentors New AFL

he legacy of Liberia’s 14- ers leave, at least in a modest way. efforts. year civil war is still very The 1st Battalion of AFL’s 23rd During the two weeks leading up to the much visible across the Infantry Brigade comprises of five compa- 26th July Independence Day celebration, country. Roads in disrepair, nies, including an engineering unit, acti- AFL counterparts were spread to these collapsed bridges and bro- vated a little over a year ago but still being three different work locations along with kenT infrastructure all offer a tell-tale story. developed to a company-size. As the AFL their Bangladeshi colleagues. The tutoring Unexploded ordnances (UXOs) from the is expected to be declared operational by was concentrated on road reconstruction, conflict are still being discovered, espe- December 2009, but with limited technical cially in the countryside. training, authorities of the Ministry of As Liberia still lacks basic expertise Defense and UNMIL decided to begin and equipment to handle reconstruction joint training exercises to take advantage tasks, UNMIL, through its military engi- of the peacekeepers’ expertise. neering contingents, continues to fill the With the unit of the AFL Engineering void by rehabilitating roads, constructing Company now stationed at Camp Tubman, bridges, rebuilding basic infrastructure near Gbarnga, Bong County, the and disposing of unexploded UXOs across Bangladeshi Engineering Contingent the country. (BANENGR-12) is mentoring the newly Since October 2003, various rotations trained young soldiers. of the Bangladeshi, Chinese and Pakistani The rehabilitation of the 84-kilometer engineering contingents have been assist- Gbarnga-Salala and the 31-kilometer ing the country in its much needed rehabil- Gbarnga-Belefani highways as well as the itation and reconstruction work. But as construction of the 800-meter People’s UNMIL continues its phased drawdown, Street, earlier a mere footpath, in prepara- the question is: Who will fill the gap when tion for Liberia’s 162nd Independence the peacekeepers are all gone? anniversary was a perfect opportunity for The newly trained, over 2000-strong the BANENGR-12 to begin tutoring their Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) looks set AFL counterparts in the skills necessary to to pick up the pieces when the peacekeep- enhance the country’s reconstruction

8 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 laying culverts for building bridges, and The 1st Engineering Company’s mencement of a full spectrum of the joint training in operating heavy vehicles and Executive Officer, 2nd Lt. John T. training between the AFL Engineering earth moving equipment. Marshall, emphasized that this initial Unit and the BANENGR-12 has been The BANENGR-12 Contingent “hands on approach” is really an experi- approved and is expected to run till next Commander, Lt.-Col. Abdul Hamid ence for them since their deployment in year. Saddar, is elated at what he saw of the new central Liberia. “This is a great opportuni- BANENGR-12 Commander Saddar AFL engineers. “I and my contingent take ty for our soldiers to apply what they had hopes that when the training recom- pride to familiarize and mentor a portion learned during their basic training. If we mences, the over 100 AFL engineers will of the new Liberian army. This worthwhile can learn from UNMIL we will have addi- be placed into three groups – horizontal, endeavor should be encouraged through- tional hands on knowledge on exactly vertical and sapper. The horizontal group out the AFL,” he noted, adding that they what is expected of us as an AFL will receive further training in road recon- are praiseworthy, committed, disciplined Engineering Company,” he said. struction and maintenance, building and up to the mark. Not only were the AFL and their bridges using culverts, operating heavy Bangladeshi counterparts happy about the vehicles and earth moving equipment. The new collaboration but Liberians resident in vertical group will be taught various Gbarnga were also ecstatic. Beyan aspects of building construction, masonry Johnson, a resident of reconstructed and concrete works, carpentry, plumbing People’s Street was extremely happy to and electrical installation; while the sapper see the new AFL engineers engaged in group will be trained to handle UXOs and civil works. “This seems to be a new day other aspects of combat engineering. for the AFL; how times have changed,” he UNMIL Force Commander, Lt.-Gen. said with much optimism. “I didn’t think Abu Tayeb Muhammed Zahirul Alam, on that this would have happened during my a routine visit to the Sector at the time, was life time.” pleased to see the collaboration between Though this was an initial exercise the two militaries. “They were very happy involving the AFL and a component of the to have gotten this chance and they are UNMIL military, a more sustained training learning on the job doing it,” he observed and practical engineering exercises will noting that it was a good learning exercise. commence shortly after the necessary He added that UNMIL is ready to provide modalities are concluded between rele- more support to the AFL military. “We are vant authorities of the Defense Ministry ready to give them the training support and and UNMIL. Liberia’s Assistant Minister scenario based exercises,” he told UN of Defence for Public Affairs, Ambrose FOCUS. Nmah has disclosed that the formal com- JWW Members of AFL with UN peacekeepers

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 9 Getting Set for Life After UNMIL

t’s evening rush hour in the nized technical educational institution. Liberian capital, Monrovia. This will give them an opportunity to be Electrical Technician Joseph better prepared when UNMIL leaves to Forkpah, 42, has just ended his continue the development of their own daily routine at the United Nations country,” says IMTC Acting Chief Juliana IMission in Liberia (UNMIL) headquarters Ribeiro, pointing out that depending on its and is now at the Stella Maris Polytechnic success, the pilot phase will be expanded for classes in electricity. Together with his to other trade areas. colleagues, Forkpah, who has served in the The technical courses include both the- mission for more than five years, actively oretical and practical training. Electrical participates in the lesson amid making engineer Augustine Cooper, instructor of sketches. “I am very happy for this course. Basic Electricity, a professional hired for I am feeling good,” he says, adding with a the training, says the skills of the person- smile, “The sketches here are circuit con- nel are being upgraded to level 2 and 3 figuration--these are electrical jargons.” depending on the participant’s knowledge As the UN mission gradually draws in the field. “This is our first collaboration down, the Integrated Mission Training with UNMIL. What the mission is doing is Centre (IMTC) has instituted the National very good for Liberian nationals,” com- Staff Capacity Building Initiative in a bid mends the Dean of the Stella Maris to prepare Liberian staff for future career Technical College, Julius Adighibe, during the fast approaching post-mission adding that after the course the partici- scenario. Forkpah is among 75 UNMIL pants will have what the Liberians call personnel benefiting from a 10-week “paper” to show for their trade. evening course launched in June this year “What we are learning is higher than to upgrade the level of national technical what I was taught in vocational school,” staff working as electricians, masons, car- says Forkpah, a father of four, hopeful that penters, plumbers and vehicle mechanics. the training will enhance his chances of Some of the trainees had only acquired securing a job in the future. After the train- long years of experience but no qualifica- ing, Level 2 students should be able to tion, a deficiency that can limit the assess damages, determine the size of a chances of job seekers. Some others, who generator that is required for various types had undertaken courses years ago, are not of buildings, and will be able to do costing very familiar with modern implements of and work with minimum supervision. their trades. The last time Forkpah was in At the carpentry section of the train- a classroom to learn about electricity was ing, Agnes Sieh, the only female in class about 20 years ago. was exuberant. “We have come here to “The main objective of this education- improve our skills so when UNMIL leaves al pilot programme is to upgrade the skills we would be better than before. I am glad of UNMIL National Staff, using a recog- to be learning new things,” she says, dis-

10 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 UNMIL staff at a practical eletrical training playing her skills with some carpentry During the first phase of the project the tools. “I am enjoying the carpentry course process involved a pre-determined format so much that I think we need more time,” and about 300 staff members in various says Aaron C. Kangar. Carpentry instruc- sections were awarded certificates, says tor Frederick Joe observes that some of the Anne Wangui Njoroge of IMTC. trainees have the concept of the trade but Professional Administrators Diploma lack the technical skills. “This training is was launched in January 2008 and targets very essential,” he maintains. staff working in an office environment “I love this course. It is a pleasure to be such as clerks, administrators, secretaries, here because when UNMIL leaves I will personal assistants and customer service be able to do something better for myself officers. To receive a diploma, a partici- and my country,” says masonry participant pant is required to successfully complete Jenkins K. Brown. “The trainees are very seven modules of relevant courses. It eager to learn so they make the work easi- requires about 30 hours of face-to-face er for us. For their practical, they are going training and all participants go through an to build a model house,” says building evaluation at the end of the course to construction engineer J. Kla Toomey. ensure they are competent in each of the Over the years dozens of national staff subjects. have left the country to render services in Although the ongoing technical classes other peacekeeping missions but clearly a are conducted in the evenings after a hard lot more will remain to serve in their coun- day’s work, the trainees are not complain- try. As part of the capacity building ing. “You will not be tired when you want efforts, some staff members have been to achieve something, you have to make proud recipients of certificates and diplo- the effort,” says Forkpah. mas under the IMTC National Staff Certification and Accreditation Project. SM

UNMIL staff at the training

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 11 UNDP Administrator Satisfied with Liberia’s Progress

Clark with President Sirleaf and Løj

hough it was only a 48-hour The UNDP head, making her first visit The UNDP Administrator reiterated whirlwind visit to Liberia outside headquarters nearly eight weeks her agency’s continued commitment to for Helen Clark, the United since her new appointment, said she made more technical and vocational capacity Nations Development Liberia her first stop because she wanted building which will support Liberia to Programme (UNDP) to see the country make progress in very achieve its development goals. She noted AdministratorT said she was satisfied with important areas, especially the Millennium that though Liberia, like other developing the progress being made in the country and Development Goals (MDGs), which is a countries, has been severely affected by was leaving with an impression that her huge challenge for a country coming out the global financial crisis, the UN will agency is supporting the Liberian govern- of conflict and caught up in the global concentrate its support in assessing the ment and its people to make a difference. financial crisis. human impact of the global recession in Making her trip just two weeks after “I go away highly motivated to contin- order to galvanize requisite resources. the visit of the 15-member UN Security ue to support our team here and to support She further noted that the UN will also Council delegation, Clark noted that Liberia make that difference and that tran- advise on relevant policies that aim to spur although progress is slow because of sition. Though I’ve been here for a short the country’s development agenda stress- where Liberia has been in its recent past, time, I go away encouraged knowing that ing as priority areas youth development, there is no comparison between where it it’s a long road and knowing that with the decentralization, improvements in mater- has been and where it is now. She said MDGs we are making some progress, but nal health and investment in agriculture Liberia has made tremendous progress at they are tough goals for Liberia,” Clark which could serve as source of economic the national level, but it must now be said at a brief press stakeout following growth and development. A former Prime transformed into concrete outcomes at the talks with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Minister of New Zealand, Clark pointed local and community levels. at her Foreign Ministry office. out that her country developed on the back

12 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 UNDP Administrator speaks during a town hall meeting in Kakata, Margibi County of agriculture, primarily animal hus- youthful population with the skills needed gramme as a mechanism for grass-root bandry. to absorb them in gainful endeavors as the support for the promotion of peace and Clark named Liberia as one of the first economy improves. “We are very pleased reconciliation. She called for collective ten countries that have developed detailed that they are working with our government support for the national strategy, reiterat- scenarios on scaling up Official to be able to develop a capacity develop- ing that the development of the country Development Assistance which the ment strategy that will help us determine will have to involve the participation of all Gleneagles G8 summit of 2005 advanced, what our capacity needs are and how we well meaning Liberians. expressing hope that the G8 would hold up can develop them,” she said. The VPP, implemented through the to those commitments, especially for While in the country, besides meeting Ministry of Youth & Sports and funded by countries that have demonstrated ways in with the Liberian leader, Clark held dis- the UNDP and the Peace Building Fund, is which they can improve their economies. cussions with the UNMIL leadership, sen- aimed at providing opportunity to the “We will act as an advocate looking ior government officials, the UN County youth through voluntary service, to con- specifically around the plight of low Team, representatives of women groups tribute to peace building and social inte- income countries in the middle of the and donor institutions. gration in the communities in all 15 coun- recession,” the UNDP Administrator reit- Earlier on a field visit to Kakata, ties. erated. Margibi County, the UNDP Administrator Youth & Sports Minister Etmonia President Johnson Sirleaf, speaking participated in a well attended town hall Tarpeh lauded the UNDP for its support in during the stakeout, emphasized capacity meeting and later launched the Volunteers strengthening the educational sector and building and development as priority areas for Peace Programme (VPP). She urged developing the skills of Liberian youth. of her government, but stressed the need the youth volunteers referred to as “Youth She noted that government’s partnership for the UNDP to do more in the area of Peace Ambassadors” to stand up for peace with UNDP has led to the graduation of vocational training so as to prepare the and reconciliation. She described the pro- over 190 youth in rendering volunteer services to the country. Government officials listen attentively Internal Affairs Minister Ambulai Johnson earlier thanked the UNDP for its support to government so far, highlighting the key areas. “You have supported us in the implementation of our mandate that has the responsibility for the transforma- tion of the rural communities - transforma- tion in the context of providing services; ensuring good governance; providing some basic infrastructure such as services which serve the interest of the majority of our people,” he noted, adding, “You have collaborated with us in those areas that are close to the deliverables of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.” JWW

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 13 Banking in the Soil

iberians braved the cold ambassador and one of the organizers of try will become heavily reliant on food weather with clouds threat- the campaign. “We want people to know importation if the younger generation is ening a heavy downpour and that agriculture is a business and you can not encouraged to take up farming. Hence, converged in the open air on invest in the soil.” schools are encouraged to practise agricul- Ashmum Street in downtown The three-month-long awareness cam- LMonrovia in June for a ‘Back to the Soil’ paign was launched simultaneously campaign. Loud speakers blasted mes- throughout the 15 counties of Liberia and sages urging people to invest in the soil. included a parade with placards and ban- The message was: The soil is a bank – ners reminding all to return to the soil. invest in it. Distribution of posters, flyers, T-shirts, Nearly one year ago, against the back- radio talk shows, door to door visit also drop of global rise in food prices, thou- form part of the activities. sands of Liberians converged at the Many Liberians rely on the country’s Samuel Kanyan Doe Sports Complex in staple food, rice. Such is the importance of Monrovia for the launch of the ‘Back to rice that without a daily intake of it, many the Soil’ campaign by President Ellen would easily deny having eaten for the Johnson Sirleaf with the theme day. However, with ‘eliminating extreme “Eliminating hunger.” So what is different poverty and hunger’ one of the eight this time? “What was launched last year Millennium Development Goals, the was the concept but this is the awareness, Liberian President encourages the grow- sensitization and outreach component to ing and eating of other food such as pota- reach out to the various communities,” toes, plantain and vegetables. explains Julie Andee, Liberia’s cultural There are genuine fears that the coun-

14 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 Liberians working with UN peacekeepers in Bong County

tural activities as was done in most institu- plying them quality planting materials and some of which he harvested and sold to the tions during the country’s pre-war years. providing technical assistance. In Ganta, Ministry of Agriculture and used some of Idling young people are urged not to see , Bangladeshi peacekeepers the proceeds to buy modern agricultural agriculture as a punishment but a means of are currently assisting farmers to cultivate implements. “My people it is good to being independent. “Agriculture can put 15 acres of land while similar support is practise agriculture,” said the chief but food on your table and money in your given in other parts of the country. wondered why the cost of locally pro- pockets,” says Acting Agriculture Minister Peacekeepers stress that food security duced rice should be far lower than the Borkai A.M Sirleaf. enhances the sustenance of peace. imported. “We want the price of the local- Since deployment in 2003, UNMIL At the launch attended by government ly produced rice to be at least equal to that peacekeepers have been supporting com- officials including ministers and legisla- of the imported one,” he appealed. munities in the production of food by sup- tors, UNMIL and UN agency officials, and Recently, Kelvin Sebwe, Liberian representatives of various organizations, football international and the country’s UN peacekeepers demonstrating agricultural practices Andrea Tamagnini of UNMIL assured that highest goal scoring midfielder retired the UN mission and UN agencies will con- from the game and returned home. As he tinue to support the government’s initia- received symbolic farming tools from tive. UNMIL, Chico, Crusaders for Peace, Chief Kawah, the 37-year-old told his Cellcom, , and the compatriots: “I am not leaving Liberia Food and Agricultural Organization are because I have retired from football. I am supporting the campaign. coming back to join the rest of you to Last year, the Chairman of the return to the soil to develop and make this Traditional Chief Council of Liberia, country a wonderful place.” As if nature Zanzan Kawah, urged lawmakers and was fully supportive of the campaign, as other government officials to take the lead the launch ended, the clouds opened and in the ‘Back to the Soil’ campaign. He there was a heavy shower. In July, argued that since legislators go on agricul- President Johnson Sirleaf toured two ture break for six months, they should go farms in rural as the to their constituencies and till the soil. This campaign to encourage Liberians go back year, the chief told Liberians about his to the soil continues. own response to the campaign. He has SM already cultivated some 50 acres of rice,

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 15 IN CONVERSATION: ALAIN LE ROY “Liberia deserves additional support and assistance…”

On a four-dday assessment visit to Liberia in June, Under-SSecretary-GGeneral for Peacekeeping Alain Le Roy, who is in charge of all UN peacekeeping operations worldwide, held consultations with President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the UN Country Team, UNMIL lead- ership, peacekeepers and various stakeholders. In an exclusive interview with Editor Mathew Elavanalthoduka, he discusses the UN’s role in Liberia, the progress achieved by the country and the remaining challenges, and reiterates the war-rravaged nation’s contin- ued need for support from the international community.

Would you briefly explain the purpose make sure that Liberia is not forgotten, and of your visit to Liberia at this time? Currently there are several hotspots that’s why the UN is here in good numbers I started as Under-Secretary-General around the world which may need a lot with a whole range of support activities for for Peacekeeping Operations at the end of of attention from the international com- the Government and its people. The inter- August last year. It’s important for me to munity. Do you think Liberia stands to national community may have other visit our various missions. UNMIL is a risk less attention from the internation- hotspots to deal with, but Liberia will not very important and large mission. This is al community because of other major be forgotten. a familiarization visit to see the excellent pressing problems? work that has been achieved by UNMIL It is true that there are many hotspots The next presidential election -- often and the UN Country Team. I also wanted such as Darfur in Sudan, DR Congo, referred to as the “second transition” -- to better understand the tremendous chal- Somalia, and Afghanistan that attract is about two years from now. Do you lenges Liberia faces to be a stronger advo- international attention. It is our task to think that the UN should have a strong cate for UNMIL and Liberia back in New York with the UN Security Council mem- bers and the UN General Assembly.

From what you have seen so far do you feel that Liberia is on the right track to achieving sustainable peace? Liberia is definitely on the right track, but it still needs a lot of attention and assistance from the international commu- nity. Everyone knows how Liberia was shattered by 14 years of civil war. So many people were killed or displaced, and many were left traumatized by this terrible war. At the same time, clear progress is being made through the strong leadership and vision of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. I’ve seen many people both in the counties and in the ministries who are dedicated to making progress. And, of course, UNMIL is here to assist.

16 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 presence in Liberia until after the next extensive consultations with all stakehold- impact when it comes to contributions presidential elections? ers, including the Government, UN from member countries for peacekeep- Yes. I visited parts of the country and Country Team, and UNMIL leadership, ing operations? Is it going to impact many authorities told me that the situation, among others. These experts reviewed peacekeeping as such? though improving, is still very fragile. So UNMIL’s current levels and deployments Yes, financially. Reaching agreement it’s very important to have a strong to propose a feasible reduction that would on the budget of the worldwide peace- UNMIL presence until after the 2011 elec- not affect UNMIL’s capacities on the keeping operations is sometimes difficult, tions. At the same time, since some ground to fulfill its mandate. and the global financial crisis is a compli- progress has been achieved in the security cating factor today. This year the Fifth sector, the Secretary-General is proposing A vast majority of the UN peacekeepers Committee asked for an extremely signifi- to the Security Council a reduction of worldwide come from developing coun- cant reduction of costs in all of our mis- 2,029 troops by the end of May 2010 start- tries. There are very few peacekeepers sions. That’s one direct impact of the glob- ing from this October. The Security on the ground from developed coun- al financial crisis. Council will meet in September – when tries. Do you think that its time for Another impact due to the financial UNMIL’s mandate is up for renewal -- to developed countries, countries of the crisis is that social and/or political unrest decide on the overall figure. If the propos- West, to contribute more of their sol- in some countries might escalate, increas- al is accepted, it would bring the troop diers to UN peacekeeping operations? ing the demand for peacekeeping, while at level to 7,952 while maintaining the cur- Yes, I do. However, I want to praise the same time we might be faced with a rent level of international police at 1,421 the work done by the troop contributing similar reduction in our peacekeeping with the same level of logistical support. countries that we have in our African mis- budget. Our task will be even tougher in We will also advise the Security sions, especially here in Liberia. I visited the months and years ahead. Council not to drawdown any more troops some of these troops, who have come from until after the elections in 2011. Of course elsewhere in Africa, South-East Asia and If you had a message for the people of we must think of the exit strategy for post- other countries. The troops here are very Liberia, what would it be? 2011 with Liberian ownership of most of professional. I support more geographical First, Liberia is on the right track and the sectors we are involved in today. balance of troops in peacekeeping. While has made tremendous progress so far. developed countries are the main financial Achieving peace has been a collective So in your view, 7,952 soldiers and over donors to peacekeeping, I agree that it’s effort by many people in Liberia. I com- 1,400 UN policemen will be sufficient to important for them to also deploy more mend very much the great leadership of provide security until after the elections peacekeepers on the ground. I’m exploring your President. She has a vision and is in Liberia? various ways in New York to realize this well respected worldwide. Liberians That was the conclusion of the goal in the coming months and years. should continue their tremendous efforts Technical Assessment Mission (TAM) towards progress in so many spheres. For which visited Liberia in late April and DPKO has about 115,000 peacekeepers example, a new army is being trained and early May. The assessment mission held on the ground today. Do you feel that equipped from scratch. Yet there is much the UN has reached the limit of its more work still to be done with the police, capacity vis-à-vis peacekeeping opera- judiciary, corrections, human rights, basic tions? services and infrastructure. I’m very We only had 20,000 peacekeepers encouraged by the many people I’ve met eight years ago, and now we have 115,000 during my brief visit who are fully dedi- worldwide. Yes, we are close to to limit of cated to improving conditions and achiev- what we can do. That’s why we are now ing progress throughout Liberia. developing a new concept -- a “New Returning to headquarters in NY, I will Horizon” for peacekeeping. We want to now be a better advocate for Liberia discuss it with member-states to see how because the country and its people really we can cope with this huge scope, global deserve it. I’ve met so many committed demands and increased complexity of people: from the President to government operations, such as UNMIL’s, which often officials and others in the country. Liberia have very broad and complex mandates. deserves the international community’s So, can we effectively manage 18 complex additional support and assistance to sus- operations with 115,000 peacekeepers? tain the real progress that has been made. Hopefully, we will not exceed our capaci- ties. Thank you

Do you think that the ongoing global economic crisis will have some kind of

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 17 Planting for the Planet, and Liberia

ith Special Representative Ellen Margrethe Løj, gently lowering a tender tree seedling into the soil ofW the parcel of land at the annex of UNMIL headquarters premises in Monrovia, the UN Mission joined the Billion Tree Campaign by UN Environment Programme (UNEP). “We need more trees all over the globe includ- ing Liberia if we are going to fight climate change,” she said, launching the tree plant- ing initiative. Liberian landscape is awash with a wide variety of trees. However, with forest trees being increasingly cut down for char- coal, timber and other purposes without proper replacement, and as climate change becomes a global concern, Løj says the effect of climate change is already felt in Liberia, evident by changing weather pat- terns. Planting trees helps to reduce the impact of climate change by offsetting car- bon dioxide emissions. Planting trees also helps conserve soil and water and enhance water quality, wildlife habitat, ecosystems as well as scenic values. Under the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, UNEP has set a new goal of planting seven billion trees by the end of 2009 equalling the world population which means every person should plant a tree. The campaign strongly encourages the planting of indigenous trees, and trees that are appropriate to the local environ- ment. UNMIL’s participation in tree planting exercise follows a call on all peacekeeping missions to support UNEP’s campaign. Reiterating that one of the main political Løj launches tree planting campaign priorities of the UN Secretary-General for

18 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 2009 is climate change, Special storms and disaster in communities. In areas to plant. Representative Løj encouraged peace- Kakata, Margibi County capital, peace- Ongoing tree planting awareness cam- keepers to voluntarily plant trees at their keepers – military, civilian and police – in paign encourages the planting of forest or place of work, residence and in communi- July planted more than 500 trees with the hard wood trees. Environmental Affairs ties. Senior members of UNMIL manage- involvement of county authorities. In Lofa Officer James E. Coleman observes that ment, including Deputy Special County, peacekeepers have requested there is serious devastation of Liberia’s Representative for Rule of Law Henrietta 10,000 tree seedlings to plant. UN forests because most urban residents rely Mensa-Bonsu took turns to plant more Volunteers serving in the mission are also on charcoal for energy. “Planting trees will seedlings. UNMIL peacekeepers are busy actively involved in the initiative. help restore the changing local weather,” planting trees throughout the country and UNMIL Administration is supportive he says, adding that currently Termenalia already the mission’s Environment Unit is indica and Acacia mangium are two trees overwhelmed. The Unit’s chief, Charles being planted but the mission is working Rwandekeye, says the mission’s initial tar- By actively participating in with the FDA to identify local tree species. get to plant 1,500 trees has been raised to the tree planting exercise, By actively participating in the tree 5,500 which will be also exceeded as col- planting exercise, UNMIL goes beyond its leagues, including from UN agencies have UNMIL goes beyond its core core peacekeeping and peace-building enthusiastically embraced the campaign. peacekeeping and peace- activities and highlights the need to care In pouring rain in capital building activities and high- for environmental issues. But with hun- Tubmanburg, Nigerian peacekeepers and dreds of trees being planted, how will they other UNMIL personnel were joined by lights the need to care for be maintained? The mission’s local dignitaries, women and youth groups environmental issues. Environment chief admits it is one of their during which several dozens of trees were challenges but points out that they are planted. "If Bomi County is to be protect- involving the local communities since the ed from global climate change, every citi- of the campaign and has provided 500 tree UN mission will one day leave the coun- zen of the county must plant a tree," said seedlings to the effort. The mission’s try. Also, although the UNEP’s campaign Commanding Officer Col. S. K. Abubakar. Environment Unit, however, says the ends in December and the mission would Lauding UN peacekeepers, demand for the seedlings is so high that have exceeded expectations, Rwandekeye Superintendent Mohammed Massaley said the Forestry Development Authority says peacekeepers will continue planting for the past 20 years the county had not (FDA), the Liberian government agency trees for a long time to come. “The more planted trees to replace the damaged ones responsible for forestry, is being sought to trees we have, the better.” which had consequently caused violent raise seedlings in nurseries and to identify SM

Mensa-Bonsu and other senior colleagues join

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 19 Unification Town Gets Magisterial Court

ver the last few years, the Sundemah, told UN FOCUS. ponent in the peace-building process, the Roberts International Recently the Magisterial Court became establishment of the rule of law and the Airport-Unification Town one of the beneficiaries of UNMIL’s future for sound development of Liberia. Magisterial Court has had Quick Impact Projects (QIP) that are She noted that progress is being made both a difficult time executing assisting in the country’s reconstruction within the Judiciary and at the Justice itsO core responsibility of trying cases. The and rehabilitation process to strengthen Ministry in addressing the weaknesses in court was often “on the move” - from one peace. UNMIL continues to fund and hand the system. “This is why the UN remains dilapidated building to another. First, the over projects to communities across the committed to assisting the Government in court worked in an old decrepit store until country aimed at improving the lives of the construction of magisterial courts and the proprietor needed his building for local residents in these areas. QIPs have other rule of law infrastructure,” she said. repairs. The next move was to the garage shifted its humanitarian focus in line with The Unification Town Magisterial of another old house with a leaking roof in its overall mission plan and broader strate- Court, constructed with funds made avail- another inconspicuous area of Unification gies for community outreach. able through QIPs and additional Town, which is popularly known as Turning over the Magisterial Court, resources from UNDP, includes one court- “Smell-no-Taste”. costing nearly US$40,000, the Deputy room, a judge’s chamber, two bathrooms “This was an open leaking place with Special Representative of the Secretary- and four offices. Another court expected to no chambers and no privacy. This was no General (DSRSG) for the Rule of Law, be dedicated soon is the Eighth Judicial way for the judiciary to function,” the Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, indicated that a Circuit Court in Sanniquellie, Nimba Court’s Stipendiary Magistrate, Francis strong justice system is an essential com- County.

20 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 ty and should be treated with dignity and respect. “The building and its equipment should never be attacked or destroyed as a protest against some perceived injustice or inefficiency in the delivery of justice; rather it should be protected from vandal- ism and other acts of wanton destruction, so that it may remain for a long time to serve the needs of the community,” she appealed. The proxy for the Justice Minister, Margibi County Attorney Frank Oberly, thanked UNMIL for the building which promotes the Governance and Rule of Law pillar of the Government’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. “This is a clear mani- festation of our international partners’ efforts to see that the Rule of Law prevails in Liberia that they have provided us such an edifice.” He urged those charged with dispensing justice to do so without fear or favour but within the confines of the law. From 2004 UNMIL has been carrying out QIPs across the country to help improve the lives of thousands of Liberians who were returning to their home areas where basic services had been either destroyed or non-existent. For the fiscal year 2008-2009, UNMIL allocated US$ 1 million to its Reintegration, Rehabilitation and Recovery (RRR) Programme where the major priority area Mensa-Bonsu inaugurates the court is now the Rule of Law. Of the 40 approved projects at various Mensa-Bonsu stressed the importance she said, adding that the justice system stages of construction, 19 are Bureau of of integrity among judicial personnel. “It will only be as good as the individuals Immigration & Naturalization (BIN) is incumbent upon all of you – members of who are part of it. county headquarters and border posts; 17 the judiciary, court officials, the police, the The deputy UN envoy urged the com- are police stations and depots; while two are prisons totaling 95.47 percent of the total funds allocated. The others are a fire From 2004 UNMIL has been carrying out QIPs across the station and the construction of a fence at country to help improve the lives of thousands of Liberians the School for the Blind. As specialized UN agencies, other non-governmental who were returning to their home areas where basic servic- agencies and government institutions are es had been either destroyed or non-eexistent. For the fiscal also undertaking various projects, QIPs year 2008-22009, UNMIL allocated US$ 1 million to its are first approved by the local authorities to ensure that efforts are not duplicated by Reintegration, Rehabilitation and Recovery (RRR) other institutions. Programme where the major priority area is now the Rule of Are QIPs making an impact? Law. Stipendiary Magistrate Francis Sundemah has no doubts about it. “Building up our infrastructure all across the country is an prosecution and defence lawyers – both munity to play its part in supporting the immense contribution to Liberia’s overall public and private, to play your part by work and activities of the court, noting development. Yes, UNMIL QIPs are mak- performing and upholding your responsi- that the court should be seen as the embod- ing an enormous impact.” bilities with transparency and integrity,” iment of the rule of law in their communi- JWW

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 21 A polio victim Polio Resurfaces

he World Health Organisation Liberians to join the fight and ensure that (WHO) in October 2008 all children are fully immunized against declared Liberia the disease. Poliomyelitis (Polio)-free Polio is a highly infectious disease after an outstanding success caused by a virus. It invades the nervous Tto eradicate the disease under the “Kick system and can cause total paralysis in a Polio out of Liberia” campaign. Less than matter of hours and can be fatal. The crip- a year later, however, that success seems pling disease mainly affects children under to be at risk after some Liberian children five years of age and there is no cure. were recently suspected of the disease However, it can be prevented. Just four which has alarmed health professionals. doses of the oral polio vaccine can protect Dr. Zakari Wambai of the WHO says a child for life. Some neglected victims of Liberia has not reported any case of the the disease could be seen crawling or in Wild Polio Virus since 1999 until this year. wheelchairs along roadsides in various Thomas Nagbe, the Director of the parts of Liberia begging for a living. Expanded Programme on Immunization at Ravaged by civil strife until a few the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare years ago, Liberia’s Polio Eradication (MOH&SW), says eight cases of the Wild Initiative activities started in 1999 but the Polio virus have been confirmed recently campaign fell victim to the second wave of in five out of the country’s 15 counties. civil unrest in the country from 1999 to Specimens from suspected polio cases 2003. With the deployment of UN peace- were sent to , Côte d'Ivoire, for keepers and the restoration of peace, rapid laboratory investigations. “We have put a progress was achieved through routine and lot of effort into this process over the past National Immunization Days (NIDS), years,” says Nagbe, calling on all many of which were synchronized with

22 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 other West African countries and in some in terms of personnel and funding for cases the Central Africa sub-region. The training, payment of vaccinators and logis- last four rounds of polio vaccination were tics. Vaccines and other supplies are conducted in 2005. sourced through UNICEF. The Liberian As a result of the importation of the government has a surveillance structure Wild Polio Virus in previously polio-free which look out for children presenting West African states since last year with paralysis and other priority diseases. The confirmed cases close to Liberia's borders WHO supports the structure with motor- in Côte d’Ivoire and , immuniza- bikes, fuel, spare parts and incentives. tion campaigns were planned even before Since the Wild Polio Virus 1 is the the suspected cases in Liberia were dis- variety that is being transmitted in the covered. Intensification of surveillance, affected neighbouring countries, the increased outreach immunization activi- monovalent vaccine which produces a ties and a synchronized nationwide cam- much stronger response is being used in paign in May and June focusing on pre- the campaign than the trivalent used dur- venting importation of the disease are ing routine immunization. The campaign some of the actions so far taken targeting involves the administration of the vaccine 650,000 children while another campaign to all children zero to 59 months irrespec- took place in August. “If your neighbour’s tive of previous immunization status; vita- house is on fire, don’t say it will never get min A supplements to all children six to 59 to me, ” says Nagbe, adding that the part- months; de-worming with mebendazole ners of the ministry have been very sup- for all children 12 to 59 months and the portive including WHO, the UN distribution of mosquito nets in Grand Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Bassa, Nimba and Lofa counties which Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and had earlier been planned as a stand-alone non-governmental organizations. exercise. UNMIL has been supporting the Most of the fund for operations is campaign by airlifting and transporting being provided through the WHO, which vaccines and other logistics while enthusi- has mobilized additional technical support astic health workers trek several miles in Vaccination in progress jungles and sometimes in heavy rain and Deputy Minister for Administration - Ministry of Health Vivian Cherue addresses the media contend with flooded rivers to reach the children. As efforts continue to keep the polio virus at bay with Montserrado, Bomi and Grand Gedeh recording one confirmed case each, two cases in Maryland and three cases in River Gee county, medical profes- sionals say laboratory investigations have proved that the cases were imported from Côte d'Ivoire as they have classical identi- ty. Heavy rains and lack of rain gears and inaccessibility of some areas are among the challenges health workers face as they contend with the re-emergence of polio. Health experts agree that no country can be truly polio-free until all countries are. Simple personal hygiene and proper dis- posal of human waste will drastically reduce the risk of acquiring polio and other diseases. For now though, Liberia’s cases serve as a wake up call. “Polio is actually back in Liberia and we have to be more vigilant and reinforce surveillance,” says Nagbe. SM

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 23 TB : Rising Resistance

uberculosis is one of the major public health prob- lems in Liberia and the air- borne infection is killing dozens of Liberians. In 2008,T more than 5,000 new TB cases were detected compared to the previous year of more than 4,500 cases. But as the country battles with tuberculosis, drug resistance to the standard treatment of the disease has reared its ugly head. “We have a lot of patients who have

Tuberculosis treatment requires a combination of drugs over a six to eight month period. Drug resistant TB develops due to a lapse or inadequate treatment. The cases in Liberia were discovered last November after sputum samples from four tuberculosis patients were sent to the Massachusetts State Laboratory in USA when they were not responding to treatment. Organization, the programme manager not responding to treatment. Out of the been diagnosed as having TB,” says the reiterates that this could be the tip of the four samples, Dr. Cooper says two were Programme Manager of the National iceberg. “We have many TB cases in Bong confirmed to have developed drug resist- Leprosy and TB Control Programme, Dr. County some of whom are co-infection ance, one of whom soon succumbed to the Catherine Cooper, pointing out that they with HIV/AIDS,” says Dr. Garfee disease. However, the remaining case - a are in the process of doing a survey to Williams, medical director of the Phebe male - in his twenties, and for whom the determine the actual burden of the disease Hospital in Gbarnga. TB programme in collaboration with the in the country. Tuberculosis treatment requires a com- WHO has made a request to the Green Although many people are seeking bination of drugs over a six to eight month Light Committee for drugs, seems to be free TB treatment as a result of the revital- period. Drug resistant TB develops due to “one case too many” for medical person- ization of the programme and improved a lapse or inadequate treatment. The cases nel at the TB annex in Monrovia. People services in all the country’s 15 counties in Liberia were discovered last November with drug resistant TB should wear nose with support from Global Fund to fight after sputum samples from four tuberculo- masks and interaction with them should be HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria sis patients were sent to the Massachusetts strictly restricted. Also, medical personnel (GFATM) and the World Health State Laboratory in USA when they were who deal with them should do so with

24 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 highly restricted, expensive and toxic. In some countries, some patients have devel- oped resistance to the TB resistant drugs making the disease extremely difficult to to Drugs cure and an obstacle to effective global TB control efforts Among other parameters, the TB pro- gramme is evaluated on the number of cases that are treated including whether the patients completed the treatment or not. The WHO requests TB programmes to attain treatment success of 80 per cent. Liberia’s programme treatment success is about 66 per cent. “We still have a lot of work to do but we are working towards that goal,” says Dr. Cooper. The incidence of HIV is also posing a challenge to the war against TB as it is one

The incidence of HIV is also posing a challenge to the war against TB as it is one of the most common oppor- tunistic infections. Over the past one year - from last June to June this year - near- ly 1,000 TB patients were co-iinfected with HIV.

of the most common opportunistic infec- tions. Over the past one year - from last June to June this year - nearly 1,000 TB patients were co-infected with HIV. The 2007 Demographic Health Survey esti- mates the HIV prevalence in Liberia at Marching against TB about 1.5 per cent. It is anticipated that a TB culture and great caution and should wear nose masks will treat with another course and if the drug sensitivity testing laboratory will be as well. For the remaining drug resistant patient still remains positive we still sus- functional in the country by the end of case, though, he does not reportedly coop- pect drug resistant TB until we can do the 2009. Health professionals stress that the erate with the medical personnel and confirmation. There are cases all around disease has a cure, treatment is free and freely mingles with people. “Even though that we suspect,” she says. that communities should encourage TB we have explained the implications to him, Dr. Peter Clement of the WHO says patients to seek treatment. With Liberia he is not cooperating. He has been a big the emergence of drug-resistant TB is the now benefitting from the Global Fund and challenge for the programme, but with likely result of the 14 years of civil unrest technically supported by the WHO, the TB him, we are learning,” says Dr. Cooper, between 1989 and 2003 that devastated the programme is now available in all the 15 admitting that there could be more drug country’s health system; and the gap in counties in about 251 health facilities. resistant cases in the country. “How do we funding, management, and supplies However, with fears of more TB drug know this? We had people on the first line between Rounds of GFATM in 2006 and resistant cases in the country, it is clear treatment and if at the end of the treatment 2007. that the battle against the airborne disease they are still positive, we suspect that the Generally, the treatment of TB is very still goes on. patient may have drug resistant TB and we tedious and drug resistant TB drugs are SM

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 25 Confronting Climate Change o own a house that over- climate is a reality in Liberia. “Farmers are forests can be used for reducing the green- looks the ocean may be the actually confused because their traditional house gas emissions that cause global dream of many but for thou- farming cycle has changed and it’s affect- warming. The Dialogue was the first time sands of Liberians living ing food security,” he says, adding that policy makers in Liberia came together to along the coastal lines it is they have received reports of uncultivated discuss climate change and create aware- moreT a nightmare these days as the farms in some parts of the country because ness. Facilitators were from New York and Atlantic Ocean, which was once far away, “the time farmers were expecting sun- UNDP offices in Africa. The UNDP now comes crashing near their houses. shine, it was raining and when they Country Director in Liberia, Dominic In Buchanan, Liberia’s second largest expected rains, they got days of sunshine.” Sam, reiterated that climate change is one city, some coastal residents are spending In late June this year, climate change of the major priorities of the UN today. sleepless nights terrified that the ocean was the subject of discussion at a national The participants agreed that agricul- might just swallow up their houses while Inter-Ministerial Dialogue held in the ture, energy and forestry are key sectors asleep. “Years ago we used to play far over Liberian capital, Monrovia. The Dialogue being affected by climate change. There there,” a resident points to a distance well was the initiative of the UNDP Bureau of was consensus on the need to undertake an into the ocean. “But today the ocean has Development Policy in New York. In assessment of the magnitude of invest- taken all over that space, we don’t know December this year, Liberia will be partic- ments required to tackle climate change what is happening.” Coastal residents of ipating in a global climate change confer- now and in the long-term. Monrovia, Robertsport and Cestos City ence in the Danish capital of Copenhagen. Agriculture is a key sector for Liberia, also have similar tales to tell. The Dialogue in Monrovia was organ- estimated to employ over 70 per cent of Although many people have heard of ized to prepare Liberian delegates to the the entire labour force and contribute “climate change” only few know what its conference where the Kyoto Protocol, around 20 per cent of the Gross Domestic real impact could be on one’s life and which expires this coming December, will Product (GDP). Timber exports also con- environment. Experts say the global con- be discussed. Kyoto Protocol is an interna- tribute around 20-22 per cent of GDP. sequences of climate change can be dras- tional agreement setting targets for indus- Currently 95 per cent of Liberia’s energy tic: collapse of ecosystems, hunger, water trialized countries to cut their greenhouse comes from biomass (firewood, charcoal, shortages, mass migrations, floods, gas emissions. Liberia will need to present and palm oil). Alternative energy produc- increase in sea levels, desertification, its case well at the conference to stand a tion will require significant investments. increase in tropical diseases and major chance of getting the needed resources to “All three sectors share linkages that need economic losses. tackle climate change. to be considered more holistically,” stress- “Liberia cannot escape the impact of For three days, about 100 participants es Massah. climate change,” says Ben Karmoh of the including ministers, legislators, superin- As more preparatory meetings contin- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tendents, representatives from ministries, ue ahead of Copenhagen with the EPA who is also the National Focal Point for the private sector, non-governmental working in close collaboration with UNDP Climate Change. Moses Massah, organizations and UN agencies focused and the United Nations Environment Environment expert at the United Nations their discussion on the impact of climate Programme, a climate change office is also Development Programme (UNDP) in change on the key sector of agriculture, being established in the President’s office. Monrovia, says the effects of change in efficient energy use, and ways in which For their part, UN peacekeepers in Liberia Participants at the Dialogue have been planting trees in response to cli- mate change [see story on tree planting, page 18]. UNMIL has also been helping to create public awareness on climate change and environmental issues. “If Liberia is to be resilient to climate change, it means we must equip our insti- tutions and at the same time be able to develop the human resource capacity and create more awareness,” says Karmoh. Climate change is not an environmental issue alone, he adds. “It is a developmen- tal issue and a major threat to national development.” SM

26 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 Dealing with Disaster ore than 500 people, many of them women and children, were trapped in their houses recently as the Goonie RiverM and Zwe in Grand Gedeh County burst their banks due to heavy downpour. Most of them were asleep at the time as the rains grew heavier past midnight. But the timely rescue intervention by Ethiopian and Chinese UN peacekeepers prevented a potential tragedy. The peace- keepers braved the rain and flood in the early hours of the morning, rescued the trapped residents and their belongings, and transported them to the Zwedru Youth Center, the county’s capital where they also assisted them with food and water. Fleeing the flood Over the years, Liberia has been expe- How can Liberia reduce the risk of dis- necessary legislation as a demonstration of riencing one form of disaster or the other asters? This was the focus of a three-day Liberia’s adherence to international proto- such as coastal erosion, flash floods and workshop held in the Liberian capital cols. Senator Adolphus Dolo, who chairs excessive storms. In July, President Ellen Monrovia in late July. The workshop the Senate Standing Committee on Johnson Sirleaf visited flood affected reviewed findings from a nationwide one- Internal Affairs, informed participants that areas in Virginia, on the outskirts of month-long capacity needs assessment for work is in progress for the establishment Monrovia, to assess the needs of the flood disaster risk reduction in Liberia. More of a National Disaster Relief Commission. victims in the area. She toured the once than 100 participants including County Internal Affairs Minister Ambulai booming CeCe Beach Amusement Center Gender representatives, representatives Johnson frowned on people building struc- to get a first hand impression of the facili- from the Liberian National Red Cross tures in swamps in Monrovia and other ty which was partly destroyed by flooding. Society, Ministry of Justice, members of parts of the country leading to the obstruc- She also visited flood victims on Bomi the Liberian Senate, the Liberia Institute tion of water flow. He called on Liberians Highway in Brewerville. Last year, intense for Statistics and Geo Information to adopt mitigating measures to minimize and heavy rainfall in Monrovia and its Services, Environmental Protection the economic impact of disaster. He noted environs left several communities flooded Agency, and UN personnel including that the involvement of local government and rescue workers had to use canoes to United Nations in Liberia peacekeepers officials in the workshop will help to bol- evacuate people as many roads were participated in the workshop. UNDP is ster the decentralization process and get impassable. funding the disaster risk management and the message to Liberians in all parts of the Moses Massah, the Environment providing technical support through the country. expert at the United Nations Development BCPR, now headed by UNMIL’s former At the close of the three day delibera- Programme (UNDP) in Monrovia, says in Deputy Special Representative Jordan tions, participants reviewed and accepted 2007 the country experienced a major Ryan who is familiar with Liberia’s disas- the draft National Action Plan for Capacity flash flood that left many people home- ter problems. Development in Disaster Risk less. At the time UNDP’s Bureau of Crisis UNDP works closely with the Ministry Management as the fundamental instru- Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) provid- of Internal Affairs and the Disaster Risk ment to be used by the National Disaster ed some funds to deal with the emergency. Commission comprising line ministries Relief Commission (NDRC). They called In late February this year, a four-storey and agencies. UNDP Deputy Resident on government to accelerate the passage of building which houses several dozens of Representative for Programme, Maria- the bill seeking to establish the NDRC. Liberians in the Maryland County capital Threase Keating said UNDP’s engage- Meanwhile, the UNDP will soon be organ- town of Harper was engulfed in fire. But ment with the Ministry of Internal Affairs izing a workshop for the country’s legisla- for the quick intervention of UN peace- is intended to build the necessary capacity tors who will be debating the National keepers who battled to put out the inferno, at the national and local level to respond to Disaster Risk Management policy for the building would have been reduced to disasters. She urged the government to enactment into law. rubble and several lives lost. accelerate the process of introducing the

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 27 Nigerians: “The Face of UNMIL” a job well done, referring to them as “the face of UNMIL”. She expressed her grati- tude to the Nigerian Government for its commitment and contribution to peace in Liberia. Nigerian troops have gone beyond their duty to contribute voluntarily to vari- ous communities by rehabilitating schools, clinics, police stations and public facilities around their area of operation. They have also imparted to Liberians vocational training, embarked on medical outreach to the remotest areas, and encouraged agri- cultural ventures, important for the nation’s growth and development. The new contingent commander, Brig.-Gen. Ebiobowei Bonna Awala, is determined to continue in the footsteps of his predecessors. igeria, Africa’s most pop- tingent assumed additiional responsibility The history of ’s participation ulous nation and an for both counties. Further drawdown in UN peacekeeping operations dates back important regional player, added Bomi, Gbarpolu and Grand Cape to 1960 in the Congo -- just a few days has contributed signifi- Mount counties to their area of responsi- after the country’s independence and cantly to securing and bility. admittance to the UN as its 99th member. consolidatingN peace in Liberia. With a total strength of 1,648 troops, Nigeria not only contributed troops but Nigeria’s efforts to restore peace to the Nigerian contingent consists of two also commanded the UNOC operation. Liberia dates back to 1990 when it inter- battalions manning the sector headquar- Since then Nigeria has been involved in vened in the country’s conflict under the ters, protecting the President and other key many UN peacekeeping operations. Economic Community of West African officials, and guarding key installations Out of numerous UN peacekeeping States (ECOWAS) cease-fire monitoring such as the port, airport and parliament. operations to date, Nigeria has had over group (ECOMOG). Since then, Nigeria The contingent has staff officers, military 150,000 troops participating in about 35 has committed substantial human and observers, and a signal company spread UN mission (former and current) in many material resources over the years to secure around the country. They also lend sup- parts of the world including Bosnia peace in this war-ravaged nation. port to the (LNP) Herzegovina, Iraq, Kuwait, Western In August 2003, to end the conflict that and UN Police (UNPOL) in combating Sahara, Rwanda, Somalia, Mozambique, had reignited and engulfed the entire coun- criminal activities and public disorder in Cambodia, Angola, DR Congo, Sierra try, Nigeria again intervened leading a Monrovia and its environs. Leone, Lebanon, India and Pakistan, sub-regional vanguard force, the ECOW- “Where Nigeria is deployed is where among others. AS Mission in Liberia (ECOMIL), that you have the seat of government, Today, considered the fourth largest separated the warring factions and paved embassies, the headquarters of the UN, troop contributing nation to UN peace- the way for the deployment of UN peace- non-governmental organizations, a sub- keeping missions, Nigeria’s peacekeepers keepers. Since being rehatted on 1 October stantial percentage of the population and are currently serving in the UN Missions 2003, Nigerian peacekeepers have served our contingent continues to do its best to in Liberia, Sudan, Cote d’Ivoire, the UNMIL in significant numbers in the most maintain peace and security since its Central African Republic and Chad, UN strategic locations. deployment here,” said the outgoing Mission for the Referendum in Western Initially and until 2007, Nigerian and Nigerian Contingent Commander, Brig.- Sahara, UN Organization Mission in the Ghanaian troops were responsible for Gen. Ezekiel Olu Olofin, in an interview Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Margibi and Montserrado counties. In with UN FOCUS. African Union – UN Hybrid Operation in light of UNMIL’s drawdown and the fact At a recent medal parade ceremony for Darfur. Other missions are the UN that the contingent had managed to con- the departing Nigerian contingent, Special Integrated Office in Burundi, UN duct their activities without compromising Representative of the Secretary-General Stabilization Mission in Haiti, and the UN the security of Liberia, the Nigerian con- Ellen Margrethe Løj commended them for Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste. JWW

28 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 TRC Ends Mandate he Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), creat- ed as recommended by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that broughtT an end to Liberia’s civil war and created by the TRC Act of 2005, has com- pleted its work and presented an “unedit- ed” Final Report to the National Legislature. The report was presented on 30 June 2009 at the expiration of its man- date. The CPA, signed by parties to the con- flict including the international communi- ty as guarantors, mandated the TRC to promote truth, justice and reconciliation by identifying the root cause of the con- flict, and determining those responsible for committing domestic and international crimes against the Liberian people from termination. reconciliation and to address impunity. January 1979 to October 2003. The Commission engaged various seg- The TRC recommends that Liberians The TRC was charged to document ments of the Liberian society covering the adopt positive attitudes and change old and investigate the massive wave of entire country and the Diaspora and pro- mind sets to envision a new Liberia human rights violations that occurred, duced an over 350-page Volume II – founded on equal rights and mutual identify victims and perpetrators of the Consolidated Final Report containing respect for the cultural values and equal conflict and establish a forum to facilitate findings, determinations and recommen- opportunities for all. To the Government, constructive interchange between victims dations. It summarizes over 22,000 writ- the TRC made a wide range of recommen- and perpetrators to recount their experi- ten statements, several dozen personal dations including institutional reforms, ences in order to foster healing and recon- interviews and over 500 live public testi- governance, issues of the Diaspora, ciliation and address issues of impunity; monies with witnesses including actors, national integrity and corruption, among The Commission was further mandat- perpetrators, and direct victims. The others. ed to investigate economic crimes and Commission integrated desk research, The TRC recommended that the inter- other forms of human rights violations and media publications and human rights national community continue and consider determine whether these were part of a reports of very prominent international long term security engagement with systematic pattern of violations or isolated and local human rights institutions into its Liberia and the sub-region until such time events. It was also mandated to make rec- work. that Liberia’s security infrastructure is reli- ommendations to the Liberian The report contains major findings on able and stable. It recommends the cre- Government for prosecution, reparation, the root causes of the conflict, the impact ation of permanent conflict prevention and amnesty, reconciliation and institutional of the conflict on women, children and the early warning mechanisms that will afford reforms where appropriate to promote the Liberian society, responsibility for the aggrieved citizens the opportunity to place rule of law and combat impunity as well as massive commission of Gross Human their grievances before an international to compile a report and present it to the Rights Violations, and violations of body when certain benchmarks for peace Government and the people of Liberia. International Humanitarian Law as well as and democracy are not maintained by their The nine-member Commission, inau- Egregious Domestic Law Violations. governments. This, the report says, would gurated by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf It also determines and recommends as an alternative to violent actions and in February 2006 and officially launched reparation, amnesty, prosecution in a spe- protest in pursuit of regime change. on 22 June 2006, got off to a shaky start cialized Liberian criminal tribunal (The Since the report was made public it has due to escalating administrative, opera- Extraordinary Criminal Court of Liberia), received mixed reactions, especially some tional, financial and human resource chal- public sanctions and a “palava hut” peace aspects of its recommendations. The lenges which saw a lull in their work until building forum (National “Palava Hut” National Legislature is expected to delib- July 2007 when the activities of the Commission) necessary to foster peace, erate on the report soon. Commission resumed uninterrupted till its justice, security, unity, genuine national JWW

June - August 2009 UN FOCUS 29 Liberians What Is Your Take on

Patrick Ketter Petty Trader As for me, I prefer that the report be implemented to the letter because if we let them off the hook, it will show a sign of supporting impunity which we should “ guard against. ” Morris Jusu Petty Trader Dominic Aquoi, Student I support the TRC report and recom- mendations advanced by them because I like the report, but the recommenda- we have to stop the culture of violence tions that came out of the report need to and impunity. People who pick up arms be revisited. The report exposed those and destroy a nation and its society who rained havoc on the Liberian peo- should be punished for the crimes they ple and I’m happy that they were “commit because the best way to change exposed. This report will help us to is through the ballot box and not the “rewrite our history but I think that we barrel of a gun. should move the country forward since those named in the report have been shamed. For me I think that if the report is implemented it could do more harm ” A.Diarus Dillon, Bong County Senior than good so we should move on from Senator’s Chief of Office Staff here. ” I’m of the opinion that while we wel- come the TRC report, I think we should find some way to implement the recom- mendations taking into serious consider- ation the instability and insecurity that may result there from if we do not man- age“ the implementation properly. I’m of the opinion that Liberia lacks the capaci- ty and ability right now to prosecute people. I would prefer that the report Gabriel I.H. Williams, Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, Liberian forms part of our historical records and Embassy, USA that we build on our ugly past and move our country forward. I think Liberians should all work with the report to fashion the way forward for our country. While it’s being reviewed, Fodey Kiawu Petty Trader we have to be careful not to politicize it; we have to take the emotionalism and ” I want this report to be implemented to sentimentalism“ out of it to ensure that at the letter. For me, I should be in school; the end of the day whatever decision is but now I’m forced to street selling to arrived at will be the way forward to rec- survive because both my parents died as onciliation and national renewal for a result of the war. So I’m happy with Liberia. We must allow for this report to the TRC report and the recommenda- serve as a unifying force, rejecting vio- tions“ that have come out of it. It should lence or anything that will take us back be implemented to serve as a deterrent into a state of war and crisis. for those who might have intentions to do the same in the future.” 30 UN FOCUS June - August 2009 ” s Speak the TRC Final Report?

Krubo M. Siryon, Student University of Liberia For me, I would prefer that we have rec- onciliation because it’s good that we avoid a reccurrence of the past. I pray that the lawmakers would have consid- eration and as Liberians we should for- give. Though some of us are hurt “because my father died in the process but I’ll like to urge everybody to forgive one another including those that bear the greatest responsibility.” Abigail Jallah, Student John K. Donner, Jr. University of Liberia Self-EEmployed Was the TRC process transparent? If it Though I have not read the TRC report were so, why did the TRC only focus on in its totality but from my own analysis I the period from 1979 - 2003 and not think that the report must be carefully from the beginning of the nation-state? scrutinized. We should also sensitize the I believe if we are talking about trans- Liberian people on the report and call a parency we should have begun from national conference and let them decide “the founding of Liberia to present. For “the way forward – a national referen- me, those who are guilty for what they dum. have done, if they can’t repent, apolo- gize to the Liberian people and if indeed we have declared this nation a Christian nation, we can forget about ” the past and move forward with recon- ciliation. If we continue to say that we want to implement the recommenda- tions, the country might not move for- ward.

Venus Linga, Student ” University of Liberia Patrick Sumo-JJackson For me, I would want all Liberians to Student, University of Liberia forgive and forget and let’s forge ahead My take on the TRC report, I take the with reconciliation to move this country side of total reconciliation. I do believe Joseph Momo forward. This is extremely important. that the intent of the TRC is for us Un-EEmployed, High School Liberians to totally reconcile. So I’m of Graduate “ the strong view that since indeed it’s For me, the TRC report is good and has about our own reasoning that we even helped the country by shaming “ ” brought about the TRC then let us rec- those involved in the destabilization of oncile in that let by-gones be by-gones the country. It will also try to persuade and let total peace prevail. What has those who harbour the thought of want- happened has already happened; we ing to destabilize the country to think can’t reverse the situation. Let us forgive twice“ because the same fate awaits them one another and try to forget the past so if they should proceed. As such, the rec- that we can live in peace once more. ommendations should be implemented. That’s my opinion.

” June - August 2009 UN” FOCUS 31 UN FOCUS, Vol. 5, No. 04 A publication of the United Nations Mission in Liberia Public Information Office www.unmil.org