GEORGE MANNEH WEAH, President of Liberia, stated that the challenges confronting the world today require immediate collective action, with the United Nations at the centre, in search of solutions. In so doing, he continued, the international community must give special consideration to the needs of developing countries, particularly those least developed, in line with the Doha Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries.
Noting that more than 60 per cent of his country’s population consists of young people, he highlighted the launch of a youth rehabilitation and empowerment programme, as well as a $13 million fund for the same purpose. As the country’s “Feminist-in-Chief”, he continued, empowering women and promoting gender equality remain key priorities of his Government. Women must be given equally deserved attention, support and “a place at the leadership and governance tables in our society”. Aside from developing a legal framework for this purpose, he underscored that his country is implementing the Spotlight Initiative, in support of the European Union and the United Nations, to end violence and harmful traditional practices against women and girls. He further noted that Liberia is implementing a $50 million project funded by ECOWAS to enhance the capacity of female entrepreneurs.
Turning to the pandemic, he noted that Liberia is on its way to achieving “herd immunity” by the end of 2022, with 67 per cent of the population fully vaccinated. On climate change, he reiterated his country’s commitment to achieve its target of reducing its carbon emissions by 64 per cent by the year 2030. He expressed anticipation that the upcoming Conference of the Parties will provide the opportunity to accelerate actions towards the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Stressing that sustainable development can only take place in a peaceful and secure environment, he recalled Liberia’s status as a troop-contributing country, with its troops serving in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA). He then noted that the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest appraisal of the ongoing programme in his country is “very positive”, stressing that there are now better prospects for economic growth despite the negative effects of the pandemic.
On domestic issues, he noted that, after years of civil upheavals, Liberia is becoming a “stronghold of peace and a safe haven for democracy”. Spotlighting that his country eradicated legislation that tended to suppress free speech, he further emphasized that “there is no political prisoner in Liberia”. He added that his nation has constantly and consistently pleaded for a strict adherence to constitutional term limits and for a return to democratic civilian rule in cases of military takeovers. The forthcoming elections in 2023 will be crucial to consolidating his country’s democracy, he continued. “We must let the people decide, and then we must respect their decision,” he stressed.
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