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UN Awards Two Grants To Liberia

The UN Awards Two Grants To Liberia For Anti-Corruption And To Strengthen Legislature

New York, Oct 13 2006 1:00PM

Continuing efforts to consolidate Liberia’s democratic transition the United Nations has awarded the country two grants, totalling close to $500,000, to formulate an anti-corruption strategy, professionalize the legislature and encourage more youth participation in the political process.

“Democracy requires that all of the public be outraged when there are examples of corruption; the public must have the ability to engage in the processes that put a check on issues of corruption,” said the UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Recovery and Governance, Jordan Ryan, in the Liberian capital atᾠthe signing ceremony.

The grants were awarded by the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF), a new financing mechanism, established last year and supported by Member States contributions, to promote democracy and human rights.

“Participation in the activities of UNDEF is a badge of achievement and signifies a high level of commitment to democratic values,” the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) added in a statement. “Liberia should be proud to have been awarded” the two grants, said Mr. Ryan.

The anti-corruption grant - worth $360,000 – is being directed to the country’s Governance Reform Commission (GRC) which is charged with setting up a “national integrity framework” to promote transparency, accountability and the rule of law, with the aim of substantially minimising or eliminating corruption.

The other, funded at $120,000 over two years, is a legislative study grant is aimed at strengthening the professionalism of the legislature and encouraging the participation of youth in the democratic process.

“These grants demonstrate that peacekeeping is not only about ensuring security or silencing the guns but also about sustaining peace,” said Edwin Snowe, the House of Representatives speaker, expressing his appreciation for the UN’s continued efforts to rebuild the country. “By empowering our young Liberians, the UN is not only seῴting the pace for lasting peace but also ensuring that we can all live together and develop our nation as one people.
Liberia is recovering from a brutal 14-year civil war that ended after claiming 150,000 lives. UNMIL, which was set up in 2003 to secure a ceasefire and support a subsequent peace process, has more than 14,800 military and police personnel. The Security Council recently extended its mandate until the end of September 2007.

UNMIL played a critical role in supporting and overseeing last year’s elections which selected a new Senate and House of Representatives and also elected Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first elected female head of state in Africa.
Alan Doss, the lead UN official in Liberia, recently said the UN’s work in Liberia is “not yet done,” while noting the continuing threat of cross-border arms trafficking and mercenaries.
“The UN Security Council has just extended our mandate because it knows that Liberia still needs UN help to deal with the many challenges that lie ahead as the country begins to rebuild itself,” he said earlier this month.


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