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UN Peacebuilding Fund to spend $15 million on Liberian projects

UN Peacebuilding Fund to spend $15 million on Liberian projects

The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, set up to help countries emerging from conflict avoid slipping back into war or chaos, has agreed to provide Liberia with $15 million over the next two years to fund projects in the West African nation.

Reducing poverty, promoting national reconciliation and providing employment and other opportunities for ex-combatants and young people are expected to be the focus of many of the approved projects.

Senior UN peacebuilding officials have provisionally approved Liberia’s initial submission on priority issues for funding, according to a joint announcement today by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and the country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs. This follows Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s decision two months ago to declare Liberia eligible for financing from the Fund.

A steering committee, to be co-chaired by Jordan Ryan, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative in Liberia for Recovery and Governance, will be established, bringing together representatives of the UN, the national Government, the World Bank, donors and civil society.

The committee will be tasked with overseeing the selection of projects and the allocation of funding, and next month the first meetings will be held with prospective partners – including Government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society groups – to share application criteria and guidelines.

Carolyn McAskie, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, said the Liberian Government intends to focus on three areas outlined in its poverty reduction strategy: “promoting national reconciliation and managing conflict; addressing the needs of affected youth and former combatants; and bolstering the State’s capacity for peace consolidation.”

Set up last year by the UN Secretary-General, the Peacebuilding Fund is designed to serve as a bridge between the phases of conflict and recovery, a period when other forms of financing are often not available to struggling nations. So far more than $222 million has been committed.