Noting that the United Nations General Assembly is taking place at a time when there is escalation of conflicts engulfing millions of people in many parts of the world, Liberia’s President today stressed that West African States are collectively demonstrating their commitment and preparedness to combat terrorism affecting the subregion.
“The current state of our world, conditioned by the realities of insecurity, requires collective concerted action to avoid unacceptable levels of deprivation, poverty and human suffering,” President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf told the Assembly’s annual debate.
“At our subregional level, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has demonstrated its commitment and preparedness to combat terrorism in Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and other parts of the subregion, with valued support from partners in the international community,” she added.
She expressed optimism about the regional initiatives and collaborations at the levels of the African Union (AU), ECOWAS and the UN aimed at helping to consolidate peace and security on the African continent.
The ECOWAS initiative to bring peace to Guinea Bissau; the AU efforts in Mali and South Sudan, and the Great Lake Chad Basin force that is combating Boko Haram and other terrorist groups in the that area show progress and demonstrate the relevance of regional solidarity, she said.
With a view to strengthening peace and security within ECOWAS, countries in the subregion emphasized the fight against organized crime, especially cross-border trade in illicit small arms and light weapons, drug and human trafficking, and piracy, she said.
She expressed her determination, as the Chair of ECOWAS, to continue efforts for the realization of integration, through infrastructure development, trade and investment, natural resource management, food security, and peace and security.
Turning to a civil conflict that ended in 2003, she said the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) has helped the country institute and then consolidate security, peacebuilding efforts and governance gains in the country.
The drawdown plan of UNMIL was successfully executed on 30 June 2016, when Liberian security agencies assumed full responsibility for the security of the nation and its people, she reported.
Liberia has embarked on the process of domesticating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through robust nationwide consultations and dialogues with major stakeholders including the legislature, executive, the judiciary, the private sector, civil society, and faith-based organizations, she said. With UN partners, Liberia is formulating a roadmap to achieve full integration of these Global Goals into its national development agenda. Its democracy, stalled by years of conflict, stands firm as the country marches toward presidential and legislative elections in 2017, she added.