December 13, 2018/AfDB
The Civil Society Division of the African Development Bank has engaged civil society organizations in Liberia as part of the Country’s Strategic Paper (CSP) Preparation process. This aims at addressing fragility and creating a resilient and inclusive growth for Liberia in line with the Bank’s policy.
The preparation meetings, held from 28 November to 4 December 2018, included a series of meetings with other members of the donor community in Monrovia, government ministries, the United Nations System in Liberia and the civil society.
The meetings provided a unique opportunity to highlight the Bank’s engagement with civil society. This particularly aligns with ongoing consultations both internally and externally to enable the Bank define an elaborate strategy for an effective engagement of civil society in Bank policies, programmes and projects.
Edward Mzeka Nsobe ,who represented the Division at the Liberia CSP preparation process, underlined the relevance of civil society engagement in the Bank, which seeks “to integrate the voice of citizens in the design and implementation of Bank-supported projects in regional member countries for an efficient development impact”.
The government of Liberia and its partners have prioritized civil society engagement on key issues such as anti-corruption, decentralisation, justice and natural resource management. Civil society organizations have been instrumental in peacebuilding and play a watchdog role, and have helped the government formulate and implement policy reforms in the forest and land sectors. CSOs actively participated in the design of a series of laws, including the Community Rights Law (CRL) and the Forest Reform Law (FRL), and the consultative process that led to the formulation of the Land Policy.
The Bank has presented its society engagement approach that comprises the history of civil society engagement as well as goals and expected deliverables. The Bank aims at strengthening the capacity of civil society as implementing partners of projects and also expanding outreach and dialogue through the promotion of equitable access to basic infrastructure, and supporting a more responsible community driven management of natural resources and shared benefits from their revenues.
CSOs invited for the meetings highlighted key challenges that inhibit their operations. These included limited financial and human resources capacity and the need for a more efficient and systematic engagement of civil society in the Bank’s work. They also appealed for consideration to be given to community-based and smaller non-governmental organizations across the different counties of Liberia.