Ambassador Lena Nordstrom of Sweden
Monrovia - The Kingdom of Sweden, in support of the Liberia Decentralization support Programme, on Wednesday signed with the Government of Liberia a grant agreement of US$5 Million from 2016-2017. This money, according to the government, will contribute to implement Liberia’s National Policy on Decentralization. Ambassador Lena Nordstrom of Sweden, during the signing ceremony, underlined the importance of bringing public services closer to the people. She also named the passing of local government Bill as an important milestone to develop democratic and inclusive governance in Liberia.
Said Ambassador Lena Nordstrom: “Communities’ real participation is needed to enhance the effectiveness of the use of public funds and the resilience of Liberian society. People’s participation will empower the communities’ themselves-women, men, boys and girls to take leadership of the local development and contribute to national development with their full human potential.”
The Swedish diplomat believes that the envisaged partnership between the Government and the People can increase people’s confidence and trust in state institutions and vice versa. “This is needed for sustainable and peaceful development in Liberia in the coming years,” she said. The signing ceremony for the grant from the Swedish government, which contributes to implement Liberia’s National Policy on Decentralization and Local government, was held between the UNDP representing the UN and the Ministry of Internal Affairs representing the Government of Liberia.
The Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP) aims at development of responsive, capable and accountable County administrations for effective and equitable service delivery in counties. It also supports the implementation of National Decentralization Platform (2015) in cooperation with all involved ministries and government agencies.
The establishment of County Service Centers (CSC) is part of the program. “At CSC, people will have easier access to get birth or marriage certificate or register their land or business. Participatory local governance and Gender equality is an integral part of the program and the communities are envisaged to work together with the county officials to guarantee that the services provided are responsive to people needs,” she noted.
Currently, the Embassy of Sweden in Liberia is second largest bilateral embassy in the country. Sweden and Liberia’s ties have been broadened and today they include both political, commercial and development cooperation relations. The Swedish Development Cooperation with Liberia is today focused on four main areas; security, Peace and rule of law; governance and Public institutions; economic transformation and women empowerment and gender equality.
Sweden has supported and currently supports the building of feeder roads; developing markets for small-holder agriculture business; supports the ministry of Gender through the UN WOMEN in the fight against rape, and sexual gender base violence.