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Gov’t, CSOs Hold High-level National Summit On Natural Resource Governance

In renewal of partnership obligations to fostering joint planning to achieve the country’s national development agenda, the Government of Liberia (GoL) through the Governance Commission (GC) and the National Civil Society Council of Liberia (NCSCL) are holding a two-day summit in the port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.

The two-day meeting, which began Tuesday, November 22, 2022, is an integral component of a multiplicity of a series of national events agreed on between the GoL and CSOs.

The forum also aims to enhance and strengthen natural resource governance, particularly in artisanal and small scale mining across Liberia.

Speaking at the opening of the summit, the Chairperson of NCSCL, Madam Loretta Alethea Pope-Kai, assured the Council’s commitment to partnering with the Liberian government towards the nation’s overall development agenda.

According to her, the event is geared to highlight the role of Liberian CSOs in influencing and advancing the GoL’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) and any subsequent and inclusive, collective and people centered national drive.

“As the National Civil Society Council remains the connector, the overall voice and 1the independent voice within the national development agenda, we want to assure you all of our commitment. Let us consider this gathering as being part of a long advocacy discussion on strengthening Partnership between CSOs and Government,” stated Madam Pope-Kai.

“As the Chairperson, NCSCL wants to sustain these discussions on the role of civil society in influencing policy and government processes and how we can work together for the collective good. It remains a call from the Council to all CSOs to keep our hands open and embrace our call to action,” she indicated.

The CSO Council boss called on the Liberian government to ensure that the political will exists and is exercised with good intent and a sustained vision that aims to build a flourishing nation that works for all.

In remarks, Mr. D. Karn Carlos, one of the Commissioners at the Governance Commission, pointed out the need for new structures and arrangements to take into consideration the potential for new national partnerships between the government and its citizens for deepening and broadening democratic governance in Liberia.

Predicated upon this, he stated that these different engagements between the government and CSOs are of critical importance as it highlights the need for an effective and productive collaboration between the pair.

“This first national GOL-CSO Summit is being held to basically recalibrate and strengthen existing collaboration between Government and Civil Society

organizations as watch dog entities and it will set the stage for deepening future engagements including civil society organizations remaining engaged with vulnerable communities and peoples in the leeward parts of Liberia in areas of enhancing and strengthening natural resource governance particularly artisan and small scale mining across Liberia,” he added.

Cllr. Kula L. Jackson, a Commissioner at the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), described the summit as a worthwhile engagement between the government and CSOs for the overall good of the country.

“This is a worthwhile occasion because there is a need for collaboration. The Liberia Land Authority is willing to work together for the greater good of the people. As we are here today, let’s discuss in the best interest of the people so that we all can benefit,” Cllr. Jackson stated.

For his part, the Communications and Outreach Officer of the Liberia Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (LEITI), Mr. Cedrick Kpadeh, said the gathering is of great importance because it would lead to explicit governance in the natural resources sector as the government continues to lose millions in artisanal miming.

“These kinds of engagements will help us harness ways forward to protecting our natural resources sector. Let remain engaged as a means helping Liberia,” he told the gathering.

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