National and Sector Strategy – Liberia

Liberia’s successful transition from conflict to peace, stability and development presented an opportunity to rebuild its capacity lost from decades of civil conflict. The enormity of the recovery and reconstruction challenge coupled with high expectations from the Liberian population present significant challenges for the government. In the absence of strong and coordinated support for capacity development, ongoing and future reform initiatives would be in danger of regression. To address these issues, the Liberian government, with assistance from UNDP, initiated a 10-year National Capacity Development Strategy (NCDS) process in 2007. To this end, the Liberian government has adopted a two-pronged approach to capacity development: address the short-term needs through quick infusions of skilled expertise, both national and international, with incentives and systems to support them; and support a long-term strategy that integrates technical expertise with capacities to plan, manage and deliver, as well as the skills that promote dialogue, trust and long-term consensus building.

UNDP’s support included assessment of existing capacities, strategic support to minimize risks and strengthen national ownership in a changing political context, identification of quick wins for implementation in four key ministries/agencies (Ministries of Finance, Planning and Economic Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Public Works, and the Liberia Reconstruction and Development Committee). For the Ministry of External affairs, a functional review and capacity assessment have been undertaken and three CD strategies have been identified, namely institutional reforms, leadership development, including mentoring and coaching and knowledge services. For the Ministry of Planning and Economic Affairs, support includes the strengthening of the internal capacity of the ministry, as well as a National Human Capacity Development Strategy (NHCDS) to address the urgent needs of the recovery and transformation periods. In addition UNDP is supporting the secretariat for the NCDS itself to facilitate the process.

There have been a number of public sector reforms, civil service reorganization, institutional reorganization and management reviews. Success so far is evident in the practical application of knowledge, results-based management, the introduction of internal controls and problem-solving approaches through “hands-on” training workshops, mentoring and coaching. In addition, the government has implemented a wide range of new laws, policies and institutional reforms and organizational restructuring processes in a variety of state institutions.