UNDP and Partners Support Decentralization Interministerial Meeting Presided by President Boakai

July 8, 2024

His Excellency President Joseph Nyuma Boakai, Sr. chaired the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Decentralization (IMCD) on Thursday July 4 at the EJS Ministerial Complex. The IMCD meeting is part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP) Institutional governance and management arrangement intended to address issues inhibiting decentralization progress at the highest level of national government. 

Held under the theme “Building a New Liberia through Decentralization,” this is the first meeting of this kind (chaired by the sitting President) since the launch of the LDSP II in 2020 which underscores the administration’s dedication to strengthening the decentralization program effectively. It is at this meeting that President Boakai announced plans to establish the Ministry of Local Government (MLG) to operationalize the Local Government Act passed in 2018.  

The collective expectation was for the team to address the many challenges confronting the programme and recommit to a renew vigor that accelerates decentralization reforms and find sustainable ways to enhance service delivery and set the pace for the way forward consistent with the Local Government Act, current realities, and emerging decentralization issues. 

Speaking at the meeting, President Boakai made key policy decisions and action points by highlighting the importance of advancing the decentralization program in Liberia to improve service delivery to all citizens. He further emphasized the government's commitment to driving the program forward by outlining specific measures to overcome the challenges hindering the decentralization reform efforts. 

The Liberian Leader expressed his gratitude to line Ministries, Agencies, and Commissions (MACS) and encouraged them to strengthen coordination at the county level and to contribute to the cumulative impact of the decentralization program. 

He further acknowledged support from development partners and asked for stronger collaboration and coordination as the government continues the decentralization journey in the best interest of the citizens and people of Liberia. 

Delivering her remarks at this meeting, the United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC), Ms. Christine Umutoni noted that the meeting exemplifies the President’s personal commitment to decentralize governance. She said decentralization is a cardinal pillar of the President’s ARREST Agenda for inclusive and sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) principle of “Leaving No One Behind.” 

Ms. Umutoni noted that decentralization is the only surest way of empowering local communities and individuals; promoting inclusivity and diversity; reducing inequalities, promoting social justice and increasing transparency and accountability among others. 

She further stated that UNDP and its partners- Ireland, Sweden, EU, USAID etc are currently supporting advocacy interventions for the passage of the MLG Act which empowers the Ministry of Internal Affairs to fully implement the Local Government Act (LGA) while strengthening local government structures to effectively sustain the government’s decentralization reform. 

The IMCD is aimed at collectively adopting appropriate actions in addressing challenges and identifying durable solutions. This is the highest decision-making body of the decentralization architecture chaired by the President of the Republic of Liberia. 

It is meant for the President to provide guidance to the government, development partners and civil society organizations which will then assess progress, challenges and lessons impacting drivers of decentralization and adapt actions appropriate to unblock those challenges.