The Civil Affairs Section of UNMIL, in conjunction with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other international partners, assisted the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) to re-establish state authority up to January 2006. The section continues to collaborate with the democratically elected post-war government and other partners to help consolidate the government’s authority throughout the country, and also to support proper management of the country’s natural resources.
The mandate of the Civil Affairs Section provided for:
- Re-establishment of national authority throughout the country, including the establishment of a functioning administrative structure at both the national and local levels;
- Development of a strategy to consolidate institutions, including a national legal framework and judicial and correctional institutions;
- Preparation for national elections scheduled for no later than the end of 2005;
- Provision of advice and assistance to the NTGL to the extent possible, including with regard to election planning and the participation of women in elections;
- Restoration of proper administration of natural resources;
- Assistance and capacity building of civil society organisations;
- Assistance in the formulation of programmes to reintegrate and reconcile victims and perpetrators of the war;
- Assistance to the civilian police in reforming and restructuring the local police and promoting the participation of women, and auditing the performance of the police and other agencies involved in the maintenance of law and order;
In order to fulfil its mandates, Civil Affairs Officers were deployed to government ministries, autonomous agencies, and corporations in Monrovia, as well as to all 15 counties. The following government entities have received support from Civil Affairs: Internal Affairs, Rural Development, Finance, Health and Social Welfare, Education, Gender Affairs, Public Works, Planning and Economic Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Commerce and Industry, Youth and Sports, Monrovia City Council, Bureau of Maritime Affairs, National Ports Authority, Liberia Free Zone Authority, Customs, Bureau of Budget, Bureau of General Auditing, Presidential Affairs, National Transitional Legislative Assembly (NTLA), Governance Reform Secretariat, General Services Agency, Civil Service Agency, Forestry Development Authority, Refugee, Repatriation and Resettlement Commission, Contracts and Monopolies Commission, Posts and Telecommunications, and Liberia Telecommunications Agency.
Key Achievements since 2004
- Facilitated the return of over 2,000 government officials (superintendents, customs immigration, ministry employees, etc.) to their duty stations.
- Negotiated with the former fighters to vacate government buildings and border posts.
- With funds from the QIP Unit, the Section supported the construction of Central Bank branches in four counties so as to obviate the need for the returned officials to come to Monrovia to obtain their salaries.
- Assisted central government institutions to travel to inaccessible counties.
- Prepared organisational profiles of government institutions/agencies and all counties, as well as proxy indicators, showing the restoration of state authority as well as incipient recovery in the counties.
- Advised the Government on how to satisfy the conditions for compliance with UN sanctions regime.
- Participated in the drafting of the 2006 Forestry Reform Law
- Assisted in the completion of the Forest Concessions Review Committee report.
- Supported the Electoral Division in civic and voter education as well as in the distribution of electoral materials during the 2005 national presidential and legislative elections.
- Supported the DDRR programme through paying the transitional safety allowance to the ex-combatants.
- Supported the newly elected government in implementing its 150 Day Action Plan in 2006 and formulating the interim Poverty Reduction Strategy (iPRS).
Current Activities – 2008/09
I. Extension and Consolidation of state authority
Civil Affairs continues to assist the government in the extension and consolidation of its authority throughout the country. The section is working with the line ministries and facilitating the establishment of their offices in all the 15 Counties. In collaboration with other UN agencies in the County Support Team (UN/CST), Civil Affairs is also supporting county administration in the coordination, implementation and monitoring of the Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) and County Development Agendas (CDAs).
II. Proper Management of Natural Resources
With the removal of UN-backed sanctions on the export of diamonds and timber, UNMIL/Civil Affairs is now supporting the government in the:
- full application of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) procedures and to comply with them; and
- extension of its authority to mining areas in order to minimize illegal activities and increase revenue;
It is also coordinating support to the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) to adopt measures for effective forest management. These measures include the processes leading to the (i) adoption of a chain of custody, (ii) award of Forest Management Contracts (FMCs) and Timber Sales Contracts (TSCs), and (iii) drafting of the community rights law.
III. Engagement with Civil Society
Civil Affairs has intensified engagement with civil society in order to:
- broaden ownership of the peace process and enhance the contribution of civil society organizations to peace building and consolidation, reconciliation, human rights promotion and national recovery;
- facilitate their constructive engagement with the government and participation in the implementation and monitoring of the PRS and CDAs.
IV. Representational Role at County Level
Civil Affairs will continue to play a representational role on behalf of other sections in UNMIL and the UNCT members not present at the county level.