SRSG Landgren Apprises Staff of UNMIL’s Transition
Special Representative of the Secretary-General Karin Landgren and Director of Mission Support Hubert Price held two town halls in late February with UNMIL staff to discuss the mission’s budget, mandate and related issues.
“I am delighted to have a normal town hall, not primarily focused on Ebola,” said Landgren, alluding to the substantial decrease in the number of Ebola cases in Liberia. Despite the positive developments such as reopening of schools and borders, and lifting of the curfew, Landgren cautioned that it was necessary to continue to take all necessary precautions as “risks are still there”.
Landgren also advised UNMIL staff to be attentive to those families that have lost their loved ones to the disease as well as survivors by welcoming them into the communities. She praised the role Liberians have played in pushing Ebola back and the peaceful conduct of the Senatorial elections amidst the pandemic.
Citing the recent Security Council resolution, the UN envoy said full security transition needs to be completed by 30 June 2016. The UN Security Council was scheduled to meet on 12 March to discuss the modalities of the transition, she noted.
Many of the security responsibilities have already been transferred to Liberian authorities, she pointed out, noting that some escort, static guard and prison duties remain to be handed over to national authorities.
SRSG Landgren said UNMIL is working on the transition in consultation with the government. “The Security Council has not yet decided when UNMIL has to wrap up,” she pointed out.
Landgren said UNMIL is cutting 10 per cent of its staff as part of the drawdown. That would include 41 international staff, 7 national professionals, 81 general service staff and 33 UN Volunteers, she added.
However, the Mission is seeking to include vacant posts in these cuts to minimize the impact on serving staff, she pointed out. She promised to keep UNMIL personnel fully informed of the drawdown.
Praising Liberia’s remarkable recovery from the war, Landgren advised Liberians to use the remaining time of UNMIL’s presence in the country to best possible effect and to get as many remaining processes as possible underway.
Both Landgren and Price also answered several questions from UNMIL staff and encouraged them to take advantage of training courses offered by IMTC.