The story of UNMIL [Book]: QIPS: projects for peace
UNMIL’s quick-impact projects (QIPs) have focused on implementing small-scale, rapidly achievable projects aimed at establishing confidence in the Mission, its mandate, and the peace process. Since the inception of the Mission, UNMIL has implemented QIPs worth over US$16 million in the country.
QIPs over the years have provided the needed catalyst for mobilizing local community participation in building peace and stability in the country. QIPs interventions supported structural and institutional reforms; national dialogue and confidence-building; social cohesion and inter-religious cooperation; promotion and protection of human rights; decentralization and delivery of services; support to civil society; and strategic communication.
During its drawdown, the Mission intensified its interventions in building confidence in the political transition, and focused on promoting good offices and strengthening governance and rule of law, largely by providing facilitation and capacity-building in the form of training and equipment.
UNMIL QIPs have provided a flexible disbursement facility to support financially, at short notice, small-scale projects. In late 2017 and early 2018, QIPs provided a useful framework in support of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General’s mandate of good offices and political support. The implementation of these projects has facilitated UNMIL’s engagement with the stakeholders through the political transition and significantly contributed to the historical peaceful transfer of authority from one president to another.
During the recent presidential and legislative elections, UNMIL devoted some US$360,000 in QIPS to preparing the ground for participation in the run-up to the election and during voting and its aftermath. Projects included training of young political leaders in campaign planning, messaging and speaking; enhancing the communications flow between elements of the Liberian police in the regions and its headquarters; holding a women leadership convention; and conducting law enforcement and election security exercises.
One example: before the elections, a QIP funded a one-day event at which 240 representatives from the Liberian and international community, political parties, civil society and media came together and discussed elections expectations and conduct, and committed to eaceful campaigning and elections.
Following the second round of the presidential elections in December 2017, UNMIL QIPs supported an event as part of an international mediation hosted by the SRSG, which resulted in the acceptance of the electoral outcome and a statement of concession by one of the contenders issued even before the announcement of final election results. This peaceful recognition of the election results was precipitated by and sealed at the social event that UNMIL organized and funded for key Liberian and international stakeholders.
In the broader context, QIPs helped build the capacity of the rule of law and security sector institutions, including those involved with the elections. Neither would have been possible without UNMIL’s engagement over the years, including through QIPs, which was so effectively put to use during the last months before the Mission’s closure. The lessons learned and best practices from UNMIL QIPs in the abovementioned areas should inform further work by Liberia’s neighbors and sub-regional mechanisms to strengthen their respective rule of law and electoral systems and, ultimately, peace, stability, and security in the area.