The Government of the United Kingdom (UK) has reaffirmed its commitment to supporting the development and democratic governance of Liberia.
According to the British Ambassador accredited to Monrovia, Liberia, Mr. Neil Bradley, his country will continue its involvement in different sectors.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the Liberian Mission in London, where he had insightful discussions “on greater cooperation between Liberia and the UK” with his Liberian counterpart, Amb. Gurly T. Gibson Schwarz, Amb. Bradley announced five key areas where the UK government remained engaged across Liberia, with a focus on health, education, climate change, biodiversity and security.
In the area of health and education, he noted that the UK was playing a leading role in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines within the WHO, the COVAX initiative of which Liberia was a beneficiary. .
He also explained that the UK government is providing $2.6 million to Mary’s Meals to help over 157,000 children in Liberia reduce hunger – for the period 2021-2024.
Amb. Bradley highlighted that the impact of this initiative is based on visiting the project site in Bomi County.
According to the ambassador, the UK is also providing $5 million to fund the nutrition and funding mechanism run by UNICEF, targeting 1.3 million women and children to reduce the prevalence of stunting in the world. Liberia from 36% to 33% by 2024; as well as an $80,000 contribution to UNFPA in Liberia to reduce unwanted pregnancies and maternal deaths. The project seeks to improve maternal, newborn and child health. An additional $1.5 million worth of personal protective equipment has been donated to help fight the global pandemic.
He mentioned that the annual Chevening Scholarship Scheme offers masters scholarships for Liberians to enroll in top UK universities as one of the areas of UK engagement with Liberia in the field of education. ‘education. The beneficiaries of the programs then played an influential role in different sectors. In social protection, the UK has also contributed $4 million to the World Bank’s Social Safety Net Project in Liberia – chaired by the Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare – providing income support to the poor. and to households insured on the income of more than 12,000 people.
Regarding the economy, he said the UK is a major contributor to the World Bank’s $6.3 million to World Bank Liberia – to help fund construction of the South East Corridor.
On peacekeeping in terms of security and national defence, the UK Ministry of Defense provided MINUSMA (United Nations Mission in Mali) deployment training to 160 members of the Armed Forces of Liberia in February, with additional training planned for this year.
The UK Peace Support Team – Police Officer also visited Liberia in January 2022 to provide training to the Liberia National Police. On justice and human rights, the special envoy for human rights, Ambassador Rita French, visited Liberia last month and her visit “will help to strengthen cooperation in this area “.
He further explained that the UK Presidency of Cop26 saw the UK mission in Monrovia coordinate with different sectors ahead of the successful global climate change conference in Glasgow.
The UK has also helped train journalists on environmental issues by educating women on how to effectively adapt to climate change to protect species and their habitats.
The UK has also awarded a forest governance and reform and climate change grant of around US$20 million.
UK-funded projects and grants are helping the Government of Liberia develop the tools and systems needed to strengthen forest governance, thereby safeguarding Liberia’s precious natural resources. According to Ambassador Bradley.
The UK Monrovia Mission, however, said it was delighted that the UK Fund to Combat Illegal Wildlife Trade is funding several key initiatives in Liberia. In recent years, contributed to the development of regulations for the implementation of the national wildlife law; set up cross-border committees and follow-up agreements between Liberia, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire to protect migrating forest elephants, provided training to ranger teams while educating citizens about the negative effects of illegal wildlife trade.
He explained that the UK will continue to collaborate and strengthen bilateral relations between Liberia and the UK.
For her part, Ambassador Gurly Gibson Schwarz said increasing collaboration with the UK as a key international development donor “is a major concern of the Liberian diplomatic mission in London.” She said this growing collaboration with the UK reflects progress in many areas.
Such interaction at different levels of the UK and Liberian governments and citizen-led forums is crucial for both countries.
As Liberia and the UK move closer to a trade deal, Ambassador Gurly Gibson Schwarz reiterated the UK’s support at the UK Business Conference in Liberia which focused on Liberia’s innovative approach to extractive industries which highlighted sustainable development and renewable energy.
She commended Ambassador Bradley for continuing the partnership and breaking new ground in Liberia and the UK to strengthen cooperation between our governments and our peoples.
During her recent meeting with a Member of the House of Lords in the British Parliament, Ambassador Schwarz asserted that promoting increased trade between Liberia and the United Kingdom is crucial to creating jobs in Liberia and realizing the British mantra Global Britain.
She recalled that Lord Sheikh was one of the key delegates to the virtual UK-Liberia conference held at the Liberia Mission in London and has since continued his ties with Liberia.
“Lord Sheikh expressed his intention to form a business alliance with Liberia, stating that there are huge opportunities for business investment in the renewable energy, blue economy and tourism sectors.
The meeting also included Lady Sheikh and Mr. Jonathan Turner, Co-Founder and Director of NLA International, Ltd, who expressed particular interest in Liberia’s maritime and blue economy sectors.