Mid-Year Review of the Appeal for Liberia 2006
Liberia’s humanitarian situation and political climate has witnessed significant improvements since the launch of the 2006 Consolidated Appeal (CAP) in November 2005. A new Government has been installed following free and fair elections, former President Charles Taylor has been taken into custody and transferred to the Hague to face charges of war crimes committed during the conflict in Sierra Leone, over100,000 ex-combatants have been demobilised, former armed factions disbanded, parliamentary elections completed, and well over a quarter of a million internally displaced people (IDPs) have been given assistance to return home in safety and dignity.
Despite these positive developments, Liberia still requires urgent humanitarian assistance and support. The majority of the population remains without access to adequate basic services including healthcare, drinking water, shelter and education. The situation has been compounded by an inadequate physical infrastructure, with many of the roads being rendered impassable during the rainy season.
The new Government of Liberia (GoL) has been working hard to find the necessary resources to further develop its capacity to sufficiently address gaps in essential service delivery, and assume governmental functions. To further support these efforts, and in line with the Humanitarian Response Agenda, humanitarian actors in Liberia have come together under the Cluster Leadership Approach. Through the identification of designated lead agencies, the process aims toensure greater accountability, predictability and partnership for a more effective humanitarian response.
With the introduction of the Cluster Leadership Approach in Liberia and the creation of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Country Team (IASC-CT), stronger partnerships have been forged between the Government, the UN, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the Red Cross Movement which has resulted in improved humanitarian coordination and service delivery.
A working group comprising of representatives from the Government, the UN and NGOs formally agreed upon strategic priorities for the CAP 2006. Having re-assessed these priorities as part of the Mid-Year Review (MYR), these same priorities remain valid and are reaffirmed – namely, to:
- Provide basic social services to vulnerable populations;
- Revitalise communities to become sustainable, secure and productive;
- Strengthen the capacity of civil society and local authorities to support the recovery process.
By the end of April 2006, all of the 35 IDP camps had been closed, and more than 314,000 IDPs had received their return assistance packages. Lofa, Bong and Bomi counties have witnessed the vast majority of the returning IDPs, as well as most of the returning refugees. More than 69,000 refugees have been repatriated from neighbouring countries by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) from November 2004. Despite having returned home, the longer-term reintegration and rehabilitation of the returnees is still in progress, as many of their basic needs (as well as those of the wider community) remain unmet. Due to an overall lack of capacity, the health and education sectors remain the most problematic. The prevalence of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) also remains a key issue of concern.
As of mid-June 2006, 28% of the 2006 Liberia CAP had been funded and a total of
US$ 40,593,747 had been contributed. The MYR entailed relatively minor revision of some projects’ budgets, as well as including additional high-priority projects, bringing the total amount requested for the remainder of 2006 to $144,719,299.
In addition, the World Food Programme (WFP) requested $171 million for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea through the West Africa Regional Appeal 2006 and 67% of its requirements have been met.
Liberia is at a critical juncture. In order to build upon the hard-won peace and political progress, international support both financial and political, will be vital to stabilise the population by addressing the continuing urgent humanitarian needs of the population to ensure a rapid and sustainable recovery.
We recognise that this change is not just for the sake of change, but a fundamental break with the past, thereby requiring that we take bold and decisive steps to address the problems that for decades have stunted our progress, undermined national unity, and kept old and new cleavages in ferment.
(President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, inauguration speech January 2006)