Liberia has made remarkable progress since the end of hostilities in 2003 in consolidating peace and rebuilding a government shattered by over a decade of war. After holding two relatively peaceful and credible national elections, maintaining peace in the face of regional instability particularly from neighboring Cote D’Ivoire and retaining a steady increase in economic growth Liberia is a nation on the rise.
At the same time, empirical data indicates that recovery from conflict is often far more challenging and more fraught with potential reversals than we would like. In order to ensure Liberia stays steadily on a path towards recovery, peace and prosperity the government is investing in both national and international conversations around new approaches to supporting countries struggling with challenges of peacebuilding and statebuilding.
The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States was endorsed at the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2011 by forty countries and multi-lateral agencies, including Liberia. The New Deal calls for a new paradigm for approaching and addressing situations of fragility through focusing on the key causes and manifestations thereof. The New Deal specifies five Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals as necessary areas for fragile states to focus on in order to reinforce their resilience. These are:
- PSG 1: Legitimate Politics – Foster Inclusive Political Settlements and Conflict Resolution
- PSG 2: Security – Establish and Strengthen People’s Security
- PSG 3: Justice – Address Injustices and Increase People’s Access to Justice
- PSG 4: Economic Foundations – Generate Employment and Improve Livelihoods
- PSG 5: Revenue and Services – Manage Revenue and Building Capacity for Accurate and Fair Service Delivery
The New Deal also focuses on key commitments that the government and their international and local partners, including civil society, must make in order to achieve success. These include supporting political dialogue, national visions, transparency and strengthening of capacity.
As agreed to at the High Level Forum, seven countries have agreed to be on the forefront of taking the New Deal forward through a process of piloting. The first step in the piloting process is to carry out an assessment of fragility for each country. The following represents the Government of Liberia’s Fragility Assessment.
Methodologically this assessment took a different approach than is being done in some of the other pilots. Namely, Liberia has over the past several years carried out and invited in several assessments on areas highly relevant to fragility. Rather than undertake yet another consultative assessment process, as is being done in several countries, in Liberia the approach used was to gather information from assessments already completed. The information below, therefore, is all culled from Government material. Where external material has been referenced it has been clearly referenced. It is believed that this approach is both more reflective as it represents several years of investigation rather than a one-off workshop as well as being more cost-effective and respecting human resource constraints. The results of this assessment will lead directly into Liberia determining its location on the so-called Fragility Spectrum, which is the second stage in piloting the New Deal.