National Situation Room for COVID-19, Elections Monitoring, and Violence Prevention Relaunched with Support from UNDP
MONROVIA — The Liberia Peacebuilding Office (PBO) on May 26 re-launched its Situation Room, an independent entity that monitors all 15 counties for signs of increasing tensions and potential violence in relation to COVID-19 and during campaigns and elections. The Situation Room is located at the ECOWAS compound in Monrovia.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Liberia Electoral Support Project, with support from the Embassy of Sweden in Monrovia and Irish Aid, worked with the PBO to revitalize and re-open the Situation Room to support Early Warning and Early Response mechanisms.
This project is an example of continuing UNDP support for peacebuilding and conflict prevention in Liberia through the Peacebuilding Office, focusing on addressing conflict by strengthening links between early warnings of electoral violence and the response, and preventing violence against women in elections and politics.
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf observed, “Although the name implies that the focus of the Situation Room is on elections and COVID-19 monitoring…it is actually a platform that also collects and reports alerts on a variety of issues…”
Initially established in August 2020, the Situation Room was used primarily to prevent violence associated with elections as well as COVID-19. It is connected to every county through the Liberia Early Warning and Response Network and is able to respond quickly to rising tensions and threats of violence throughout the country.
UNDP Resident Representative Stephen Rodriques stated that “the peaceful conduct of the upcoming 2023 General Elections is critical to Liberia’s peace, development, and prosperity, and it is in our common collective interest. We should not allow politicking, we should not allow political gamesmanship, we should not allow those pursuing short-term political gain, we should not allow bigots and people with bias against women, and such, to hold back this society or worse, to set it on a course towards violence.”
Representatives of the Ministries of Justice, Defense, State, and Internal Affairs were in attendance, as well as representatives of the Land Commission, civil society organizations, the diplomatic corps, human rights organizations, and international partners.
At the ceremony, Mr. Rodriques also presented 20 motorbikes to the Liberia PBO. These will be used for early warning, data collection, and intervention in the field.
ABOUT THE LIBERIA ELECTORAL SUPPORT PROJECT
The Liberia Electoral Support Project applies novel approaches to make a qualitative difference and further progress in electoral assistance in Liberia. Enhancing national ownership and continuing progress towards peaceful, credible, inclusive, and transparent electoral processes in Liberia, the project strategy is based on a work plan concentrating on inclusion, transparency, integrity, capacity, and programming for peace.