IRC to Represent Liberia's Aid Community at Global Conference
Nicky Smith, the International Rescue Committee’s country director in war-town Liberia, will represent the extensive international aid community next week as international leaders assemble in Washington to assess that nation’s post-conflict reconstruction.
The meeting, led by Liberia’s transitional government and sponsored by the World Bank, will be held September 24 at the bank’s headquarters. Representatives from the U.S. government, the European Union, the United Nations and the African Union will attend the meeting, which is a follow-up to the initial Liberia donors’ conference held six months in New York.
“It is a great honor for the IRC to be elected to represent the various organizations at this forum,” Nicky Smith said.
She is scheduled to address the conference as are Liberia’s interim president Gyude Bryant; the UN’s Humanitarian Affairs head, Jan Egeland; and Jacques Klein, UN Special Representative for Liberia. Smith will voice the concerns of the more than 150 international aid organizations working in Liberia.
“The international community must acknowledge that properly enabling Liberia to transition from civil war to a viable post-conflict environment requires a sustained and lengthy commitment; it will take much longer than two years,” Smith said.
“This meeting is positive in that it reflects that the interests of Liberia and its neighbours—Sierra Leone, Guinea and the Ivory Coast—are interconnected. Taking a united regional approach is the key to addressing West Africa’s woes and to prevent Liberia from descending back into conflict.”
Currently, the IRC operates extensive programs in three of Liberia’s 15 counties. It is the lead agency in gender-based violence, child protection and education in Nimba and Lofa, two counties that saw significant fighting during more than fourteen years of conflict.