Facilitating National Consultations in Liberia

In Liberia, it was decided that the Governance Commission (GC) would lead in the development of national security strategy. The GC, which had been created by the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement to promote good governance in the Liberian public sector, resolved to ensure a consultative approach to the development of the strategy. However, this approach was resisted by numerous representatives of government ministries, who feared that including civilians in discussions on national security would
amount to compromising that security.

The leadership provided by the GC was vital in overcoming this challenge. In particular, an effective approach was the South-South dialogue the GC supported, which brought together experts from other countries in the region to share their experiences with similar processes.

This approach proved extremely useful in alleviating fears of undertaking broad national public consultations. The consultation
process then took place across the country and involved traditional chiefs, women, civil society, local authorities, youth and local officials from the United Nations Mission in Liberia. The consultation identified local perceptions of national security threats, which included poverty, unemployment, crime, ethnic tensions and regional insecurity. These concerns were in turn reflected in the national security strategy and resulted in recognition of the need for a wider range of government ministries to support national security provision.

Source found in: Security Sector Reform: Integrated Technical Guidance Notes, United Nations SSR Task Force, 2012. p 133.