UNMIL requested ISSAT’s support in taking stock of almost 15 years of deployment in Liberia. This exercise aimed to identify lessons, best practices and areas of innovation from the key outcomes of the support provided by UNMIL’s Rule of Law Pillar – with a focus on :
- service delivery at both central and county level ;
- citizen security and justice ;
- efficiency, integrity and public trust ;
- local ownership and sustainability
The lesson-learning exercise focused on four key areas:
(i) capacity building of state institutions (mentoring, training, and human resources);
(ii) management and regulatory frameworks (law and policy reform, strategic direction, leadership, planning, and various elements of institution building);
(iii) accountability (support to internal, state, and non-state level accountability mechanisms; and
(iv) coordination including support to state-level coordination between institutions in the sector and support to coordination between the state and development partners.
In this regard the exercise considered the strengths and shortcomings of the UNMIL approach, including a review of the evolution of the mandate and its strategic Mission priorities, as well as how the internal organization of UNMIL and the UN (e.g. structures, planning, monitoring, analysis coordination and capacity, and gender mainstreaming aspects) influenced the effectiveness and efficiency of UNMIL support.
The exercise also looked at various stages of the mission:
- immediate post-conflict (re-establishment of state authority)
- drawdown and transition processes.
The target audience for the findings of the report included:
- the United Nations Security Council;
- the UN Secretariat, including DPKO, DPA, PBSO;
- UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes;
- other UN peace operations;
- the Government of Liberia;
- national stakeholders; and
- international partners based in Liberia.
This mandate was conducted in the context of the adoption of its resolution 2333 (2016), authorizing a final extension of the substantive mandate of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) to 30 March 2018, and its subsequent liquidation by 30 June 2018.
Principal among UNMIL’s mandate areas has been its extensive engagement in support of rule of law – reform of the justice and security sectors, being the lead international actor supporting these areas since its establishment in 2003, committing significant technical, financial and political resources towards :
- the reform of the national police ;
- the promotion, protection and monitoring of human rights.
ISSAT was requested to support UNMIL and UNDP in undertaking an initial needs assessment to understand the institutional and individual needs of the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the Liberian Legislature. The aim of the assessment was to identify institutional capacity and resource gaps that impeded the parliament’s ability to fully exercise its oversight, legislative drafting, representation, and agenda-setting role with regard to the Liberian security sector. In parallel, the assessment examined potential windows of opportunity for synergies between: the broader SSR process in Liberia; elements of the Joint Programme for Rule of Law in Liberia; and, the prospective multi-annual UN Legislature capacity-building programme. This needs assessment was the first step in DCAF's assistance to UNMIL and UNDP in designing and implementing this capacity building programme, drawing on the capacities of ISSAT and DCAF’s Sub-Saharan Africa Division (SSAD) to do so.
It is recognized that the ongoing efforts to enhance access to justice and public security in Liberia through capacity building initiatives will not have maximum impact without corresponding efforts to develop institutional capacity. Accordingly, strategic planning processes have been undertaken in Liberia over the last four years, across the justice and security sectors, with a view to identifying key areas for institutional development and how best these weaknesses can be addressed. Whilst progress has been made in the implementation of these strategic plans, accountability and management mechanisms remain underdeveloped and there is consensus that these areas need to be addressed as a matter of urgency so as to improve public trust in the justice and security sectors. Accordingly, this area was developed into a priority project under the Liberia Peacebuilding Programme and Justice and Security Joint Programme and was successful in obtaining PBF funding support. The project provided for reviews of the management and accountability mechanisms of justice and security sector institutions, with an initial focus on the police, prosecution and judiciary. This review was particularly pertinent at this time in Liberia, given development of regional Justice and Security Hubs (also supported by the PBF); effective management and accountability of personnel are essential for the Hubs to achieve their objective of bringing real justice and security services to the communities they serve.