first_imgThe Concessions Working Group’s (CSG) attention has been drawn to the startling and unfortunate allegations of corruption and bribe-taking involving very senior members of the Liberian government as detailed in the Global Witness latest report titled, ‘The Deceivers.’CWG is a network of local and international non-governmental organizations working on the Liberian extractives sector that seeks to influence pro-poor national policies so that the natural resources is assured for the most vulnerable segments of the population.In a press release CWG says while it recognizes the right of the President to utilize several means to tackle corruption, it is important that any such process is credible and does not inadvertently undermine the fight againstcorruption. CWG, therefore, wants President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to promptly dissolve the taskforce and allow the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission to assume exclusive jurisdiction, the release states.In similar direction, the CWG calls on the LACC to proactively assume its statutory mandate as prescribed by law. While other processes may assist the fight against corruption, CWG believes it is the LACC’s duty as the principle anti-corruption agency to lead any effort to tackle official corruption.The CWG furthermore wants international and or bilateral actors to impose serious conditionality for aid support until the current investigation is concluded with proper actions. Because of the gravity of these alleged actions as well as the high levels of government at which those accused are placed, CWG requests that the above actions be taken in a timely manner by various public stakeholders to ensure credible, speedy and fair resolution of this matter in line with law.As for the Presidential Task Force, the release said CWG believes that the appointment of Fonati Kofa as head of the taskforce severely undermines the integrity of it and exposes it to public disrespect. Cllr. Kofa is a former convict in the United States of America involving multiple counts of fraud by betraying a fiduciary duty, the press release states.CWG says it is especially concerned not only because corruption is a cancer that is viciously eroding the fabric of Liberia and destroying the moral universe but also because the alleged transactions involve a potential mining concession, which firmly places it within the extractives sector as a key concern for the group. CWG believes natural resources can be a force for inclusive development and progress, but if managed with a lack of accountability as the Global Witness report stringently advances, natural resource exploitation can fuel conflict and public discontent.It also reminds public officials and policymakers that these new allegations by Global Witness suggest a pattern of official negligence and misconduct. It can be recalled a few years ago, the British auditing firm Moore Stephens reported that close to 90 percent of concessions were non-compliant with Liberian laws, said the release.These new allegations seem to be emphatically supporting those conclusions.The CWG also calls on all the accused to engage the LACC in the thinking that an accusation is not a statement of guilt, which can only be adjudged through a court of competent jurisdiction.CWG comprises of Sustainable Development Institute, Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (Cental), Trust Africa, Rights and Rice Foundation, Liberia Media Center, Save My Future Foundation, Actions for Genuine Democratic Alternative (Agenda), Institute of Research and Democratic Development and National Youth Movement for Transparent Elections (Naymote).Others are Foundation for Human Rights and Democracy (FIND), Catholic Justice and Peace Commission (JPC), Liberia Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (LEITI), National Resource Management Consortium, Publish What You Pay-Liberia, Center for Media Studies and Peace Building (Cemesp) and Liberia Media for Democratic Initiatives (LMDI). Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


first_imgUnited Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on January 10 launched #EarlyMomentsMatter, a new campaign supported by the LEGO Foundation to drive increased awareness about the importance of the first 1,000 days of a child’s life and the impact of early experiences on the developing brain. During this critical window of opportunity, brain cells can make up to 1,000 new connections every second –a once-in-a-lifetime speed. According UNICEF release, these connections contribute to children’s brain function and learning, and lay the foundation for their future health and happiness. A lack of nurturing care – which includes adequate nutrition, stimulation, love and protection from stress and violence – can impede the development of these critical connections. The campaign kicks off with #EatPlayLove – a digital and print initiative aimed at parents and caregivers that shares the neuroscience on how babies’ brains develop. #EatPlayLove assets explain the science in a straightforward, visually interesting way to encourage parents and caregivers to continue to make the most of this unrivaled opportunity to provide their children with the best possible start in life. By engaging with families, the initiative also aims to drive demand for quality, affordable early childhood development services and to urge governments to invest in programs targeting the most vulnerable children. According to a recent series in The Lancet nearly 250 million children in developing countries are at risk of poor development due to stunting and poverty. But the need for greater investment and action in early childhood development is not limited to low-income countries. Disadvantaged children living in middle- and high-income countries are also at risk. UNICEF estimates that millions more children are spending their formative years growing up in unstimulating and unsafe environments, putting their cognitive, social and emotional development at risk. Investment in early childhood is one of the most cost effective ways of increasing the ability of all children to reach their full potential – increasing their ability to learn in school and, later, their earning capacity as adults. This is especially significant for children growing up in poverty. One 20-year study showed that disadvantaged children who participated in quality early childhood development programs as toddlers went on to earn up to 25 percent more as adults than their peers who did not receive the same support.Early childhood development interventions, such as the Care for Child Development package that includes training community health workers to teach families about the importance of playing with their children in a way that stimulates healthy development can cost as little as 50 cents (USD) per capita per year, when combined with existing health services.UNICEF is therefore, calling for governments to increase investments in early childhood, expand health and social services offered to young children, and strengthen support services for parents and caregivers. This campaign is part of UNICEF’s broader program on early childhood development, supported by H&M Foundation, The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, ALEX AND ANI, and IKEA Foundation.About UNICEFUNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more