On 26-27th January 2016 the Government of Liberia, the SDSN and the UN Country Team in Liberia hosted a national launch of the SDGs, at City Hall in Monrovia.
More than 200 people from government, civil society, youth groups, academia, and the private sector came to celebrate the launch of the SDGs and to discuss national priorities moving forward. Liberia has been at the centre of international negotiations on the SDGs since President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was appointed co-chair of the Secretary General’s High Level Group on Post-2015, and subsequently Chair of the African Union’s High Level Committee of Heads of State and Government on Post-2015. President Sirleaf opened proceedings calling for all citizens of the country to be engaged in this effort which will help set Liberia on a path to economic transformation and social inclusion. She called for ‘no one to be left behind.’ The Minister of Finance, Mr. Amara Konneh, will oversee a new Inter-Ministerial Committee on SDG implementation. In his opening remarks Mr. Konneh identified some of the country’s priorities including SDG 2 (agriculture and nutrition), SDG 3 (health for all), SDG 4 (quality education and secondary and tertiary training), SDG 9 (infrastructure) and SDG 16 (governance, peace and justice). Various flagship programs were discussed including a new community health worker strategy, which builds on the training and extension work undertaken to combat the ebola epidemic and aims to achieve universal health coverage for all (SDG 3).
An SDSN delegation, led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, used the opportunity of being in Liberia to meet with representatives from more than 30 Universities and colleges across the country, to speak to a crowded hall of students and youth representatives at the National University of Liberia about the SDGs; and to meet technical experts from across the UN and government to discuss strategies, monitoring and implementation of the new agenda.