The program took place Thursday, February 7, 2013, at the end of a 3-day WASH Sector Review Forum, held at the SKD Sports Complex in Paynesville.
Officially launching the plan, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai said the issue surrounding WASH is as urgent as it is dire. He recalled that, thirteen years ago, the world endorsed a package of 8 essential global development goals, targeted for attainment by the year 2015.
“The hugely critical nature of the water and sanitation question is borne out by the fact that it finds expression in the majority of those eight (8) meticulously crafted Millennium Development Goals,” Vice President Boakai indicated.
According to him, it is readily obvious that one cardinal area that has brought much acknowledgment of the significance of Liberia’s role is found in the effective and sustained articulation of the water and sanitation development agenda.
Vice President Boakai recounted the contributions of donors, saying, “The support from the World Bank, UNICEF, key government partners and stakeholders in conceptualizing and finalizing the Sector Investment and Capacity Development Plans could not have been better timed and better placed.”
The "Plans" do factor in, and delve in detail to enumerate, costs for those challenges that have posed and could continue to pose challenges now and in the future, he added.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Acting Public Works Minister, Victor B. Smith, put the total cost of the plan at seventy four million United States dollars (US$74 million).
According to Minister Smith, the incorporate activities include operational costs of some key government bureaus, divisions and teams at national and sub-national levels as well as costs of pilot projects.
He said the main focus of the plan is to build capacity for service delivery against the WASH Sector Plan, a product of the Poverty Reduction Strategy II and Vision 2030; naming major areas of intervention as increasing the number and competencies of staff, considering succession plans, improving institutional systems and processes for strengthening the government leadership and effectiveness, among others.
He recalled that in 2012, UNICEF funded the formulation of the plan starting with a capacity need assessment.
Minister Smith then called on the government and development partners to fully support the plan.
For her part, World Bank Country Manager, Inguna Dobraja, through a proxy, noted that the plan highlights some of the biggest challenges that the sector faces.