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Transparency in international aid is not just about fulfilling a requirement based on people's right to access information, but also about making aid more effective. Transparency can help improve coordination and planning, enable accountability, and build trust. Accomplishing these goals can be a challenge when there are many partners involved in channeling funds through a complicated web of service delivery without clear public information explaining who did what where.This research looks at the information needed by in-country development stakeholders with an emphasis on accountability actors including civil society organizations, charities, government workers, and the media. To collect this information, semi-structured interviews were conducted in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The majority of interviewees wanted information about financial resources and the channels they flowed through, and all respondents wanted information on the services provided and where the work was happening subnationally, suggesting that these two sets of information may be the most important. Unfortunately, information on subnational locations and services provided is infrequently available through open aid data portals, implying a need to update what aid information is shared.
What are the effects of Chinese investment and development projects on the perceived legitimacy of African states? In recent years, China has dramatically increased the size and scope of its aid to and investment in sub-Saharan Africa; the differences in China's approach to aid, compared to the Western model, have ignited debate about whether Chinese aid negatively affects governance and government legitimacy in the recipient country. In this paper, a research team led by The College of William and Mary tested this proposition in rural and urban Liberia. The research combined a public opinion survey; a survey experiment presenting one of three vignettes describing the roles of Chinese aid, US aid, or the Liberian government in service provision and corruption in Liberia; and an experimental game that measured how voluntary tax compliance—a standard measure of government within the academic literature—was affected by exposure to one of the same three vignettes. Both survey experiment and experimental games included a control group, for participants who were not read a vignette, and the vignettes were identical except for the name of the actor (China, US, or the Liberian government). Key findings from this pilot study include:
Exposure to Chinese and US aid and investment improves Liberians' perceptions of Chinese and US donors.
Exposure to Chinese and US aid and investment does not weaken and may even enhance Liberians' perceptions of the legitimacy of their government.
Exposure to US aid is associated with Liberians' having more positive perceptions of the quality of their democracy.
Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House;
To date, much of the research into stranded assets – broadly defined as assets incurring significant unanticipated or premature write-downs or devaluations – has focused on the fossil fuel sector. However, not least in the context of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and with growing understanding that climate change may become a major factor in the creation of stranded assets, it has become clear that it is not just the energy sector that will be affected. Assets in agriculture and forestry may also be at risk of stranding, because of physical impacts such as drought and desertification as well as through regulatory and technological change.
The risk of stranding is particularly high in production regions where natural forests are being cleared for agricultural use. Other regions at high risk are those where climate change is predicted to have impacts that will severely disrupt production cycles or shift production patterns. In addition, strong low-carbon development plans can affect the regulatory frameworks that govern the agriculture and forestry sectors, bringing further risks of stranding.
Stranding risks have a potential impact on the various actors positioned along the supply chain for agriculture and forest commodities. They include the land- or rights-owners, the owners of infrastructure related to the transport and processing of commodities, consumer companies and investors.
The faster the pace of decarbonization, or the more pronounced the impacts of climate change, the greater the chance of asset stranding and the higher the likelihood of economic, social and political impacts. The prospect of asset stranding could be sufficient to cause potentially affected groups to impede efforts towards low-carbon development, but this possibility has not been sufficiently accounted for in the national low-carbon development plans of either developed or developing economies. As a result, there is a potential risk to the implementation of such plans.
This paper includes case studies of stranding risk in Brazil, Malaysia and Liberia. In these countries, there are potentially significant risks of stranding, both from regulation and climate change impacts. However, there has been very little consideration of these risks by policymakers, and there are significant information gaps.
Further research is necessary in the following areas: analysing the outlook for biofuels to assess the risk of stranding and the possible impacts of new technology; assessing the physical impacts of extreme weather events on investments, taking into account the role of the insurance industry and price fluctuations; and determining whether growing consumer preferences for 'sustainable' products contribute to the risk of stranding in agriculture and forestry.
Such research could be used to initiate discussions within producer countries about the risk of stranded assets given their national strategies and policies, and in light of the available evidence of the physical impacts of climate change, in order to identify the options for both mitigating and managing that risk.
This research report examines the differing impacts of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia on women, men, girls and boys. Focusing on the areas of agriculture and livelihoods; gender-based violence; access to health services; and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), it looks at women's involvement in the national response to the outbreak, as well as community coping strategies. The report finds that women were disproportionately affected by the outbreak, and that gender, disability and geographical location were the most important factors in determining how people were impacted by the crisis. Women in rural areas were found to have particularly suffered.
The research report draws conclusions regarding how the Liberian government, NGOs and civil society might improve the ongoing national response, including increasing the participation of women and broadening their education and skills.
The context of the Ebola epidemic presented extreme challenges for Oxfam, as it did for many organisations. At the onset of the epidemic, there was a general lack of understanding of the disease and how to respond to it effectively and safely. A pervasive and persistent climate of fear, coupled with changing predictions about the likely evolution of the epidemic, influenced analysis and response at all levels. There was strong pressure to treat the epidemic as a medical emergency requiring a medical response – organised through topdown processes – rather than standard humanitarian coordination.
This report reviews Oxfam’s response to the Ebola crisis at an organisational level and programme delivery in Liberia and Sierra Leone in 2014–2015. It is based on an evaluation commissioned by Oxfam with funding from the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), carried out in March and April 2015.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases;
The West African Ebola epidemic has demonstrated that the existing range of medical and epidemiological responses to emerging disease outbreaks is insufficient, especially in post-conflict contexts with exceedingly poor healthcare infrastructures. This study provides baseline information on community-based epidemic control priorities and identifies innovative local strategies for containing EVD in Liberia.
In this study the authors analyzed data from the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Monrovia and Montserrado County, Liberia. The data were collected for the purposes of program design and evaluation by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Liberia (GOL), in order to identify: (1) local knowledge about EVD, (2) local responses to the outbreak, and (3) community based innovations to contain the virus. At the time of data collection, the international Ebola response had little insight into how much local Liberian communities knew about Ebola, and how communities managed the epidemic when they could not get access to care due to widespread hospital and clinic closures. Methods included 15 focus group discussions with community leaders from areas with active Ebola cases. Participants were asked about best practices and what they were currently doing to manage EVD in their respective communities, with the goal of developing conceptual models of local responses informed by local narratives. Findings reveal that communities responded to the outbreak in numerous ways that both supported and discouraged formal efforts to contain the spread of the disease. This research will inform global health policy for both this, and future, epidemic and pandemic responses.
Save the Children;
The report ranks the world's poorest countries on the state of their public health systems, finding that 28 have weaker defenses in place than Sierra Leone where, alongside Liberia and Guinea, the current Ebola crisis has already claimed more than 9,500 lives. The report also advises that prevention is better than cure, finding that the international Ebola relief effort in West Africa has cost $4.3bn, whereas strengthening the health systems of those countries in the first place would have cost just $1.58bn. Ahead of an Ebola summit attended by world leaders in Brussels today, the charity warns that alongside immediate much needed support to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, lessons need to be learned and applied to other vulnerable countries around the world.
In Sierra Leone and Liberia, thousands of local people have taken part in campaigns to spread the message about how Ebola can be controlled, and millions have taken vital practical steps to prevent infection. When the last case of Ebola is eliminated, it will not only be because of medical treatment and action by governments and the international community, but because communities have been at the heart of the response.
Before Ebola struck West Africa, Liberia and Sierra Leone were among the poorest countries in the world - now they are even poorer. The challenge of recovery is enormous and communities must once again be at the heart of it.
Oxfam has listened to women and men in Liberia and Sierra Leone to hear their priorities for the immediate response, the recovery and beyond. This paper presents those priorities, from rebuilding shattered livelihoods and building a resilient health service, to making schools safe and free for all.
Government of Liberia;
Ebola has had a crippling effect on the economy, health services and education system in Liberia. As schools reopen their doors, it is clear that the lack of clean water, hand washing and sanitation facilities in thousands of schools is a major block to helping children develop and carry out life-changing hygiene practices that will enhance their health. Investing in WASH in schools is a tangible, cost-effective and sustainable way to support Liberia towards a fast recovery with long-lasting health, educational and economic benefits. This briefing summarizes the current challenge of WASH in schools, as well as potential solutions.
See the full technical briefing on WASH in Schools in Liberia
Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). This REDDX report tracks the 2009-2012 flow of REDD+ finance from a variety of donors to seven tropical forest countries for various types of REDD+ activities. It is based on the hard work and dedication of seven teams of national partners and other experts who surveyed donors, government agencies, implementing agencies, NGOs, and consulting firms involved in the management of REDD+ finance in key REDD+ recipient countries.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);
This report focuses on the relationship between women and natural resources in conflict-affected settings, and discusses how the management of natural resources can be used to enhance women's engagement and empowerment in peacebuilding processes. Part I of the report examines the relationship between women and natural resources in peacebuilding contexts, reviewing key issues across three main categories of resources: land, renewable and extractive resources. Part II discusses entry points for peacebuilding practitioners to address risks and opportunities related to women and natural resource management, focusing on political participation, protection and economic empowerment.
Following the years of the civil war, the socio-economic situation of Liberians became deplorable, while formal sector economic activities went through a period of decline and are still far below the pre-war status.