Updated: Sep 4, 2019
The Commissioner, Chairman and CEO, Amb. Bobby Whitfield of Liberia National Water Sanitation and Hygiene Commission (WASH) attended the 2019 World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. The World Water Week in Stockholm is an annual focal point for the globe’s water issues. It is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) which brings together experts, practitioners, decision-makers, business innovators and young professionals from a range of sectors and countries to Stockholm to network, exchange ideas, foster new thinking and develop solutions to the most pressing water-related challenges facing today's societies. This year world water week event took placed from August 25 to 30 to address the theme “Water for society – Including all”.
In efforts to improve the water sector in Liberia and to ensure safe drinking water for all Liberians, the Government of Liberia headed by President Dr. George Manneh Weah sent a representative, Commissioner Bobby Whitfield to participate in the world Water Week 2019 events in Stockholm, Sweden. While in Stockholm, Commissioner Bobby Whitfield took time from his busy schedule to meet with few leaders and members of the Liberian Swedish Association, LSA community in Stockholm. During this time LSA President, Mr. David Ford welcome Commissioner Whitfield and thanked him for meeting with LSA community. Mr. Ford used the opportunity to express the need for the Government of Liberia to establish a representative institution (Embassy, consulate, etc.) in Stockholm for Liberians in Scandinavia. Mr. Ford stressed that the lack of such institution, poses major constraints on Liberians in Scandinavia in obtaining immediate governmental services intended for diaspora Liberians in Scandinavia. Moreover, Mr. Ford pointed out that if such representative institution is established, this will create avenues for easy access for potential investments in Liberia from Scandinavia, which could subsequently contribute to alleviating the suffering of some Liberians.
In response, Commissioner Whitfield extended greetings on behalf of the Government of Liberia to Mr. Ford and other officials and members present. He went on to expressed how happy he was for Liberians in Sweden to be united under LSA - one organisational body, which reminded him of his days as a community leader for the Liberian Association in Australia. Also, Commissioner Bobby Whitfield encouraged Liberians to be law abiding and good ambassadors of Liberia while in Sweden. He encouraged Liberians to acquire knowledge and skills that could be useful to Liberia’s future. Commissioner Whitfield added that it is time for capable Liberians in the diaspora to invest their expertise and financial resources in Liberia to make positive impacts to the development and growth of Liberia.
On the issue of establishing a representative institution (Embassy, consulate, etc.) in Stockholm, Commissioner Bobby Whitfield promised to convey LSA message to President Dr. George Manneh Weah, which he believes the President will review with all possibilities because he is serious about issues concerning Liberians in the diaspora and believes that they have lot to offer in Liberia.
With regards to Commissioner Whitfield participation in the World Water Week events, he pointed out that this year's World Water Week events have enriched his knowledge, provided him with great networking, advocacy, engagement and lobbying opportunities, as well as, it has given him new vision to create the needed strategies along with his team to govern WASH and subsequently implement actions in Liberia. He further added that it is time to balance equity, accountability and enforceability in water governance and management in Liberia, and it is time to innovate!
In addition, Commissioner Whitfield used the time to informed the community that President Dr. George Manneh Weah is committed to bringing safe drinking water to Liberia, henceforth WASH was established as part of his national development plan, the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, PAPD, and has included the WASH Commission in the 2019 - 2020 national budget to make sure safe drinking water is available to all Liberians.
Commissioner Whitfield also used the occasion to thanked WaterAid Liberia, one of Liberia's trusted WASH development partners for supporting and sponsoring Liberia's delegation to participate in this truly global World Water Week event. In addition, He thanked Indian TV Channel 18 for the brief interview to express the significant of his participation in the World Water Week events.
While in Europe, Commissioner Whitfield revealed that he will also honor an invitation from Young Water Solution for a speaking engagement at their annual flagship event in Brussels, Belgium, and whilst there, he will visit the local Liberian community and also attend other water-related events and activities.