UNMIL | DPKO-DFS
The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) successfully completed its physical closure and withdrawal from the country on 28 June 2018, after the mission’s mandate ended 30 March. The main logistics base, Star Base, used by the UN since 2003, was officially returned to the Government of the Republic of Liberia.
At a ceremony to mark the occasion, the First Lady of the Republic of Liberia, Clara Weah, accompanied by Government Ministers and United Nations staff, gathered around the UN flag. It was slowly lowered, folded, and handed to the Director of Mission Support, David Penklis.
The Liberian flag was then raised in its place and UN staff departed the premises as Liberian armed forces saluted.
The final physical closure and withdrawal of UNMIL, also referred to as liquidation, was a complex activity. Multiple sites closed simultaneously. UN assets and inventory needed to be disposed. Staffing levels were downsized and staff separated from the Organization. And administrative transactions were completed and resolved.
UN staff members were kept informed of changes and international staff placements were undertaken. Programmes were devised to enhance the in-country employability of local staff, such as job fairs, business creation and training.
“We drew on the lessons learned and audit observations of previous mission closures and worked collaboratively with multiple partners, such as the UN Regional Service Centre Entebbe, the UN Global Service Centre Brindisi, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Department of Field Support and Department of Management to assist with capacity and expertise,” said Mr. Penklis.
During the final months of the liquidation period, operational timelines became very short. The exodus of UNMIL and its personnel from Liberia also had serious implications for the host government and United Nations Country Team. They remain behind to continue the peace process.
UNMIL physically closed on 28 June 2018, but post-closure transactional activities will extend into late 2018, to be undertaken by the Regional Service Centre Entebbe, the UN Global Service Centre and UN Headquarters.
To learn more about the story of UNMIL, please see the online book: https://unmil.unmissions.org/story-unmil