Presentation of the MANO River Union (MRU)/ Union du Fleuve Mano (UFM)
Official website of the Mano River Union
The Mano River Union (MRU) is an Intergovernmental Institution comprising Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire.
The Organization aims to strengthen the capacity of Member States to integrate their economies and coordinate development programs in the areas of peace building, as a prerequisite to any development, trade promotion, development of industry, energy, agriculture, natural resources, transport and telecommunications, monetary and financial affairs in short, all aspects of economic and social life of the Member States.
MRU IN BRIEF
As a regional integration organization, MRU was created on October 3th, 1973 by the Malema Declaration, signed by President William Tolbert Junior of the Republic of Liberia and President Dr. Siaka Stevens of the Republic of Sierra Leone and enlarged by the accession of the Republic of Guinea and the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, respectively on October 25th, 1980 and May 15th, 2008.
A short historical background about MRU was written as a broadcast introduction to the Mano River Union, the idea, the Secretariat, and it’s several institutions. It is of great importance that people understand that the name Mano was not pulled out of a bag, but rather chosen because the River is the natural and formal boundary between the member states: Liberia and Sierra Leone. More importantly, it is in the area between present day Liberia and Sierra Leone which was once one state or kingdom known as Kailahun Luwa.
In May 2008, the Heads of State and Government of the Union took a decision to revive the Union. The MRU Secretariat was accordingly mandated by the May Summit to pursue the revival, growth, socio-economic development and integration of the sub region within the framework of four pillars namely, institutional revitalization and restructuring with focus on the Union Secretariat and public sector of Member States; peace and security; economic development and regional integration; and social development. A strategic plan has been prepared to deal with all issues related to the pillars, summary of which will be elaborated upon in the program section.
MRU WORK IN THE WEST AFRICAN SUB-REGION
MRU maintains the initiation of dialogue at all levels between its Member States for the purpose of achieving greater unity and solidarity, and promoting goodwill, neighboring cooperation and peaceful co-existence amongst its people, promoting peace, security, democratic principles and popular participation of citizens in the pursuit of good governance.
The Institutions of the Mano River Union and their Functions:
In furtherance of the objectives of the Union, the following institutions were established:
The Union Summit of Heads of State and Government which is the supreme institution of the Union;
The Union Ministerial Council;
The Union Technical Commissions;
The Union Secretariat
The Union Summit of Heads of State and Government:
The Union Summit of Heads of State and Government is the supreme institution of the Union. The Summit shall convene as and when deemed necessary to deal with matters submitted to it by the Union Ministerial Council.
The Union Ministerial Council:
The Union Ministerial Council comprises Ministers responsible for Planning, Development, Economic Cooperation, Finance, Education, Trade, Industry, Agriculture, Transport, Communications, Energy, Natural Resources and Works in the Member States. Other Ministers of Member States may attend meetings of the Council when matters of interest to them are on the agenda.
The decisions of the Union Ministerial Council shall be by consensus and such decisions shall be resolutions which:
– Make recommendations to the Union Summit of Heads of State and Government;
– Make recommendations to Member States for certain actions to be taken;
– Give directives to the Secretariat and other subordinate Institutions.
Technical Commissions of the Union:
Technical Commissions were proposed to be established with responsibilities in the respective areas/sectors below:
– Trade and Industry;- Agriculture, Forestry and fisheries;
– Transport and communications;
– Education, Training and Research;
– Finance and administration;
– Energy and Natural Resources;
– Peace and Security.
The Commissions shall comprise Officials of Governments and Professionals designated by the Member States. They will examine issues relative to their respective fields on their initiative or upon directive of the Union Ministerial Councilor at the request of the Secretary General. The Commissions shall meet at least once a year but may hold special meetings as and when necessary based on outcome of technical consultations or requests from Member States.
The Mano River Union Secretariat:
The Union Secretariat is the technical and administrative instrument through which the Union pursues its noble objectives. The Secretariat, in collaboration with the institutions of the Union and with support from donors and development partners, prepares strategic plans for the Union; oversees the formulation of projects and programs in support of the plan as well as their implementation, monitoring, evaluation and reports preparation; plans for and facilitate the holding of meetings of the institutions of the Union; approves projects and program in support of the objectives of the Union; represents the Union at various fora geared towards the political, social and economic development of the sub region; and mobilizes resources in support of projects and programs for the Union.
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