H. E. Raymond Wolfe
Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations
on behalf of the Caucus of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC)
High Level Special Session on Sierra Leone
10th June 2009
It is my privilege to speak on behalf of the Caucus of countries of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which are members of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) at this Special Session of the Sierra Leone Configuration.
Kindly allow me Mr. Chairman to acknowledge the presence of H.E. Mr. Earnest Bai Karoma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone who joins us via video link, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Honourable Zainab Hawa Bangura, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone (today’s Co-Chair), H.E. Samura Kamara, Minister of Finance and Development of Sierra Leone and Mr. Michael von Schulenburg, Executive Representative of the Secretary-General in Sierra Leone.
I also use this opportunity to express our appreciation to you Mr. Chairman, as the Chair of this country-specific configuration for your incisive leadership in deciding to convene this special session on Sierra Leone at this particular juncture, coming as it does on the heels of recent events which threatened the tremendous gains made by the country since the end of its civil war in 2002.
These events Mr. Chairman, serve to remind us of the fragility of the peace in Sierra Leone, and that our engagement with the country must remain committed and purposeful if we are to successfully tackle the high levels of youth unemployment, corruption and the threat of drug trafficking which exists in Sierra Leone.
We remain convinced that Sierra Leone’s engagement with the Peacebuilding Commission must continue on a path that seeks to consolidate peace and security and fostering a conducive atmosphere where development efforts can yield tangible results.
The successes achieved in many parts of Sierra Leone Sierra Leone must be replicated throughout the country as a whole and the peace dividend distributed without discrimination to the entire populace.
In this regard Mr. Chairman,
Continued national ownership of the peacebuilding process, should be viewed as an essential component in the Government of Sierra Leone’s overall strategy to address and surmount the root causes of the conflict in the country. Of equal importance will also be the sustained involvement of the international community to provide adequate financial, technical and other support, as may be required from time to time.
We are cognizant that any semblance of development cannot take place when there is pervasive instability, insecurity and uncertainty and in this regard, we welcome the adoption of the Joint Communiqué on April 2 2009 by the leaders of the main political parties, signaling their intentions to commit to the democratic and peaceful development of Sierra Leone.
Our hope Mr. Chairman, as I am sure is the hope of all of us here today, is for the Joint Communiqué to fully serve its intended purposes, which are to provide a comprehensive basis for improving inter-party dialogue, strengthening democratic governance and reforming key national institutions. We take this opportunity to again encourage the political parties to maintain the spirit of reconciliation and mutual accommodation which prevailed during the bi-party talks and call on all stakeholders to ensure follow-up to their commitments with the Joint Communiqué.
The Joint Communiqué creates the appropriate platform on which the Government’s “Agenda for Change” – which is the second poverty reduction strategy developed for Sierra Leone and launched by President Koroma on 20th May 2009 – can meaningfully pursue growth, economic development and peace consolidation.
In this connection Mr. Chairman, the Group of countries of the Non-Aligned Movement in the PBC are indeed encouraged and hereby endorse the high priority and concentrated focus given to aspects of development in the “Agenda for Change”, in key areas such as agriculture, energy and road infrastructure; areas which are indeed pivotal for revamping the country’s economy and most importantly, to create jobs.
At the same time Mr. Chairman, we fully support the UN Joint Vision for Sierra Leone, as developed by the UN organizations, agencies, and programmes working in Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Government. We see the Joint Vision as a novel idea which will seek to not only to define the common priorities that will shape programmes and projects through a conflict-sensitive approach, but as a planning mechanism with the overall aim of creating a coordinated UN assistance strategy while enhancing the UN’s impact, including the continued involvement of the PBC, on the ground in Sierra Leone.
We urge all member States of the United Nations to contribute to the Multi-Donor Trust Fund which was established in support of the UN Joint Vision for Sierra Leone.
The Caucus of countries of the Non-Aligned Movement in the PBC welcomes this renewed commitment to Sierra Leone and remains confident that through the cooperation of the Government, political parties in the country, the participation of sub-regional partners and other international actors, Sierra Leone will successfully address the many challenges which remain in its efforts towards maintaining peace, security and sustainable development.
I thank you Mr. Chairman.