Mission News & Press Releases
Current Year News -- 2010-2005
Shekou Touray addresses UN General Assembly on post-conflict peacebuilding
October 30, 2010
STATEMENT BY H.E. Mr. Shekou M. Touray , Ambassador and Permanent Representative at the 65th Session of the United Nations General Assembly On Post-conflict peace building , New York, Friday, 29th October, 2010
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a pleasure to make a statement on the Review of the Peacebuilding Commission in accordance with General Assembly Resolution A/RES/60/180 as set out in document A/64/868 which is based on extensive consultations with the UN membership and other stakeholders.
The path to sustainable peace after violent conflict is an immense challenge that requires the collective and sustained effort of the international community and local stakeholders. The creation of the Peacebuilding Commission in 2005 during the 60th UNGA is therefore not only very relevant in coordinating and supporting prorammes aimed at preventing relapse into conflict but a laudable initiative by the United Nations.
As recorded in the former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali’s Agenda for Peace, issued in 1992, Peacebuilding largely involves “action to identify and support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid a relapse into conflict”.
It therefore becomes imperative to obtain security and an end to hostilities on one hand, and on the other to engage in the parallel longer term process of consolidating peace – by reconciling people and groups, reforming or rebuilding institutions, structures and economies – to diminish the possibility of a violent relapse.
The establishment of the Peacebuilding Support Office and Peacebuilding Fund, as well as the selection of Sierra Leone and Burundi as the first two countries together with Guinea Bissau and Central African Republic, and now Liberia, on the peacebuilding agenda, have raised high expectations for peacebuilding. As highlighted in the draft resolution, the peacebuilding work of the United Nations requires sustained support and adequate resources to meet challenges. The comprehensive review of the work of the PBC is very crucial in determining lapses and progress made and what is required to achieve its mandate.
As noted in the Secretary General’s Report S/2010/471 to the Security Council, a delegation of the PBC visited Sierra Leone in March, 2010 and recognized the progress made since the end of the war and cited our experience as a successful example of multilateral peacebuilding. The PBC delegation also reported that significant challenges remained to be addressed before Sierra Leone could fully realize its long-term sustainable development aspirations. International support for overcoming the remaining obstacles is therefore very vital more so as we get closer to the 2012 elections.
On 28th September, 2010, my delegation submitted to the PBC a joint progress report on the implementation of Sierra Leone Government’s Agenda for Change. The report jointly prepared by the Government in full collaboration with its international partners and civil society acknowledges the steady progress made in the implementation of the agenda for change but equally pointed out serious gaps and challenges owing mainly to the lack of funding and the need to address capacity constraints. Key among the many outstanding issues that require immediate attention are: youth unemployment; implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; drug trafficking and transnational organized crime; support to the electoral process; and advancing good governance reform.
Sierra Leone Government’s Agenda for Change (Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper II) was prepared, adopted and is being implemented through inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive consultations and participation. It received endorsement by the PBC in June 2009, and at that historic meeting, the Commission also called upon its member states and all development partners to accept the Agenda for Change as the core strategy document for Sierra Leone. This, no doubt, implied the compelling need for PBC member states and development partners to support implementation of the Agenda with sufficient resources.
While my delegation continue to express appreciation to the United Nations and our development Partners for support to the implementation of the Agenda for Change, it is regrettable that the Multi-Donor Trust Fund is yet to receive the level of support envisaged when the fund was launched. To date only the Government of Canada has contributed to the trust fund.
My delegation therefore supports the draft resolution and urges other delegations to join us in doing so
Foreign Minister Zainab Bangura addresses the UN Security Council on situation in Sierra Leone
September 28, 2010
The United Nations Security Council is today having a PeaceBuilding Commission ( PBC ) Open Debate on “The Situation in Sierra Leone” . At the debate, the Foreign Minister, Mrs. Zainab Bangura addressed the Council . UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, gave his detailed report on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) highlighting, among other things, the important developments that have taken place in the country, the challenges to surmount and of course, the activities of UNIPSIL during the period under review. We present the Foreign Minister’s statement below :
STATEMENT by H.E. MRS ZAINAB H. BANGURA , MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE at The Open Debate of the Security Council on “The Situation in Sierra Leone” on Tuesday September 28, 2010
My delegation congratulates you in assuming the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of September and would like to thank you for convening this meeting on the Situation in Sierra Leone and for giving us the opportunity to contribute to this debate.
We also express our sincere appreciation to the Secretary-General for his detailed report on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) highlighting, among other things, the important developments that have taken place in the country, the challenges to surmount and of course, the activities of UNIPSIL during the period under review. The recent visit of the Secretary General to the country was particularly productive and still remains fresh in the minds of all Sierra Leoneans as it coincided with the inauguration of the second ever independent public broadcaster in Africa – the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
We would also like to pay particular tribute to the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General (ERSG) for his Statement this morning and also to the Chair of the Sierra Leone Country Specific Configuration, Ambassador John McNee for his usual meaningful and instructive contribution to this debate.
For due economy of time, I would resist the temptation of recounting in detail all the important developments that have taken place in the country during the period under review, as His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, in addressing the 65th session of the United Nations General Assembly has already done so five days ago by outlining some of the visible progress his government has made during this time, in partnership with the international community, in the process of consolidating peace and security to promote economic growth and development.
Many of these efforts and successes, which are also reflected in the report before us today, have equally been acclaimed in indicators such as those of the Global Peace Index that ranks Sierra Leone as the 53rd most peaceful country in the world; the Mo Ibrahim Index on our significantly improved ranking in democratic governance among crisis affected countries; World Bank rankings on Doing Business; the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, among others. However, the President was very forthright in cautioning against complacency by our achievement so far, but that these accolades should serve as catalyst for the Government to intensify its efforts in improving the quality of life of its people.
The Government is fully cognizant of the importance of some of the issues the Secretary-General raised in the report regarding the implementation of the Joint Communiqué of April 2 2009, particularly with respect to such matters as the dialogue among political parties, the report of the Independent Review Panel, the proposed inquest into the executions on 29 December 1992, of a former Inspector-General of police and 27 others, and the enhancement of the political participation of women in Sierra Leone.
With respect to the furtherance of the culture of political tolerance, President Koroma has consistently emphasized that irrespective of political affiliation or religious denomination, the bonds of unity that bind us together as a nation are stronger than the issues that have a tendency to divide us. In one such instance he reassured the country by asserting as follows:
“… I am president of the country and I have a responsibility to unify the country. I have a responsibility to let everybody develop a new concept of democracy, a new culture of democracy, and that is, you are not enemy with anybody. You are just maybe opponents on political issues, but at the end of the day, we must present ourselves as Sierra Leoneans, united in the development of our country,”
He has on various occasions extended the olive branch and quick to point out that tolerance is a two-way street and that all Sierra Leoneans should strive for a unified nation. He has demonstrated his commitment to deepening the democratic process and unifying the country not only by his regular visits around the country, but by also ensuring that development programmes initiated by the Government are implemented throughout the country fairly, irrespective of political leanings or ethnicity of any particular region or locale.
The government is fully committed to strengthening governance and private sector development. The fight against corruption is unrelenting; a new Anti-Corruption Commissioner has been appointed and government continues to provide financial support for the implementation of the national anti-corruption strategy (NACS). The commitment to fight against drug trafficking and transnational organized crime is equally vigorous, as we have transformed the Joint Drug Interdiction Task Force into a Transnational Crime Unit with a much greater leverage to eradicate this pernicious menace – but is very much in need of sustained technical assistance and support.
On another major front of the ongoing peacebuilding initiative, we have been able to take further steps to address the concerns of youth in the country. A Youth Commissioner was recently appointed to lead the Youth Commission established to formulate strategy and policy related to the empowerment and involvement of the youth population in nation-building and national development. This clearly signals the Commission’s readiness to undertake its responsibilities and to start work on implementing its strategies. We would therefore appreciate more concrete support of all our partners, including those who have been actively involved in addressing this challenge.
Mr. President, with respect to the forthcoming 2012 elections, the Government is committed to ensuring that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) deliver effectively on their constitutional mandate independently, free of interference. In this regard, my colleague, the Finance and Economic Development Minister has already started mobilizing support and the necessary resources to set the stage for a credible, free, fair and fully participatory process and we count on the United Nations and international community to respond promptly and favourably to his call to action.
Achieving openness and transparency in the exploitation of our mineral resources is one of the most fundamental aspects of government’s development policy, with the political will to ensure that the country’s vast mineral wealth is exploited for the benefit of the people. To that end, government is very much receptive to concerns that have been raised over mining agreements entered into recently and is very much disposed to put in place modalities to address these concerns with the view to bringing about full compliance with the mineral laws of the country.
Despite efforts of the government and the progress that has been made to date in addressing many of the problems that led to the civil war, challenges still abound. Some of the aspects of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission still require support for full implementation. Most notably, the reparation process remains largely under-funded, some six years after the recommendations were issued. On the socio-economic front, the prevailing global economic and financial uncertainties are seriously undermining our efforts to turn around the economy as quickly as desired. In view of the severe impact of these uncertainties on our efforts, we appeal that urgent and appropriate attention be given to the delivery of pledges made at the last Consultative Group meeting on Sierra Leone held in London.
I would like to reiterate my Government’s commitment to taking a constructive role in addressing the unfolding events and the democratization process in the sister Republic of Guinea. We are satisfied that our National Electoral Commission was able to facilitate and ensure enfranchisement of Guinean citizens in Sierra Leone, particularly within the context of the Mano River Union. We will, in this regard, continue to monitor events with intense interest.
Government is actively considering the report of the Independent Review Panel, as well as the proposed inquest into the December 29 extra-judicial executions of 1992 involving a former Inspector–General and 27 other private citizens with due regard to resolving these matters in the best interest of the nation.
In conclusion, I would like to register our gratitude to members of Council for their sustained interest in and engagement with Sierra Leone. We look forward to your steadfast support of our continuing efforts to ensure sustainable peace and long-term prosperity in Sierra Leone and to maintain this so far potentially success story on course. We share the concerns raised by the ERSG on the steady decline in funding of UN operations, UNIPSIL in particular and the adverse effect it will have on UN’s work and credibility. We hope this decline will be effectively addressed by Council.
I thank you for your kind attention.
President Koroma addresses UN General Assembly on MDGs
September 22, 2010
By Razia Bash-Kamara , Presidential Staff Reporter :
The President Ernest Bai Koroma has arrived in New York to attend the Sixty Fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly and has addressed the Assembly on the Millennium Development Goal (MDGs).
Sharing the progress Sierra Leone has made towards the achievement of the MDGs and on the second outlook of the challenges faced going forward; President Ernest Bai Koroma noted that when the MDGs Agenda was launched, Sierra Leone was engulfed in a decade long civil conflict. This he said created an immense setback to human development and virtually crippled the economy adding that the end the civil war in 2002, left the State very weak and absent in many parts of the Country. The President maintained that the economy and financial management was left to focus largely on emerging and humanitarian activities.
During the time, the President said, human and economic development programmes were given relatively limited attention as social indicators were worse than pre-war levels. President Koroma reiterated that also at the time for the first decade of the MDG Agenda, Sierra Leone was going in the wrong direction. However, he stated on assumption of office in 2007, they have made considerable progress in consolidating peace and security focusing on consolidating democracy through the electoral process and by increasing transparency and accountability.
He noted that their sustained commitments and actions to rid the society of corrupt practices are yielding positive results as service de4livery has significantly improved by bringing the Country’s rankings on the Corruption Perceptive Index by twelve places. President Koroma affirmed his belief that achieving the MDGs will be made much easier if the economy is on right track and people feel that their lives are getting better. He added that the recent global crisis presented enormous challenges for the robust growth of the country’s economy but nonetheless, they weathered the storm achieving a growth rate of five point five percent in 2008 and a four percent in 2009.
President Koroma admonished the Assembly that Government has demonstrated its commitments to stay the course of sustained macroeconomic stability and enhanced growth with prudent economic policies and wide ranging structural reforms through its Agenda for Change. He pointed out that the Agenda for Change articulates Government’s plans for the country’s development and prioritizes four strategic areas. On the area of doing business, the President intimated that it has significantly improved owing to an increased effort by government to address issues surrounding business environment and business climate reforms. He registered dismay over the poor status of the country’s infrastructure which is a major obstacle to private sector driven growth in Sierra Leone
Dilating on the free health initiative, the President said since its launch in April 2010, there has been an increase of over seventy percent in the institutional delivery and massive demand for health services by the targeted group. He noted that it is his fervent belief it will significantly improve the country’s maternal and child health indicators although illiteracy and poverty remain the two main factors negatively influencing achievement of other MDGs.
The President made it clear that if the MDGs are to be achieved by 2015, not only should the level of the investment be scaled up, innovative programmes and policies for enhanced economic and social transformation must be further developed and rapidly implemented. In that respect he maintained, they must continue to build strong collaborative partnerships between government agencies and development partners in development and implementation of programmes that significantly impact on human development.
President Koroma reiterated that the challenges to their achievement of the MDGs are immense, but building synergies represent the best hope for overcoming those challenges and meeting the aspirations for a better life that are embedded in the MDGs saying his country has received the MDG Award for showing leadership in combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases. This he emphasised shows that with sustained partnership, the leadership of Sierra Lerone could ensure the overcoming of many of many of MDG challenges the nation now faces.