PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
HONOURABLE ISATA KABIA
Minister of State II,
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation
PLENARY MEETING OF THE GENERAL DEBATE OF THE
New York, 2nd October, 2017
At the outset, let me congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election and assure you of my delegation’s unflinching support and cooperation throughout your tenure. Let me also thank Professor Arvind Panagariya, our Keynote Speaker for his insightful presentation. I would also like to proffer my sincere condolences on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone to the families of the victims and the United States Government for the horrific attack yesterday in Las Vegas Nevada. Sierra Leone associates itself with the statements delivered by the distinguished representatives of Ecuador, Bangladesh and Egypt on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and the African Group respectively.
Two years ago, we put in place mechanisms to set our planet on a path towards a sustainable future, following the agreements on Financing for Development (FfD), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Climate Change. With these initiatives, we committed ourselves to end extreme poverty by 2030 and achieve sustainable development in all its three dimensions. The SDGs manifest a renewed commitment for collaborative efforts beyond the MDGs for a better tomorrow for all. Even more significantly, we have deservedly advanced the spirit of multilateralism – a compelling requirement if we are to build a peaceful, prosperous and secure world both for ourselves and future generations.
It is an achievement in itself to have recognized poverty eradication as an overarching goal of the post-2015 development agenda. In this regard, we applaud the signing of the agreement to operationalize the Technology Bank for LDCs. However, Millions of people in the LDCs continue to live in extreme poverty and hunger; and children continue to suffer and die from preventable diseases. Poverty continues to plague communities and families in the LDCs. Achieving sustainable development is the central challenge of our times. The focus of the international community should remain one of freeing all humanity from the shackles of poverty in all its dimensions as a matter of urgency.
To demonstrate Sierra Leone’s firm commitment to this global development agenda, we had linked each of the 17 goals and 169 targets to our Third Poverty Reduction Strategy, the Agenda for Prosperity, which lays the foundation for our journey to achieving sustainable future for all Sierra Leoneans beginning with our goal of achieving middle income country status by 2035. Our development agenda and the SDGs are thus profoundly intertwined. Its implementation has so far had a great impact on peacebuilding.
Sierra Leone, like many other fragile and Post conflict affected countries, was able to overcome this challenge and in fact consolidated its hard won peace, despite the fact that we were not able to fully achieve MDGs. These challenges were enormous, ranging from weak governance structure to weak institutions, low human capital and lack of adequate and predictable financing. We therefore welcome the recognition of the need for adequate resources for conflict-affected countries. We further underscore the importance of a long term, stable and predictable flow of financing in order to reduce the inherent problems that are associated with uncertain and short term financial flows. While we note that development partners have faced and continue to face mammoth challenges financially and economically, the continued role of international development cooperation and ODA cannot be overemphasized.
The effects of climate change are undermining and reversing the development gains of most vulnerable countries. If this trend is not urgently addressed, it will not only put at risk the pace of development, but will adversely impact food security and threaten global peace and security. Few weeks ago, we witnessed an unprecedented disaster in Freetown caused by widespread flooding and a devastating mudslide that claimed more than 1000 lives and left thousands more destitute and displaced, mainly women and children. Many households and businesses were destroyed. This disaster inflicted yet another sad chapter in our country’s history, which happened two years after we successfully defeated the deadly Ebola virus disease.
Sierra Leone would like to stress the critical need for support in our internal revenue mobilization efforts as well as to improve access to climate finance. As the Istanbul Programme of Action prioritizes domestic resource mobilization for the sustainability of development gains in the LDCs and the achievement of sustainable development, it is imperative that international public finance plays an important role in complementing the efforts of LDCs to mobilize public resources domestically. Many of the LDCs are struggling to develop their private sectors with a view to transforming them from rudimentary to real effective growth and development engines. We are still relatively incapable to attract meaningful private foreign investment to areas we consider critical for advancing development, in particular, health, education, infrastructure, light manufacturing, fisheries, trade, tourism and industry.
To conclude, amidst our current challenges, Sierra Leone has recorded significant progress in strengthening its political and economic governance, including improvement in social indicators. We have made substantial progress in the implementation of our national development agenda, which continues to provide a strong partnership link between Sierra Leone and the UN, including other international development partners. We remain committed to the vision and goals of the SDGs. Let me applaud our development partners for their unwavering commitment to supporting Sierra Leone’s development aspirations. We are poised to continue working with the international community to restore our country to its pre-Ebola development trajectory.
I thank you.