The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission last week held the High-Level Stakeholders Meeting of the Peacebuilding Fund at the UN Headquarters in New York. The purpose of the meeting, according to the UN Secretary General, was an opportunity to review the achievements of the Fund and to discuss how best to strengthen its role in peacebuilding.
Sierra Leone’s delegation at the meeting and other sessions of the PBF included the Permanent Representative to the UN, Mr. Shekou Toure ; the Deputy Permanent Representative for Legal Affairs , Mr. Osman Keh-Kamara ; the Minister Plenipotentiary Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu ; and Counselors Victoria Sulimani and Saidu Nallo.
In his statement during the opening session, the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, called for generous contributions to the UN Peacekeeping Fund ,which he said was set up in 2006 to support efforts to augment peace and stability in countries emerging from conflict. Peacebuilding, he went on, means “addressing some of the most sensitive issues facing a given society-issues that, indeed, have previously proved so charged and intractable that led to armed conflict “. The Secretary General said that the Peacekeeping Fund has so far received $342 million ,which exceeds the initial target of $ 250 million and 46 countries contributed . Mr. Ki-Moon went on to say that 60 percent of the $206 million already allocated by the fund, went to the following countries on the agenda of the UN Peacebuilding Commission , which are Burundi, Sierra Leone,Guinea Bissau and the Central African Republic. The UN Boss went on to say that the goal now is to raise ,allocate and spend $100 million per year for the next three years .
In addition to the statement delivered on behalf of Deputy Finance Minister, Dr. Richard Konteh, who is Govt of Sierra Leone Co-chair of the PBF, by the Permanent representative , Ambassador Shekou Touray, a presentation on the Peacebuilding activities in the justice Sector of Sierra Leone , was made by the Consultant Master and Registrar of the Judiciary of Sierra Leone and Coordinator of PBF Project for the Justice Sector, Madam Julia Sakodi-Mensah. She stated that problems in the Justice Sector of Sierra Leone also contributed to the war and it was therefore important in the country’s judicial reform process to develop a sector-core reform to develop capacity. According to her, The main thrust of the Peace Building agreement , which was signed with the Justice Sector, is ‘capacity development of the justice system to prevent delays in trials and to clear existing backlog of cases of approximately 700 cases ; which could also help to decongest the prisons’ . She outlined 5 outcomes of the project which included the successful disposition of 698 cases, through the setting up of backlog courts throughout the country; improvement of the functioning of the courts with activities like the recruitment of judicial staff, provision of logistics and vehicles,specialised training for judicial and legal staff , limited legal aid fund ,witness support fund etc.etc; improvement of a functioning Law Officers’ Department through the recruitment of more state counsels and training of police prosecutors , among others; providing increased access to justice for all especially the more vulnerable -women and children.
In his statement, Mr. Robert Heifer , the Executive Coordinator of the Peacebuilding Fund , said that the Fund has two dimensions : Rapid interventions and structural changes. He said that the Fund has turned its attention to the second phase which is structural changes and this includes social, economic and political transformation, democratization, inclusion, social reform etc.
Many countries delivered statements. Some like the World Food Program ( WPF ) stressed the need for credible peace dividends like the creation of employment ,development of infrastructure ,job and food security . Speakers underlined the fact that food security provides the basis for stability.The UNSCR talked about community and peace-improvement projects as well as improved community leadership as essential elements for the prevention of the recurrence of conflicts. Luxemburg placed emphasis on the catalytic role peacebuilding has played and called for quick-impact projects that will stem the problem of relapse into war.
During the pledging segment of the meeting, countries and organizations that are contributing to the Peacebuilding Fund made commitments to continue their support while calling for enhanced coordination and cooperation between the PBC and the PBF. Some of them made outright pledges while others promised to indicate in due course how much they will continue to give to support the fund. The countries which made pledges were : Sweden. China , Luxemburg ,Ireland ; Belgium ; Germany ; Australia; Canada ; Russia ; Quatar ; Finland ; Egypt; Chile ; Korea ; Pakistan ;
Leeroy Wilfred Kabs-Kanu
Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the UN
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