The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone and other development partners on Saturday, 22 October 2016 observed the 71st Anniversary of the founding of the Organization.
This year’s observance of the UN Day in Sierra Leone was focused on promoting a sustainable community, in line with the emphasis on practical ways in which everyone can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Staff from many UN agencies, funds and programmes, family members, development partners and representatives from various section of the society including school pupils engaged in cleaning the Lumley/Aberdeen Beach and in talking to the public about everyone´s responsibility to keep the beaches clean.
Promoting tourist attraction and clean community
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Sidie Yayah Tunis expressed appreciation to the UNCT for helping the Government to clean the “most attractable tourist sites” in the capital city.
Mr Tunis stated that “United Nations has always been there with Sierra Leone, especially in the 11 years civil war and the recent Ebola Virus Disease outbreak”.
“This is the truly the right time to clean the beaches because, the raining season is coming to an end and we are expecting more tourists to come to the beaches”, he acknowledged.
He called on all to emulate the good demonstration done by the UN and its partners in promoting a clean beach. He also lobbied the continued support of the United Nations in protecting the beach, especially from erosion.
The Deputy Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Her Worship Hannah Mary Jaiah participated in the efforts, and spoke about the importance of promoting a sanitized environment. “The way we handle our communities has over time caused serious disturbances to our existence, especially health hazards and disasters caused by land degradation”, she lamented.
She reminded the public about the powers conferred on to the Council by the Local Government Act of 2004 to manage the affairs of the municipality and enforce laws that promote its beautification and cleanliness.
Awakening actions and commitments towards the SDGs
In his address, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Sunil Saigal, expressed happiness for celebrating the UN Day in Sierra Leone, and noted that this year’s observance of the Day occurs at a time of transition for the world and for the United Nations.
Mr Saigal referenced the message of the UN Secretary General, which states among others that, “Humanity has entered the era of sustainability – with a global commitment to fulfil the great promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
He cautioned that the SDGs are not only about treaties and high-level diplomacy, but about everyone and how we chose to act towards the environment and towards one and other.
“There are many ways in which we can change our everyday behaviour to make this a better planet for all,” the Resident Coordinator said. ”For example, you should ensure that you and your entire family are vaccinated – that supports goal number 3, Good Health and Wellbeing. By calling out sexist language and behaviour, you are standing by goal number 5 – Gender Equality. You can help children in your community learn how to read, in support of goal number 4 – Good Education for All.
He thanked everyone that participated in the Day’s event, as according to him, they had taken an active part of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN Day observance in Sierra Leone was not only limited to the cleaning of beaches in Freetown, but also be extended to the planting of trees in Kenema and playing a football match against a team of Ebola survivors, all of which symbolizes the commitment to Goal 15, Life on Land and Goal 3, Good Health and Wellbeing.
Alpha Daramy Sesay
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