STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, HON. SAMURA KAMARA , DURING THE UN PEACEBUILDING COMMISSION ( PBC ) COUNTRY SPECIFIC SIERRA LEONE CONFIGURATION MEETING ON SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
The Assistant Secretary General, Ms. Judy Cheng-Hopkins;
The executive Representative of the secretary General, Mr. Toyberg-Frandzen
I have the pleasure to join you and members of the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Configuration to highlight Sierra Leone’s national priorities as we embark on an envisaged successful and rewarding transformative process.
Permit me to convey greetings and appreciation from His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone for your sustained support towards consolidating Sierra Leone’s peace, stability, political, and economic development aspirations.
Let me also express through you, our profound appreciation to members of this configuration for the unfailing and sustained commitment towards peacebuilding and peace consolidation as amply demonstrated by the Configuration’s support in accompanying us on this very critical journey. We welcome and appreciate the significant role this Configuration and other development partners continue to play in our forward march to a success story in the annals of United Nations Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding efforts.
It is encouraging that our engagement with the Peacebuilding Commission continues to evolve in a progressive manner that engenders hope for the future of Sierra Leone. Consequently, we have graduated to the point of transition that demands redefining our engagement and priorities.
Through our valued partnerships, we achieved a generally satisfactory experience with the Agenda for Change. The problems in implementing the Agenda for Change have been carefully assessed, and measures developed to avoid a recurrence.
In July, we launched our third poverty reduction and overall development strategy, the Agenda for Prosperity which outlines a vision for socio-economic development particularly based on more efficient and effective management of natural resources and private sector-led growth.
It is strategically anchored on eight key priorities:
a) economic diversification to promote inclusive green growth;
b) better management of natural resources;
c) accelerating progress on the Millennium Development Goals for human development;
d) improving international competitiveness;
e) a more focused employment and labour strategy;
f) ensuring social protection;
g) strengthening governance and public sector reform and;
h) mainstreaming gender.
The priorities of the Agenda for Prosperity includes residual programmes of its predecessor, the Agenda for Change aimed at addressing key peacebuilding elements identified in the second joint outcome document of the Sierra Leone Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission.
The Agenda for Prosperity is also tailored along the “One vision, one plan” principle of the New Deal within the framework of Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation.
Going forward, it is important and necessary that all partners rally behind the Agenda for Prosperity, while supporting also simultaneously the Constitutional review process, as well as a seamless transition from a political mission of the United Nations to a United Nations Resident Coordinator system, with an equally strong governance and development focus.
The preparatory process of the Agenda for Prosperity was informed by broad base extensive nationwide consultations, the lessons learnt from the implementation of the Agenda for Change, and diagnostic analysis on growth, poverty, fragility, gender, youth and social security.
Let me Mr. Chairman, reecho the call made by His Excellency, President Ernest Bai Koroma during the launching of the Agenda for Prosperity on 12 July this year, by urging all development partners including the Peacebuilding support Office, and the PBC to sustain the momentum by continuing to put hands on deck in support of this very ambitious development framework. Development, peace, security and stability are intricately interlinked, and the Agenda for Change is a viable vehicle to address this nexus.
As I mentioned in my remarks at the briefing of the Security Council two days ago, the progress we collectively continue to achieve in improving peace, security and stability in Sierra Leone provides a platform and inspiration to roll out the Agenda for Prosperity.
The Agenda for Prosperity represents Sierra Leone’s aspiration, and a pathway to become a middle-income country within the next 35 years and achieve a donor status in 50 years from now. Furthermore, the Agenda for Change encapsulates our vision for an inclusive, green country, with 80% of the population above the poverty line, gender equality, a well-educated, healthy population, good governance and rule of law, well-developed infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, with private-sector, export-led growth generating wide employment opportunities; good environmental protection, and responsible natural resource exploitation.
The overarching goal is to build a pathway to a more secure Sierra Leone with freedom from want and fear through building a stable economy founded on private sector-led growth, diversifying activity across several competitive sectors, increasing value-added, generating gender-equitable employment, promoting social justice, human rights, good governance and the rule of law.
At the policy level, Government together with development partners, have developed a Results Framework with a Policy Implementation Matrix, which allows an overall monitoring and progress tracking, through activity progress reports from each relevant institution. Targets for each activity have been set up, directly aligned to Pillar strategic priorities and actions. The activities of all Government Ministries/Departments/ Agencies will be monitored against these targets. Additionally, Impact and outcomes will be assessed against baseline data, in a mid-term review, and on completion of programmes. The strategy for implementation and monitoring mechanisms will include Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys, and performance management contracts signed between the President and Ministers.
In terms of implementation, we believe that rapid expected growth in minerals production and export, together with the potential for petroleum exploitation, should contribute towards transforming the country in the years ahead. But this is also against the background of the expected sustained and predictable international support through concessional financing, direct foreign investment, increased access to education and health, as well as building and strengthening our national institutions including promoting good governance, the expansion of the job market and creating gainful economic opportunities for all.
The launch of the Constitutional Review process by His Excellency, President Ernest Bai Koroma on 30 July 2013 marked another significant milestone in the implementation of the key recommendations contained in report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is the fervent hope of the government that the key issues highlighted as the causative indices that led to the senseless destruction of lives and property be addressed. As a Government we will do all within our reach to further the peace consolidation and reconciliation efforts in which we have all invested our time and resources to make Sierra Leone model UN peacebuilding and national cohesion.
It is indeed against this backdrop that His Excellency President Koroma, in his inaugural remarks, reassured the nation and partners of the Government’s determination and commitment to ensure that the process remain people and civil society driven. Together we will take this process to its logical conclusion. The United Nations and our international partners have agreed to provide technical and financial support for this process.
There are still remaining very fundamental challenges that require our sustained focus. These include, youth unemployment and empowerment, good governance and the rule of law, drug trafficking and organized crime, gender equality, provision of sustainable electricity, water and sanitation, building human capital, including skills training, the need for capacity building of the public service, and management of natural resources. Sustained and focused support from our partners remains key in the short, medium and long term to comprehensively address them.
Our democratic and governance institutions are growing rapidly and gaining firm roots in responsibly delivering on their respective mandates. However, further strengthening them as well as investing in building our productive capacity and improving our international competitivenes, will certainly contribute towards building a resilient and sustainable Sierra Leone.
The role of the PBC, both as a political conveyor and partner in marshalling resources, adds the much needed value towards the attainment of sustainable peace, security and economic development objectives. As the UN’s intervention in Sierra Leone continues to evolve, we urge that such evolution be translated into stronger partnership with the UN. We are pleased that UNIPSIL’s reduced mandate during its transition and drawdown has taken on board these challenges, including the constitutional review process. The Peacebuiling Commission remains to be an important and valued partner in this transition and transformative phase. We stand ready to work with you in developing the road map for the PBC’s transition including taking advantage of the Commission’s global reach and platform to marshal resources in support of our development agenda.
Let me conclude by thanking the Assistant Secretary General and staff of the Peacebuilding Support Office for their investment in peacebuilding in Sierra Leone by providing direct financial support through the Peacebuilding Fund to key peacebuilding projects. In that regard, I wish to express my appreciation to all donors that contribute to the Peacebuilding that has made it possible for the Fund to invest successfully in peacebuilding.
In this regard, I want refer to its support to the reparation programme and other aspects of mainstreaming the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
I also thank the Chair of the Sierra Leone Peacebuinding Configuration H.E. Ambassador Guillermo Ryshincki for his abled and tireless effort in steering the work of this Configuration.
Finally, I applaud the Executive Representative of the Secretary General Mr. Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, and the staff of UNIPSIL, the United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, as well as other international and regional partners for effective partnership with the Government and people of Sierra Leone in supporting our efforts in consolidating peace, security and our development aspirations. We stand ready to continue collaborating with UNIPSIL, the Peacebuilding Commission and our international partners in ensuring a seamless transition to a UN Resident Coordinator System.
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