The visit is part of a PBC regional tour to the Mano River Union, which will also include Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire. The objective of this visit is to assess the international support to the country’s peacebuilding priorities and explore opportunities for enhanced cooperation in support of the cross-border regional issues, relevant peacebuilding and sustaining peace challenges in the Mano River Union.
The UN delegation met the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, H.E. Julius Maada Bio, the Vice-President, H.E. Mohamed Jalloh, and several members of the Government, including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Planning and Economic Development, Internal Affairs, and Youth Affairs. The delegation also met with representatives of Civil Society, Women and Youth Organizations, the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), members of the diplomatic corps and development partners in Sierra Leone, as well as the Secretary-General of the Mano River Union.
The UN delegation commended President Bio and the people of Sierra Leone for their remarkable progress achieved in peace and stability since the country came on the agenda of the Peacebuilding Commission in 2006.They discussed cooperation with Sierra Leone during key and often challenging moments for the country: supporting the smooth transition from the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in 2014, responding to the Ebola epidemic in 2014-2015, assisting the country in rebuilding its institutional framework, and giving key support throughout the recent electoral process, as well as ongoing support of national development plans and priorities.
The UN delegation discussed UN support to the Government’s vision for national transformation and development has been articulated in the country’s Medium-Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) (2019-2023) entitled ‘Education for Development’, launched in February 2019. The delegation underscored the importance of women and youth participation in sustaining peace efforts. The delegation commended President Bio for his Government’s commitment to the promotion of the gender dimensions of peacebuilding and stressed the importance of gender-sensitive and targeted programming, as well as the strengthening of women’s meaningful participation in peacebuilding. The delegation also encouraged inclusive participation of youth in peacebuilding efforts.
Recalling that Sierra Leone is one of the biggest recipients of the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, with an estimated $62 million allocated since 2007, the meetings discussed the importance of the Fund to the countries peacebuilding priorities, including assistance to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission, assistance for victims’ reparations, dealing with political party conflict mediation and codes of conduct, as well as supporting UNIPSIL transition, including through support to security sector reform, human rights institutions, and facilitation of political dialogue.
Recognizing the progress made by the country in moving towards sustainable peace and stability, President Bio indicated the government´s intention for Sierra Leone to phase out of the country specific engagement with the Peacebuilding Commission, and discussed a more flexible form of engagement, geared towards the specific needs of countries based on the principle of national ownership, including through the broader Mano River Union region. President Bio also thanked Canada for its leadership as Chair of the Sierra Leone Configuration since 2009.
The delegation reassured Sierra Leone of its commitment to continue cooperation in support of its peacebuilding and development priorities. The delegation is leaving Freetown yesterday, heading to Liberia and then Cote d’Ivoire.