Fourth report of the Secretary-General
on the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in
1. The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1886
(2009), in which the Council requested the Secretary-General to submit a report
the activities of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra
(UNIPSIL) every six months. The report covers the period from 1 September 2009
to 28 February 2010.
II. Major developments
A. Political developments
2. The political situation in the country
remained calm during the reporting
period. On 9 October 2009, at the State opening of the third session of
the President, Ernest Bai Koroma, elaborated on the progress made by his
Government, including in the areas of infrastructure development, education and
agriculture. In a New Year message to the country, the President referred to the
economic challenges facing Sierra Leone and called on Sierra Leoneans to renew
their determination to overcome the country’s difficulties.
3. During the reporting period, 37 paramount
chieftaincy elections were held in
the country. Those elections were significant, given the crucial role
authorities play in local administration. The recently enacted Chieftaincy Act
2009 provided an improved legal framework for the elections. Moreover, the
participation of representatives of rural communities in the elections of their
paramount chiefs underlined the continuing development of democratic tendencies
at all levels in Sierra Leone.
4. While the elections were peaceful and
credible overall, election observers
highlighted some difficulties in the process, including uneven interpretation or
insufficient knowledge of the Chieftaincy Act; interference in the electoral
by political parties or surrogates contrary to the applicable legislation; and
inability of women to stand as candidates in some parts of the country, owing to
cultural stipulations and conflicting interpretations of the 1991 Constitution.
5. The implementation of the joint communiqué
signed on 2 April by the major
opposition party, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), and the ruling All
People’s Congress (APC) continued in the period under review. The Peacebuilding
Fund provided vital financial support for the implementation of the joint
6. In collaboration with the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP)
and the Political Parties Registration Commission, UNIPSIL continued its
grass-roots sensitization campaign on the essential messages of the joint
communiqué, through the use of dramatic sketches and radio programmes in all 149
chiefdoms of the country. The Joint Communiqué Adherence Committee,
comprising APC, SLPP, the Sierra Leone police and the Inter-Religious Council of
Sierra Leone and co-chaired by the Political Parties Registration Commission and
UNIPSIL, met within the reporting period and reviewed progress in the
implementation of the communiqué.
7. The Commission of Inquiry established
pursuant to the joint communiqué
completed its investigation of alleged acts of rape and sexual violence reported
have occurred during attacks on the SLPP offices in Freetown on 16 March 2009.
The Commission stated that after a thorough consideration of the law governing
rape and indecent assault and based on the testimonies received, there was no
evidence to sustain the allegations of rape. The Commission nonetheless found
the victims had been subjected to physical mistreatment and other inhumane
conduct that constituted a breach of their human rights under the Constitution.
called on the Government to take steps, as a matter of social justice, to
needs of the victims. SLPP strongly criticized the findings of the Commission
threatened to initiate legal proceedings to challenge them.
8. On 29 September, President Koroma appointed
an Independent Review Panel,
as stipulated in the joint communiqué, to inquire into the causes of the
violence of March 2009. The Panel began its proceedings on 15 February 2010. As
had been the case with regard to the Commission of Inquiry to investigate the
reported incidents of sexual violence, the members of the Independent Review
were selected by President Koroma from a list of nominees proposed by SLPP and
APC. Technical and financial support for the work of the Panel is being made
available by UNIPSIL, UNDP and the Peacebuilding Fund. The Panel has invited
testimony from all political parties, the country’s democratic institutions, the
and Government officials.
9. In December 2009, UNIPSIL, in collaboration
with UNDP and the Political
Parties Registration Commission, organized intra-party retreats for SLPP, APC
the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC). The retreats focused on
leadership training for senior members of the political parties and provided an
opportunity for the parties to strengthen their internal democratic mechanisms.
Within the same period, separate meetings of the women’s wings of APC, SLPP and
PMDC were arranged by UNIPSIL, UNDP and the Commission to consider ways of
improving the representation of women in the national political institutions.
10. The intra-party retreats having concluded,
a national inter-party dialogue to
further promote confidence among the political parties will be organized by
UNIPSIL and the Political Parties Registration Commission in April 2010. As part
of the implementation of the joint communiqué, the political party youth
programme, focusing on political tolerance and non-violence, was completed in
14 districts, including the western area of the country. Similar programmes are
planned for the coming months.
11. Other efforts to implement the joint
communiqué, including through the
establishment of a resource centre for political parties, are ongoing. In order
confidence and promote reconciliation, financial assistance for the repair of
damaged SLPP offices in Freetown was made available by the Peacebuilding Fund,
with the approval of the Government, and work on the building has commenced.
12. Despite those initiatives, the relationship between the ruling party and the
major opposition party continues to be characterized by deep mistrust and mutual
suspicion. In that regard, although there has been an improvement in the overall
political situation, formidable difficulties remain in fostering a culture of
tolerance. In addition to instances of violence during the chieftaincy
were fierce clashes between APC and SLPP supporters during a local council
held in Tongo, Kenema District, on 13 February 2010.
13. With regard to the review of the 1991 Constitution, no action has been taken
by the Government on the report submitted by the Constitutional Review
Commission. Given the importance of the constitutional review process for the
consolidation of the democratic foundations of the country, there is a need to
establish a wide-ranging consultative mechanism for the further discussion of
review process and its next steps.
B. Security developments
14. Overall, the security situation in Sierra
Leone was calm during the reporting
period. However, a sudden rise in armed robberies in the second half of 2009 was
matter of concern. From 10 October to 19 November 2009, 56 persons were arrested
for such attacks. In order to address the problem, on 10 October 2009 President
Koroma invoked the Military Assistance to Civil Power Act, which legally enabled
the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces to work jointly with the Sierra Leone
police. Their combined efforts proved successful, as robberies throughout the
country declined sharply early in 2010.
15. On 19 September, there was an altercation
between personnel of the armed
forces and the police in the Waterloo area of Freetown, which resulted in damage
a police station and equipment, as well as injuries to several policemen. An
led by representatives of the country’s security organs, was commissioned by the
National Security Coordinating Group to investigate the circumstances that led
the clash. UNIPSIL was invited to participate in the inquiry. Senior officers of
police and the armed forces took immediate steps, including through mediation,
improve the working relationship between the institutions.
16. UNIPSIL, with support from the Government
of Sierra Leone as well as
UNDP and the Peacebuilding Fund, has developed a comprehensive strategy aimed
at strengthening the cohesion between the police and the armed forces. A
package for over 7,500 soldiers and police officers has been formulated in the
of strategic communication, attitudinal change and discipline. The training will
focus on lower- and mid-level command staff. Joint police and military liaison
will also be established.
17. In the period under review, the Government
took steps to ensure that ex-soldiers
demobilized as part of the core review of the armed forces received their
However, some of the ex-soldiers affected, engaged in demonstrations and damaged
property in protest at the non-payment of benefits. The Government indicated
review of the pension benefits for some of the ex-servicemen concerned is under
with a view to bringing them into line with current inflation rates.
18. With regard to relations with its
neighbours, Sierra Leone continued to
maintain cordial ties with Guinea. Border patrols by the armed services of both
countries continued without any difficulties, and military teams exchanged
discuss common security concerns. By a letter dated 14 September, the Government
of Guinea requested the Government of Sierra Leone to investigate allegations
some 4,000 mercenaries were being trained in Sierra Leone with a view to
an attack on Guinea. the Sierra Leone security sector agencies thoroughly
investigated the allegations and determined that there was no evidence to
them. On 9 December, Sierra Leone hosted the twenty-sixth meeting of the
Committee of Chiefs of Defence Staff of the Economic Community of West African
States, at which recent developments in Guinea and the subregion were discussed.
19. Four unauthorized foreign fishing vessels
were apprehended in the coastal
waters of Sierra Leone in the reporting period. The armed forces assisted in an
operation carried out by the United States Coast Guard pursuant to a bilateral
maritime assistance agreement concluded between Sierra Leone and the
Government of the United States of America in June 2009. Forfeiture orders and
fines of about $2 million were imposed by the Sierra Leonean judicial
The protection of the country’s marine resources is vital and will help Sierra
to increase its revenue-generation capacity. In the period under review, the
forces also benefited from training offered by the United States Navy on
techniques and vessel maintenance.
20. General William E. Ward, the Commander of
the United States Africa
Command, visited Sierra Leone on 15 September 2009. In a meeting with President
Koroma, General Ward reaffirmed the commitment of the United States Government
to strengthening relations with Sierra Leone and helping improve the capacity of
C. Economic and social developments
21. The global economic crisis has
significantly affected Sierra Leone. Economic
growth fell from 5.5 per cent in 2008 to approximately 4 per cent in 2009; it is
expected to rebound to approximately 5.5 per cent in 2010. Exports, including
of diamonds, fell significantly. Consequently, the country’s current account has
worsened. Inflation, which had risen at the outset of the global crisis, fell in
second half of 2009.
22. In September 2009, it was announced that an
oil well with a potential of 200
million barrels had been discovered off the coast of Sierra Leone by a
led by Anadarko, a United States company, with Australian, Spanish and Irish
partners. While it remains to be seen whether the oil found will be sufficient
commercial exploitation, the discovery has generated substantial publicity and
injected further momentum into efforts aimed at improving the management of the
natural resource sectors, including the Extractive Industries Transparency
for which Sierra Leone is a candidate country with a 9 March deadline for
compliance. UNDP and the World Bank are actively supporting those efforts, while
Germany’s development agency and the African Development Bank are also
23. A new Mines and Minerals Act was signed
into law by President Koroma in
January 2010. The law substantially improves the regulation of mining activities
the country. It makes provision for greater transparency and predictability,
use of discretionary power and expands stakeholder involvement in licensing
decisions. The law also increases royalty rates and resources for community
development and sets new standards for environmental protection and worker
24. The Goods and Services Tax Bill was enacted
by Parliament on 4 June 2009
and came into effect early in 2010. A wide range of taxes, including import
domestic sales tax, entertainment tax and restaurant and food tax, were replaced
the goods and services tax, which helped to simplify the previous system of
taxation. Some essential items, including rice, pipe-borne water, fuel, books,
educational and medical services and selected pharmaceutical supplies, will not
taxed to ensure that the poorer members of the community are not adversely
by the introduction of the goods and services tax. It is believed that the tax
more revenue for the Government while having little or no effect on the cost of
living. Overall, taxpayers will pay no more tax than previously, and the savings
businesses in terms of time and the cost of accounting for tax will be
25. Furthermore, during the period under review
the Government commissioned
the Bumbuna hydroelectric project, which is expected to have a positive impact
the economy in 2010, including by reducing fuel import costs.
26. On 18 and 19 January, the President of the
World Bank, Robert B. Zoellick,
visited Sierra Leone. During the visit he met President Koroma and other senior
Government officials, my Executive Representative, international development
partners, the Chair of the Anti-Corruption Commission and representatives of
society and the private sector. While acknowledging the Government’s efforts to
implement the Agenda for Change, Mr. Zoellick stressed the need for continued
progress on good governance and the combating of corruption. He also committed
the World Bank to supporting the telecommunications infrastructure of Sierra
Leone, the West Africa Power Pool and regional fisheries management solutions.
27. Sierra Leone signed the Comprehensive
Africa Agricultural Development
Programme Compact in September 2009 and is currently in the process of
investment plans in line with the National Sustainable Agricultural Development
for 2010-2020. The World Food Programme (WFP) will support, at the request of
Government, the implementation of Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development
Programme safety net programmes in four areas: (a) the provision of productive
safety nets, such as food and cash-for-work schemes; (b) the provision of social
nets through maternal and child health and school feeding programmes; (c)
emergency response capacity to respond to localized disasters, such as floods,
climate change adaptation; and (d) capacity-building, policy support and the
promotion of social protection.
28. In order to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and
strengthen local partnerships, the
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) organized, on
12 November 2009, a national partnership forum, which was attended by over 300.
UNAIDS also arranged the 2009 World AIDS Day campaign, on the theme “Help
protect your baby: get tested for HIV now”. A total of 9,814 people, 7,295
and 2,519 males, were tested for HIV during the campaign.
III. Advancing peacebuilding
29. On 18 and 19 November, the Government of
Sierra Leone and its development
partners held the sixth Consultative Group meeting, in London. The aim of the
meeting was to broaden the donor support base for Sierra Leone and to encourage
existing donors to increase their assistance to the country. One full day of the
meeting was focused on private sector development and fostering private and
30. The Consultative Group meeting endorsed
both the United Nations
multi-donor trust fund, which focuses on capacity-building, and the World Bank
multi-donor trust fund, which focuses on infrastructure. The meeting also led to
invitation to the Government of Sierra Leone to attend the annual Coordination
Group meeting of a number of key Arab countries, hosted by the Arab Bank for
Economic Development in Africa, held in Khartoum from 11 to 13 January 2010.
31. In preparation for the Consultative Group
meeting, my Executive
Representative travelled to Brussels, Madrid, The Hague, Copenhagen, Stockholm,
Oslo, Helsinki and London to meet with senior officials in order to promote the
Government’s Agenda for Change and to mobilize support for the United Nations
joint vision. My Executive Representative highlighted the United Nations
multi-donor trust fund for Sierra Leone, which became operational on 1 November
2009, as the preferred United Nations funding channel in the future.
32. On 27 October 2009, John McNee, Chair of
the Sierra Leone configuration of
the Peacebuilding Commission, endorsed and communicated to Member States the
United Nations in kind appeal for boats and vehicles for the security sector
of Sierra Leone. To date, two Peacebuilding Commission members, Thailand and
Egypt, have expressed an interest in the appeal. It is hoped that more members
review the appeal and consider making appropriate contributions.
33. The aid policy endorsed at the Sierra Leone
Consultative Group meeting will
pave the way for the establishment of an improved aid coordination architecture.
January 2010, discussions on the details of the aid architecture were held with
aim of operationalizing the new aid coordination structure. The new aid
will allow the United Nations and other partners to better support the
Agenda for Change.
IV. Support to democratic institutions
A. Sierra Leone broadcasting corporation
34. The joint communiqué of 2 April 2009 called
on political parties to work
towards the creation of an independent national broadcasting corporation. The
Government continued to make major strides in establishing an independent
broadcaster to which the assets of United Nations Radio will be transferred.
its inception, in 2000, United Nations Radio, which has the widest national
in the country and round-the-clock programming, has been a source of impartial
news and, as such, is a critical component of the peace consolidation process.
35. The United Nations, the Parliament, the
Sierra Leone Association of
Journalists and other stakeholders raised concerns regarding the independence of
corporation. Accordingly, important amendments, including a requirement that the
appointment of the Director-General of the corporation by the President be
to the approval of Parliament, were made to a bill amended by Parliament on
36. It is envisaged that the corporation will
be formally launched on 27 April. A
transition management team, comprising the Ministry of Information and
Communication, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists and representatives
civil society, has been established. The Peacebuilding Fund has approved
to support the transition. In preparation for their responsibilities, trustees
received training courses from the BBC World Service Trust and UNIPSIL.
37. In a spirit of bipartisanship, the
Government appointed Septimus Kaikai, the
Minister for Information and Communication in the previous (SLPP) Government,
as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Other trustees include representatives
the Council of Paramount Chiefs and the Sierra Leone Bar Association. Vacancy
notices for key management positions have been issued and, once the positions
been filled, the transition process will be driven by the corporation management
team, with UNIPSIL, UNDP and other partners playing a supportive role.
B. Independent Media Commission
38. The Independent Media Commission announced
on 12 February 2010 that the
Freetown City Council, which is run by the ruling party, will not be permitted
operate a radio station. Legal proceedings challenging the withdrawal by the
Independent Media Commission of an SLPP radio station licence were adjourned as
a result of a court ruling issued in Freetown. In November 2009, with support
UNIPSIL, the Commission carried out training programmes for journalists in a
number of areas, including media law and investigative reporting.
C. Political Parties Registration Commission
39. The Government of Sierra Leone continued to
restructure the Political Parties
Registration Commission, with support from UNIPSIL and UNDP. The process will
entail the recruitment of permanent staff for the Commission, as well as
autonomy. In January 2010, UNIPSIL international partners, the Department for
International Development of the United Kingdom, the European Commission and
Irish Aid, approved $1.8 million for the upgrading of the operational and
administrative capacities of the Commission as well as of the National Electoral
D. National Electoral Commission
40. In December 2009 and January 2010, the
National Electoral Commission and
the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development jointly
organized paramount chieftaincy elections in several chiefdoms in the country.
Supplementing the support from the Government of Sierra Leone, the European
Union and the Governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom made available
further financial assistance through an electoral basket fund, managed by UNDP.
the period under review, the Commission also conducted local council
in Bo and Kenema Districts.
41. With assistance from the Peacebuilding
Fund, 20 additional clerks and
researchers were recruited for the Parliament of Sierra Leone. The parliamentary
library was refurbished and 20 computers and a number of books were purchased.
Parliament received two minibuses and six motorbikes to enhance the work of its
oversight committees. Training programmes for the clerks and researchers began
February 2010. Furthermore, seminars were offered to parliamentarians on
transparency issues in the extractive industries, including the oil industry.
F. Sierra Leone police
42. Efforts to boost the capacity of the police
in the area of public order
management continued in the reporting period. Through the Peacebuilding Fund,
vehicles, helmets, batons, shields, handcuffs and protective clothing valued at
$909,606 were procured and delivered to the police. In addition, 2,423 officers
trained in public order management. Another 134 officers assigned to the Police
Complaints, Discipline and Internal Investigations Department were trained and
provided with equipment.
43. In order to support cooperation between the
police and the media, UNIPSIL,
with the assistance of the Government of Luxembourg, conducted three regional
workshops, at which modalities for improved relations between the police and the
media were agreed upon in a memorandum of understanding. UNIPSIL assisted the
police in enhancing community relations through the local police partnership
boards, and four partnership training workshops funded by the Government of
Luxembourg were organized for religious, traditional and community leaders.
44. The Ministry of Internal Affairs, Local
Government and Rural Development,
working together with the Decentralization Secretariat, launched the performance
assessment results system for local councils in November 2009. The new system
will enhance the accountability of councils to their constituents. Female
from all 19 local councils were trained by the Decentralization Secretariat on
leadership and confidence-building in November 2009.
45. The Ministry of Finance and Economic
Development also trained internal
auditors of the 19 local councils. The provision of council offices by the
Decentralization Secretariat is in progress. A financial agreement with the
International Development Agency provided $20 million for decentralized service
delivery and the decentralization process in November 2009. Progress is being
in the devolution of 75 functions to local councils. However, there is a need
financial support for local council strategic plans and initiatives.
V. Human rights and the rule of law
A. Support to human rights and the rule of law
46. The increase in incidents of sexual and
gender-based violence remains a
serious concern for human rights organizations, as well as for the Government.
Various activities aimed at enhancing the capacity of the National Human Rights
Commission and other local stakeholders in the area of issues relating to human
rights and the rule of law were undertaken by UNIPSIL in the reporting period.
Accordingly, 120 persons from a broad range of civil society organizations
four districts were trained in human rights monitoring and reporting. In
80 prison officers received training on human rights. A resource centre for
society organizations with Internet access, a conference facility and human
resource materials was established in Freetown.
47. In collaboration with UNDP, a workshop was
organized in September 2009 for
the members of the parliamentary Human Rights Committee on human rights,
gender and access to justice. In December, UNIPSIL and UNDP facilitated a
dialogue forum for civil society and parliamentarians.
48. The construction of two magistrate courts
in Freetown is proceeding smoothly,
and the establishment of a fast-track commercial court is also in progress. The
judiciary also adopted two policy documents in October 2009, namely, a bail
guideline for magistrates and judges and an operation manual for bailiffs.
49. With support from the Peacebuilding Fund,
progress has also been made in the
refurbishment of Mafanta prison, but the completion of that project has been
hampered by a lack of resources. It is expected that, once the work has been
completed, the prison will help to relieve overcrowding at Pademba Road prison
B. National Human Rights Commission
50. The National Human Rights Commission
continued to further strengthen its
outreach programme and its reporting on the human rights situation in the
Among other activities, the Commission carried out sensitization activities
its 2008 human rights report. On 7 December, Parliament debated matters raised
the report and subsequently endorsed it. The Government has made a commitment
to covering the operational costs of the Commission in 2010, including staff
salaries. UNIPSIL has continued to mobilize international donor support to
the implementation of the Commission’s strategic plan.
51. Notwithstanding those positive
developments, there is still a deficit in the
resources required for the implementation of the Commission’s mandate.
C. Implementation of the recommendations of the
52. Progress has been made in the
implementation of the recommendations
contained in the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, in
through the reparations programme. With support from the Peacebuilding Fund,
microgrants were provided to more than 13,000 eligible victims of the civil war
enable them to set up small-scale businesses. In addition, 7,000 child victims,
mainly war orphans and children born as a result of sexual violence, received
financial support to pay fees and buy learning materials. More than 200 victims
sexual violence received treatment.
53. Despite those welcome developments, there
remains a significant shortfall in
the funds required to implement the reparations programme. In that regard, on
5 December, President Koroma launched a special trust fund for war victims to
mobilize resources from local and international partners.
VI. Special Court
54. On 26 October 2009, the Appeals Chamber of
the Special Court for Sierra
Leone upheld the judgment of the Trial Chamber and convicted eight persons in
case of Prosecutor v. Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon and Augustine Gbao. The
persons were members of the Revolutionary United Front, the Armed Forces
Revolutionary Council and the Civil Defence Forces, the three main armed
that operated during the conflict in Sierra Leone.
55. On 13 August and 26 October 2009, the
Special Court for Sierra Leone
designated Rwanda as the State where convicted persons will serve their
Subsequently, on 31 October 2009, the convicts were transferred to Mpanga
Rwanda, to serve the remainder of their sentences. The Special Court is
the conditions relating to the enforcement of the prisoners’ sentences.
56. The trial of Charles Taylor, the former
President of Liberia, is continuing at
The Hague. The cross-examination of Mr. Taylor ended on 5 February 2010, and the
next stage of the trial involves testimony from defence witnesses. Judgment in
case is scheduled for December 2010, and the Court’s activities are expected to
conclude in mid-2011.
VII. Progress on the integration process
57. The implementation of the United Nations
joint vision is progressing. United
Nations agencies have worked in an integrated manner to identify programme
deliverables for each of the 21 programmes of the joint vision. That approach
ensure that agencies do not duplicate efforts within a single programme and
for the monitoring and evaluation of each programme within the joint vision.
58. The common United Nations garage, security
service and medical facility all
continue to make slow but steady progress as key operational elements of the
integrated approach. Cost-sharing agreements between UNIPSIL and United Nations
agencies were concluded during the period under review. A new field office to
the United Nations family in Bo became operational. The joint medical clinic
extended its services to the Special Court for Sierra Leone and initiated
with the diplomatic community to offer services at a fee. The United Nations
helicopter service, which offers the Government and development partners an
efficient connection to rural communities, is recognized as a key service and as
important United Nations contribution to the peacebuilding effort.
59. Direct programme support, which entails the
transition from direct United
Nations execution to the national execution of programmes and projects, is now
being used by the United Nations country team in Sierra Leone. The roll out of
direct programme support is part of a gradual process leading to the
of the way in which the United Nations and the Government interact and is a
positive indicator of the country’s ongoing post-conflict stabilization process.
VIII. Main risks
60. Efforts to combat corruption continued in
the period under review. At an
emergency Cabinet meeting on 26 January 2010, President Koroma cited several
instances of corrupt practices in a number of Government entities and
demanded that immediate steps be taken to prevent their recurrence.
61. On 4 November 2009, the Minister of Health
was relieved of his duties and
charged with offences under the country’s Anti-Corruption Act, including failure
comply with regulations concerning the issuance of contracts and abuse of
December, President Koroma directed that the Head of the National Revenue
Authority be suspended from office pending investigations by the Commission into
the misappropriation of donor funds, the corrupt acquisition of wealth and
offences. The Commission continued to engage civil society and tertiary
in combating corruption. One of the country’s international partners, Irish Aid,
provided €200,000 to support the work of the Commission.
62. The ranking of Sierra Leone in the
Transparency International Corruption
Perceptions Index for 2009 improved by 12 places.
B. Illicit drugs
63. To deal with the problem of illegal
narcotics, the Sierra Leone Joint Drug
Interdiction Task Force has, in addition to obtaining strong support from the
Government of Sierra Leone, received technical and financial assistance from the
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the United States Africa Command. A
computer-based training centre was established at the Task Force headquarters
variety of computer equipment and training on drug interdiction, intelligence
search and seizure was provided. As a result, important breakthroughs were made
the task force in disrupting the activities of drug smugglers, including
to the importation of 703 tons of cocaine into Sierra Leone in July 2008.
64. In February 2010, UNIPSIL, in collaboration
with the Government of Sierra
Leone, ECOWAS, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Department
of Political Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the United
Nations Office for West Africa, convened an expert group meeting and a
conference with the aim of implementing the West Africa Coast Initiative. The
Initiative will support the ECOWAS regional action plan on illicit drug
and organized crime. The Conference was also aimed at establishing transnational
crime units in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau to tackle
organized crime and drug trafficking as well as build national and regional
capacities in the areas of drug interdiction, forensics, intelligence, border
management, money-laundering and criminal justice. A joint declaration
commitments to fight illicit drug trafficking and organized crime in West
well as the operational modalities for the transnational crime units, was
C. Youth unemployment
65. On 7 December 2009, Parliament enacted the
National Youth Commission Act,
which will allow for the creation of a dedicated Commission to focus on youth
employment and empowerment and serve as an organ for coordinating all
issues. Discussions are in progress on start-up arrangements for the
Commission and to mobilize support from international development partners.
66. An estimated 600,000 young people in the
country are currently unemployed.
To address youth unemployment, a sectoral working group, with the participation
the United Nations, the World Bank, the German development agency, the Ministry
of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Employment, Labour and Social
Security, was established in 2009. The group devised a strategic framework that
emphasizes job creation. Efforts to create jobs in Sierra Leone will be boosted
significantly with the recent commitment of $20 million by the World Bank to the
youth employment sector.
67. Corruption has long been recognized as an
obstacle to Sierra Leone’s progress.
I therefore welcome the strong recognition by President Koroma of the challenge
corruption poses and the swift action taken by the Anti-Corruption Commission to
combat the problem. I encourage further efforts to ensure that corruption does
weaken laudable progress towards the development of Sierra Leone and call for
joint action by all national stakeholders to deal with the matter.
68. I thank Sierra Leone’s international
development partners for their support and
invite other partners to join in providing critical financial support to enable
Leoneans to enjoy the dividends of peace. In particular, I appeal to
partners to provide additional support to the National Human Rights Commission,
well as the Government’s Special Trust Fund for War Victims.
69. In addition, I note the shortfall in
anticipated donor funding required for the
implementation of the Government’s Agenda for Change. I therefore appeal to
Sierra Leone’s international development partners to generously assist the
Government of Sierra Leone in implementing its Agenda for Change. Support for
the Agenda for Change will enable the Government to meet the Agenda’s main
objectives, including in particular in developing infrastructure and increasing
agricultural productivity. The attainment of these goals will in turn help to
the difficult socio-economic indicators which have all contributed to making
Sierra Leone a fragile State, notwithstanding progress thus far achieved.
70. I am encouraged by the improvements in the
political climate in Sierra Leone since the signing of the joint communiqué on 2
April 2009. However, the challenge of fostering political tolerance and
promoting non-violence still regrettably remains. Recent developments, notably
the violent and disturbing clashes between supporters of the major opposition,
SLPP and the ruling APC, on 13 February 2009 do not augur well for the peace and
stability of the country as well as for the elections to be held in 2012. There
is an urgent need to build trust and mutual confidence between major political
parties. I therefore urge SLPP and APC to abide by the code of conduct for
political parties as well as the commitments of the joint communiqué of 2 April
71. I welcome the collaboration of the
Government of Sierra Leone and international partners in combating the threat of
illegal narcotics and organized crime which, if unchecked, could undermine the
peace consolidation process in Sierra Leone. I urge continued efforts in that
regard. I wish to reiterate the appeal of the Chair of the Sierra Leone
configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission to Member States to donate
vehicles and boats for Sierra Leone’s security sector agencies in order to
improve their effectiveness in dealing with organized crime.
72. Finally, I wish to express my sincere
appreciation to staff of United Nations agencies and programmes and UNIPSIL who,
under the leadership of my Executive Representative, Michael von der
Schulenburg, have made notable progress in achieving the objectives of the
United Nations joint vision as well as assisting the Government of Sierra Leone
in advancing the Agenda for Change. I also thank all international partners for
their indispensable collaboration with the United Nations in Sierra Leone.