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Peacebuilding Commission Recommends Sierra Leone

UN’s Peacebuilding Commission Recommends Sierra Leone For Fund Support

New York, Oct 13 2006 12:00PM

At its first ever country-specific meeting, the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission has decided to recommend war-ravaged Sierra Leone for support from a newly established Fund set up earlier this week to assist countries emerging from conflict to rebuild and prevent them falling back into bloodshed.

The Commission, which met yesterday, was told by the country’s Vice-President Solomon Berewa, that while much progress has been made five years after a decade-long conflict –– including restoring State authority and disarming former combatants, more difficult tasks remained, particularly solving unemployment and corruption.

Commission Chairman Ismael Abraão Gaspar Martins of Angola described the meeting as a turning point in the development of UN peacebuilding efforts because it brought together all the relevant actors in Sierra Leone’s recovery, but he highlighted that despite the Government’s efforts there was a great need for international assistance.

Several officials, including Victor Angelo, the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General for the Integrated UN Office in Sierra Leone and Matthew Carlson, Regional Director for West Africa at the World Bank, spoke during the debate, along with representatives from almost 20 countries and regional groups.

In summing up, Chairman Martins invited Sierra Leone’s Government to present an outline of strategies and plans at the next country-specific meeting, which would take place before the end of the year, and said he would recommend that the country be considered for support from the Peacebuilding Fund, which was launched on Wednesday.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has described the multi-million dollar Fund as a “kick-start” for longer-term donor investment in recovery efforts. Member States have already contributed and pledged around $140 million to the Fund out of a target of $250 million but as Mr. Annan highlighted the needs in many nations will be much greater than what the Fund can satisfy.

“In such cases, the Fund is meant to act as a catalyst, paving the way for sustained investment in peace and recovery… it will ‘kick-start’ critical peacebuilding interventions – such as the reintegration of demobilized soldiers – and then rely on multilateral and bilateral supporters to see that these efforts come to fruition,” he added.

The Fund is a key element in Mr. Annan’s efforts at reform of the UN which, along with the Commission, was requested by the General Assembly as a way to prevent countries emerging from war falling back into conflict. The Commission will meet again today for its second country-specific meeting, this time focusing on Burundi.


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