March 1st, 2007 08:57 EST
UN grants Sierra Leone $35 million
Pushing ahead with efforts to prevent countries that the United Nations has helped emerge from war from slipping back into conflict, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today made $35 million available for Sierra Leone from the world body’s new Peacebuilding Fund.
The allocation will be used to fund projects in the areas of youth employment and empowerment, democracy and good governance, justice and security as well as public service delivery, the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) said.
“The Peacebuilding Fund will support critical interventions in Sierra Leone and we hope that it can play an important catalytic role in attracting additional donor support to further consolidate the peace process,” Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Carolyn McAskie declared at UN Headquarters in New York.
The Fund, established from voluntary contributions as part of the new peacebuilding architecture under the authority of the Secretary-General, was launched last October by then Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who stressed its vital role in helping people to rebuild institutions and regain confidence in them after years of strife, enabling countries to reach “that crucial tipping point at which a majority of the people no longer expect conflict to be renewed.”
Sierra Leone’s Government and UNIOSIL jointly conducted a country level analysis of critical gaps in peacebuilding efforts and drew up a national priority plan for the small West African country as it emerges from years of a brutal civil war that left thousands dead, and many others with limbs amputated by rebels.
A steering committee, comprising the Government, civil society, external partners and UNIOSIL, has been established for the implementation of projects in the four priority areas.
This is the second such allocation made under the Fund following earlier support for Burundi. UN Member States have so far pledged some $210 million to the Peacebuilding Fund.
After the end of the destructive 11-year conflict the Government of Sierra Leone, with the support of the UN and other external partners, has made significant progress towards lasting peace, national recovery and democratization of the country. But these achievements remain vulnerable and need to be consolidated and sustained with the support of the international community, UNIOSIL said.