Extension of UNIPSIL mandate is a booster for resource mobilization drive

By Michael Massaquoi, Coordinator, Peacbuilding Commission Secretariat
The renewal of United Nations Integrated Peace building Office (UNIPSIL) mandate for a year is certainly a booster to peace consolidation and development efforts. The UN Integrated Peace building Office was established by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1829 in August 2008 to provide support to the Government of Sierra Leone in identifying and resolving tensions and threats of political conflict, monitoring and promoting human rights and consolidating good governance reforms. Since then, UNIPSIL together with United Nations Country Team and development partners have continued to support Sierra Leone with its post-conflict development programme.
The uninterrupted engagement of the United Nations family in supporting Sierra Leone with its post-conflict development programme is predicated on the conviction that Sierra Leone is committed to peace consolidation, governance and development. With that in mind, the United Nations Joint Vision (2009-2012) combined the efforts and resources of the United Nations Integrated Peace building Office with other UN organizations, agencies and programmes in-country, as part of the international community’s efforts to help Sierra Leone enjoy durable peace and development.
By and large the Joint Vision represents a set of common goals aligned to the Government of Sierra Leone’s Agenda for Change (2008-2012), (Second generation Poverty Reduction Strategy) a national framework to maximize the United Nations family contribution to national development priorities. There are 20 Joint Vision Programme each with tangible benchmarks, outputs, activities and funding requirements. The Programme provide for a joint programming and evaluation framework to assess progress made towards the achievement of the vision’s overall priority to consolidate peace and stability. The following UN organizations and agencies agreed to the Joint Vision for Sierra Leone; UNIPSIL, UNDP, ILO, UNHCR, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNIDO UNIFEM, UNODC, WFP and WHO and have been playing a leading role.
With the extension of UNIPSIL Mandate, the UN Family together with development partners will reaffirm their commitment to strengthen their internal coordination that bring together all heads of the UN agencies, the World Bank and the African Development Bank under the Chairmanship of the ERSG, Mr. Michael Schulenburg. In doing so, resource mobilization is enhanced to meet their commitment on the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) to en able the government to further implement its programme tied to the MDTF. The MDTF does not only widen the donor base at a time of global resource constraints, but is designed to particularly attract donors who have no representation in the country, and who want to use the infrastructure of the UN family for their support.
In the face of the current funding gap of $174million of the MDTF, the extension of UNIPSIL Mandate is welcoming as the focus will be on resource mobilization to tackle the challenges in key priority areas of the Joint Vision which include amongst others democratic elections and political dialogue, Justice and Human Rights, Finance for Development, Commercialization Programme, Health, Education, Reparation to War Victims, Public Sector Reform, Security Sector Reform, Decentralization, Gender Equality, Youth Unemployment etc.
The extension came too at a time most expected as Sierra Leone receives a new Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission. Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski succeeds Ambassador John McNee as Chair of Sierra Leone Configuration and Permanent Representation of Canada to the United Nations. The New Chair will continue the work of his predecessor advocating for Sierra Leone with a focus to urge the international partners to increase their resource mobilization drive towards Peace consolidation and good governance. Ambassador Rishchynski will hammer home similar message of his predecessor sensitizing political parties and urging them to improve political dialogue towards a sense of healthy competition. Complimenting the role of UNIPSIL in providing technical assistance to all relevant stakeholders, the new PBC Chair in line with Resolution 1829(2005) will urge the Government and opposition parties to contribute to an atmosphere of political tolerance and peaceful co-existence, and to demonstrate their full commitment to the democratic process as to ensure that 2012 elections are peaceful, transparent, free and fair.
The Peacebuilding Commission is uniquely positioned to engender the opportunities for resources to be mobilized by a range of actors interested or invested in Sierra Leone, including Governments, international organizations, philanthropic and non-profit institutions, and the private sector, multinational corporations, NGOs, universities, business and technical schools. Between now and the 2012 elections, Government with the support of its international partners, including the PBC, has an important window of opportunity to offer hope to the youth on their future prospects. Such hope can only come through a combination of medium to long term and more structural interventions, on the one hand, and short-term activities, on the other hand, that offer more job opportunities. The strength of the Peace building Commission Sierra Leone Configuration resides with its members and with the resources, experience and expertise that each member individually and collectively can contribute.
With the UNIPSIL Mandate extended under the leadership of the Executive Representative of the Secretary-General, Mr. Michael Schulenburg, Sierra Leone continues to benefit from the unflinching UN support in different forms-financial, in kind, knowledge sharing and transfer, technical assistance, training, partnership and others. It is imperative that we welcome such message at a time when most yearned for to progress with our post-conflict development process unhindered.

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