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Sierra Leone: UN fund approves projects to assist peacebuilding efforts

Sierra Leone: UN fund approves projects to assist peacebuilding efforts

The United Nations fund set up to help address the immediate needs of countries emerging from conflict today approved four new projects to support the ongoing electoral process and improve the judiciary, water, sanitation and health facilities in Sierra Leone.

“The approval of these projects is timely and demand-driven,” Christian Holger Strohmann, Spokesperson for the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), said following the action taken today by the UN Peacebuilding Fund’s Steering Committee for Sierra Leone.

This brings the total number of projects approved by the Fund to date to seven, amounting to a little over $16 million, according to UNIOSIL. Previously, the Fund approved three projects related to youth employment and empowerment, and support to the country’s police and the National Human Rights Commission.

In March, Sierra Leone was allotted $35 million from the Fund, established from voluntary contributions to aid post-conflict countries from slipping back into turmoil.

The projects approved by the Fund seek to address critical gaps in priority areas identified jointly by the Government and the UN, in consultation with other partners including civil society organizations.

Launched in 2006, the Fund supports countries before the UN Peacebuilding Commission, currently Burundi and Sierra Leone, but is also available to countries in similar circumstances as designated by the Secretary-General.

“While the Commission’s engagement in the country was more medium-term and went beyond resource mobilization, the Fund concentrated on the short-term, making funds available for things that need and could be done at the present time,” stated Frank Majoor, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the UN and chairperson the Commission’s country specific meetings on Sierra Leone.

Meanwhile, in Freetown, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Executive Representative, Victor Angelo, hosted representatives of political parties contesting the August polls to a second inter-party dialogue.

Together they discussed ways to build confidence and mutual trust, as well as other preparations for the upcoming general elections in the West African country, which after 11 years of civil war has now entered a peace consolidation phase.