Dear Mr. Chairman,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to make the following statement on behalf of the EU countries.
We would like to start by thanking the outgoing Chairman Ambassador Frank Majoor, the Permanent Representative of the Netherlands, for his enormous contribution to the process of Peacebuilding in Sierra Leone and congratulate, Ambassador John McNee, the Permanent Representative of Canada on his new assignment.
Ambassador Majoor has participated in the work of the CSC for Sierra Leone since its creation in June 2006 when the Security Council decided to refer Sierra Leone to the Peacebuilding Commission. Much has been accomplished under his leadership. In December of 2007, the PBC adopted a cooperation framework for Sierra Leone. In December 2008, the second bi-annual review noted substantial achievements of the Government and outlined remaining challenges which include, inter alia, the need to revive donor coordination, implement anti-corruption measures, launch the Poverty Reduction Strategy Process as soon as possible, and to develop sector strategies.
In the last five years, Sierra Leone has shown relatively good economic performance with growth acceding 7%. However, its economy and budget are still too dependent on external resources (more than 40%). Sierra Leone’s economy is not diversified and remains highly dependent on the primary sectors such as mining and agriculture. More than 70% of the population lives below the national poverty line; the unemployment rate especially that of the youth is very high (estimated at 75%). At present terms, Sierra Leone is unlikely to achieve the Millenium Development Goals by 2015.
It is important that the PBC and the wider international community continue their engagement in support of UNIPSIL and wider peacebuilding efforts in the country. Sierra Leone is making great strides towards consolidated peace and development, but in a difficult local and global environment it needs consistent and predictable international support.
In December of 2007, a joint European Commission strategy for Sierra Leone was signed in Lisbon allocating 240 million Euros over the period of five years, primarily for good governance and institutional support, rehabilitation of priority infrastructure and general budget support.
We wish the new Chairman Ambassador McNee every success in his new position. As you know, the EU strongly supports the conflict prevention and post-conflict activities of the UN and regards the Peacebuilding Commission as a very important element of the security architecture of the United Nations.
Your Excellency, you can, therefore, count on the continuous support of the European Union countries.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.