November 2007 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 October 2007
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AFRICA

Sierra Leone

Expected Council Action
A long overdue report from the Secretary-General on the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), including proposals for defining UNIOSIL’s future role, could lead experts to begin work on a draft resolution.  The UNIOSIL mandate expires on 31 December.

Recent Developments
Ernest Bai Koroma of the All People’s Congress won Sierra Leone’s presidential runoff election on 8 September and was sworn in as president on 19 September.  Stability appears to have been achieved following tension and violence before and immediately after the runoff election. However, the situation remains fragile. 

On 18 September, the Secretariat briefed Council members on the presidential elections. The Council issued a press statement that noted the results of the elections and encouraged the international community to sustain its support to Sierra Leone.

On 9 October, the Special Court for Sierra Leone sentenced two former leaders of the pro-government militia, Civil Defense Forces, to terms of six and eight years respectively, for war crimes committed during the country’s civil war.

Related Developments in the Peacebuilding Commission

The chairman of the PBC’s Sierra Leone country-specific configuration, Ambassador Frank Majoor of the Netherlands, visited the country on 11 October to follow-up on the post-election situation and development of the Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework. The Framework had been delayed due to the elections.  The chairman subsequently briefed the PBC Sierra Leone configuration on 19 October on his trip.  The expectation is for the Framework to be finalised by the end of year.

Key Issues
Key issues before the Council include the future of UNIOSIL and effective consolidation of peace.  A related issue is how to factor into Council consideration of these issues the advice of the PBC.  Another issue relates to residual matters from the Special Court.

Options
Options include:

  • maintaining the current mandate of UNIOSIL;
  • transforming UNIOSIL into a purely political mission; and
  • enhancing collaboration with the PBC in peace consolidation and in integrating its advice into the Council’s decisions.

Council Dynamics
Council members (especially African members and the UK) attach importance to avoiding a premature Council disengagement, especially against the backdrop of recent violence surrounding the elections, which were seen as a test of the country’s recovery from the 1991-2002 civil war.  Some Council members seem open to the possibility of a decision to transition towards withdrawal of the military component of UNIOSIL and transforming its mandate into a political mission.

In terms of the dynamics affecting the interface between the Council and the PBC on this issue, the Council appears to be largely ceding activities relating to effective consolidation of peace and stability to the PBC.  (The PBC has been involved in tackling the root causes of the past conflict, enhancing good governance, supporting economic recovery, as well as requisite security sector reforms, and promoting access to justice and human rights).  But it remains unclear how Council members will involve the PBC in its decision-making process.  There was some unhappiness following the recent Council debate on the PBC annual report regarding the extent of participation.

The UK and Ghana are the lead countries on this issue.

Underlying Problems
Root causes of the war, including youth unemployment and poor living standards remain.

UN Documents

 Selected Security Council Resolutions
  • S/RES/1750  (30 March 2007) noted that UNMIL should continue to provide administrative and related support and security for activities in Liberia of the Special Court of Sierra Leone.
  • S/RES/1734  (22 December 2006) extended the mandate of UNIOSIL until 31 December 2007 and requested a comprehensive assessment of UNIOSIL’s role closer to the election date.
 Selected Presidential Statement
  • S/PRST/2007/23 (28 June 2007) was on the work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
 Selected Secretary-General’s Report
  • S/2007/257 (7 May 2007) was the fourth report of the Secretary-General on UNIOSIL.
  Other
  • SC/9121 (19 September 2007) was on the results of the run-off presidential elections.
  Peacebuilding Commission
  • PBC/SIL/2006 SR.3  (13 December 2006) and  SR.4  (13 December 2006) were the summary records of the third and fourth meetings of the PBC.
  • PBC/OC/1/2  (21 June 2006) was a letter from the Council president to the Secretary-General referring Sierra Leone to the PBC.

Other Relevant Facts

 UNIOSIL Executive Representative of the Secretary-General
 Victor da Silva Ângelo (Portugal)
 Size and Composition of Mission
 Total budgeted staff of 298, comprising 82 international staff, 192 local staff and 24 UN volunteers
 Duration
 1 January 2006 to present; current mandate expires 31 December 2007

Full forecast