July 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 June 2008
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AFRICA

Sierra Leone

Expected Council Action
A Council resolution authorising the establishment of a follow on UN presence in Sierra Leone is expected. The new mission will be a peacebuilding office (of approximately sixty to seventy personnel) and will replace the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL), when its mandate expires on 30 September.

Members will also be paying close attention to the local council elections in Sierra Leone which are scheduled for 5 July.

Key Developments
On 7 May, Assistant Secretary-General Dmitry Titov briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s 29 April report. Titov said the situation in Sierra Leone was “generally calm” and that successful elections would represent an important step in democratisation. However, he noted concerns about tensions between supporters of the ruling party (All People’s Congress) and the primary opposition party (Sierra Leone People’s Party).

Titov also elaborated on the proposed functions for the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office (UNIPSIL), to assist the government of Sierra Leone with:

  • supporting the activities of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and Fund;
  • strengthening the justice sector;
  • supporting security sector reform;
  • pointing out and finding solutions to political tensions;
  • strengthening good governance;
  • providing economic and political opportunities to youth and women; and
    executing the Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework.

Other key elements as proposed by the Secretary-General included:

  • strengthening human rights, including through implementing recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (eg: reparations for war victims and ratifying international treaties and incorporating them into domestic law);
  • fostering regional peace by cooperating closely with other peace operations in the area; and
    supporting the development of an independent public broadcast system.

Ambassador Frank Majoor of the Netherlands, Chair of the PBC’s Country-Specific Meetings on Sierra Leone, briefed the Council on 7 May. He identified economic fragility, political tensions, youth unemployment, and the need for better coordination of PBC initiatives as challenges facing Sierra Leone.

On 14 May, at a meeting organised by UNIOSIL and the Political Parties Registration Committee in Freetown, representatives of major political parties committed to peaceful local council elections, while the police pledged to remain politically neutral.

Michael v. der Schulenburg was appointed Acting Executive Representative of the Secretary General in Sierra Leone on 27 May. (The post of Executive Representative has been vacant since December 2007.) He also serves as head of UNIOSIL.

Related Developments in the PBC
A high-level stakeholders’ consultation on implementation of the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework was held in New York on 19 May. Several participants—including Bangladesh, the European Community, India, the International Parliamentary Union, Japan, Sweden, the UN, and the World Bank—pledged continued or increased support through the Framework. The meeting highlighted the need for a policy for coordinating aid; the importance of youth employment and empowerment in consolidating peace; the importance of continued focus and follow-up on securing legal and constitutional reforms; and the need to develop an enabling business environment. The PBC held a review of the Framework on 19 June. It called for continued international support for the local council elections; recommended the development of a strategy for the Sierra Leonean energy sector; and encouraged greater international assistance to help Sierra Leone develop its agricultural and private sectors.


Options
Council options include:

  • early adoption of a resolution establishing UNIPSIL, so as to ensure that the transition to UNIPSIL can be well prepared prior to UNIOSIL’s mandate expiry on 30 September;
  • including in the resolution key messages regarding the need for continued international attention and engagement regarding peace consolidation in Sierra Leone; and
  • delaying consideration of the transition to a peacebuilding office until a later date, particularly if the elections produce renewed tensions.

Other Council options include:

  • welcoming the local elections; and
  • urging calm if the elections produce renewed tensions.

Key Issues
The key issue the Council faces is ensuring that the drawdown and completion of UNIOSIL’s mandate, and transition to a peacebuilding office in Sierra Leone, does not introduce any destabilising factors. (Members will have in mind that transition in Burundi to a UN Integrated Office was followed by renewed problems.)

Council Dynamics
Council members generally support the drawdown of UNIOSIL, the completion of its mandate and its transition to a peacebuilding office. There seems to be wide support in the Council for the Secretary-General’s recommendations for UNIPSIL’s mandate. Some residual security concerns remain regarding the transition to a smaller peacebuilding office—in light of the violence on the occasion of the 2007 presidential elections and difficulties in other countries—although these have been somewhat allayed by the relative calm leading up to the elections.

The UK is the lead country on this issue.

UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1793 (21 December 2007) extended the mandate of UNIOSIL until 30 September 2008 and requested a completion strategy for the mission by 31 January, as well as specific proposals on the successor office in April.

Selected Secretary-General’s Report

  • S/2008/281 (29 April 2008) was the latest report of the Secretary-General on UNIOSIL.

Other

  • S/2008/137 (28 February 2008) was a letter from the Council president requesting further information from the Secretary-General on the drawdown of UNIOSIL between the 5 July 2008 local elections and its completion in September 2008.
  • S/2008/63 (31 January 2008) was the letter from the Secretary-General conveying the completion strategy for UNIOSIL.
  • S/2007/777 (28 December 2007) was a letter conveying the annual report of the Sanctions Committee on Sierra Leone.

Peacebuilding Commission

  • PBC/2/SLE/6 (19 June 2008) outlined conclusions and recommendations of the biannual review of the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework.
  • PBC/2/SLE/5 (19 May 2008) was the chair’s summary of the high-level stakeholders consultation on Sierra Leone.
  • PBC/2/SLE/1 (3 December 2007) was the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework.
  • 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 Acting Executive Representative of the Secretary-General

Michael v. der Schulenburg (Germany)

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 30 September 2008

Full forecast