February 2009 Monthly Forecast

Posted 29 January 2009
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Sierra Leone

Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to consider the first report of the new UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) in early February. (Its mandate expires on 30 September.) Council members will be looking closely to see whether the UNIPSIL model is adding value.

Key Recent Developments
On 4 August the Council adopted resolution 1829 which established UNIPSIL as a replacement for the UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) for 12 months beginning on 1 October 2008. The Council required UNIPSIL to focus on support to the government of Sierra Leone in:

  • providing political support to national and local efforts in identifying and resolving tensions and threats of potential conflict;
  • monitoring and promoting human rights, democratic institutions and the rule of law;
  • consolidating good governance reforms, especially antiā€‘corruption instruments such as the Anti-Corruption Commission; and
  • supporting efforts towards decentralisation, a review of the 1991 Constitution and enactment of relevant legislation.

The Council welcomed the peaceful and democratic local elections in July 2008 as another important milestone in consolidating sustainable peace in the country. It also emphasised the importance of the continued support of the UN system and the international community for the long-term peace, security and development of Sierra Leone.

UNIPSIL was tasked with coordinating the work of the various UN funds, agencies and programmes in the country. The Council stressed the need for the UN system to support and cooperate fully with UNIPSIL. UNIPSIL was also mandated to coordinate with the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and support its work, as well as implement the Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework and projects supported through the Peacebuilding Fund. The Council requested a progress report by 31 January 2009. (The Secretary-General in his April 2008 report had recommended that the Council establish a UN peacebuilding office to tackle the political, economic and peacebuilding challenges facing Sierra Leone.)

The representative of Sierra Leone welcomed the resolution as another “significant phase in the United Nations experiment in post-conflict peacebuilding” and expressed gratitude for the support of the international community in that regard. He said that Sierra Leone needed sustained UN support to achieve the goals of the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework in the areas of energy, justice and security sector development, youth employment, governance and capacity-building. He also emphasised the need for continued support for the country if the risks to peace and security are to be contained.

Michael von der Schulenburg (who had been acting UN Representative since May) was appointed executive representative of the Secretary-General in Sierra Leone on 8 January. In accordance with Council resolution 1829, he concurrently serves as Resident Representative of the UNDP and UN Resident Coordinator.

Related Developments in the PBC
On 15 December the Commission held its second biannual review of progress in implementing the 7 December 2007 Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework, resulting in the adoption of conclusions and recommendations including:

  • recommending that the government of Sierra Leone finalise its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, strengthen its monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, and put in place emergency plans and long-term strategies for energy sector investment and development;
  • calling on the UN and international partners to direct budgetary funding and contribute to UN multi-donor efforts on Sierra Leone, and assist the poverty reduction strategy and change agenda; and
  • calling on the PBC itself to galvanise all stakeholders to support Sierra Leone in attaining its priorities, including assisting the government in widening its donor base.

On 7 January the Organisational Commitee of the PBC confirmed Ambassador Frank Majoor of the Netherlands as chair of the Sierra Leone configuration as it commenced its third year of work.

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is whether UNIPSIL is adding value to sustainable peace consolidation. A second issue is whether there are areas where Council attention is needed to sustain progress.

The main option the Council may consider is whether to respond at this time to note developments in the country (and if so, whether to issue a formal statement) or to wait until after the second report in May.

Council Dynamics
The content of the first report will likely influence members’ positions on next steps. The presence of the new members of the Council—Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda—is not expected to significantly affect the dynamics of the Council in terms of the currently existing consensus among members towards consolidating peace in Sierra Leone through peacebuilding.

The UK is the lead country on this issue in the Council.

Underlying Problems
Some of the serious socioeconomic problems that were factors in the war remain. These include widespread poverty and youth unemployment, in addition to inadequate resources to effectively combat endemic corruption and the drug trafficking challenges currently beginning to affect most of the West African subregion. While significant gains have been made in national reconstruction efforts since the end of the country’s civil war, Sierra Leone remains at the bottom of the UNDP Human Development Index. Also, the national and local elections highlighted the fact that political tensions and divisions along ethnic and geographical lines are still close to the surface.

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UN Documents

Selected Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/1829 (4 August 2008) authorised the creation of UNIPSIL to replace UNIOSIL for one year commencing 1 October 2008.
  • 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, and specific proposals on the successor office.

Selected Secretary-General’s Report

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


  • S/2009/18 and S/2009/17 (8 January 2009) was the exchange of letters between the Secretary-General and the Council president on the appointment of Michael von der Schulenburg as the executive representative for UNIPSIL.
  • S/PV.5948 (4 August 2008) was the record of the meeting resulting in the adoption of resolution 1829 establishing UNIPSIL.
  • S/2008/137 (28 February 2008) was a letter from the Council president requesting further information on the drawdown of UNIOSIL between the 5 July 2008 local elections and the completion the mandate of UNIOSIL 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/3/SLE/2 (15 December 2008) outlined conclusions and recommendations of the second biannual review of the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework.
  • PBC/2/SLE/SR.4 (19 June 2008) was the summary record of the Sierra Leone configuration’s fourth meeting (biannual review of the Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework and report of the PBC’s visit to Sierra Leone between 1-7 June 2008.)
  • 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

UNIPSIL Executive Representative of the Secretary-General

Michael von der Schulenburg (Germany)

Size and Composition of Mission

Staff strength (as of December 2008); 14 international civilian, one local civilian, five military observers, two police and nine UN volunteers


1 October 2008 to present; current mandate expires 30 September 2009

Full forecast


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