22 December 2006
Security Council
SC/8924

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

5608th Meeting (AM)


Security Council extends UN office in sierra leone until 31 december 2007,


unanimously adopting resolution 1734 (2006)

 


Emphasizing the importance of the continued support of the United Nations system and the international community for Sierra Leone’s long-term peace, security and development, the Security Council today extended the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) until 31 December 2007.


Unanimously adopting resolution 1734 (2006), the Council also endorsed the Secretary-General’s recommendation for an increase in the number of UNIOSIL personnel for a period from 1 January 2007 to 31 October 2007 in order to enhance the support provided by UNIOSIL for the July 2007 elections in Sierra Leone.


Calling upon the Secretary-General to conduct a comprehensive assessment of UNIOSIL’s role closer to the election date, with a view to developing an exit strategy, the Council called upon all parties in Sierra Leone to demonstrate their full commitment to the democratic process and to ensure that the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections are peaceful, transparent, free and fair.


The Council also called on Sierra Leone’s Government to provide the necessary support for the electoral institutions and urged Member States to provide technical and material support, including addressing the shortfall in the electoral budget.


Emphasizing that Sierra Leone’s Government bears the primary responsibility for peacebuilding, support and the country’s long-term development, the Council encouraged its Government to continue its close engagement with the Peacebuilding Commission.  It also called on the Government, the United Nations Office and all other stakeholders in the country to, among other things, increase efforts to promote good governance, improve accountability, promote the private sector’s development, strengthen the judiciary and promote human rights.


Calling upon Sierra Leone’s Government to expedite the implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the Council called on Member States to assist the Government in funding the activities of the National Human Rights Commission.


Speaking after the adoption of the text, the United Kingdom’s representative said the resolution recognized the huge steps Sierra Leone had taken in the past few years, particularly the last 12 months since the last United Nations peacekeeper left.  Sierra Leone, the sight of one of Africa’s most gruesome civil wars had, over the past months, moved forward.  Crucial to reconciliation and the establishment of the rule of law was the work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the detention and forthcoming trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.  Over the next year, the Government’s efforts must be consolidated.


There was still a mountain to climb, however, with adult literacy at 35 per cent and the probability of living past 40 at only 47 per cent.  In that regard, he saw three priority areas, namely the fight against corruption, civil service reform and the development of clear policies to generate economic development and to tackle youth unemployment and poverty.  2007 would be a milestone year.  July’s elections would be crucial towards building a sustainable democracy.  All parties must demonstrate their commitment to a full democratic process.  International support would be vital.


Highlighting the need for further work in Sierra Leone on implementing resolution 1325 (2000), he said gender inequality remained a serious problem.  Women needed to participate fully in the 2007 elections, both as electors and as candidates.  A gender perspective was needed to implement the mandate agreed on today.


As Sierra Leone was a country close to the heart and home of the Secretary-General, the representative of the United Kingdom said it was appropriate that it should be one of the last resolutions adopted by the Council under the tenure of the Secretary-General, who had demonstrated tireless commitment over his professional lifetime to building peace and prosperity in Africa.  Africa and Sierra Leone were better places thanks to his efforts, as was the United Nations.


The representative of the Netherlands, speaking as Chair of the Country-Specific Meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission on Sierra Leone, said the Commission’s organizational committee had selected Sierra Leone to be one of the first countries to be considered by the Commission.  Highlighting key outcomes of the discussions, he said Sierra Leone had achieved important objectives in restoring peace and promoting post-conflict recovery.  Members of the Government agreed that specific challenges needed to be addressed, including issues of social and youth employment, justice and security sector reform and capacity-building.  Declared eligible to benefit from the Peacebuilding Fund, Sierra Leone was to receive a country envelope of some $25 million.


Discussions within the framework of country-specific meetings had demonstrated members’ intention to use the Peacebuilding Commission to the benefit of countries under consideration, he said.  The Commission’s last meeting had built on the first meeting in narrowing the focus on areas requiring additional investment to allow Sierra Leone to build sustainable peace.  While the Commission was new, there was an acute awareness of both the potential and responsibility to exploit it to the fullest.  The foundation for a comprehensive approach to post-conflict reconstruction had been laid, as had the basis for strong partnership.  The deepening of that partnership would help to define the Peacebuilding Commission as a useful body in peace consolidation in Sierra Leone.


The meeting began at 10:44 a.m. and adjourned at 11 a.m.


Resolution


The complete text of resolution 1734 (2006) reads as follows:


The Security Council,


Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the situation in Sierra Leone, in particular resolutions 1688 (2006) and 1620 (2005),


Commending the valuable contribution that the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) has made to the recovery of Sierra Leone from conflict and to the country’s peace, security and development,


Considering the report of the Secretary-General of 28 November (S/2006/922) and welcoming his recommendation that the mandate of UNIOSIL is extended for a further 12 months until 31 December 2007 with a view to providing continued peacebuilding assistance to the Government of Sierra Leone and preparing for the general elections in July 2007,


Noting the letter of 27 November from the President of Sierra Leone to the Secretary-General that likewise emphasizes the need for the mandate of UNIOSIL to be extended for a further 12 months,


Stressing that the July 2007 elections and the wide acceptance of their outcome will be a major milestone indicating the sustainability of peace and security in Sierra Leone, which should also help to define UNIOSIL’s exit strategy,


Emphasizing the importance of the continued support of the United Nations system and the international community for the long-term peace, security and development of Sierra Leone, particularly through strengthening the capacity of the Government of Sierra Leone,


Taking note of the Peacebuilding Commission country specific meetings of 12 October and 13 December 2006, which discussed four priority areas for peacebuilding efforts in Sierra Leone as well as gaps in those areas, recommended next steps for peacebuilding, and noted the determination of the Government of Sierra Leone to coordinate and prioritize work in country, working with UNIOSIL, donors, international institutions, civil society and the private sector to take forward these priorities in order to help bring about a sustainable peace,


Welcoming the progress made in reforming the security sector in Sierra Leone and, in particular, the developing professionalism of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces and police, and urging further strengthening and rationalizing of the security architecture so that the police and Armed Forces are sustainable in the long term and able to carry out their tasks effectively, in particular in connection with the elections in July 2007,


Welcoming the launch in July 2006 of the Improved Governance and Accountability Pact (IGAP) agreed between main donors and the Government of Sierra Leone, which sets out 10 critical governance commitments, including on anti-corruption, public procurement, civil service reform and democracy, and a further 10 donor principles of engagement to improve aid effectiveness,


Reiterating its appreciation for the work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone and its vital contribution to reconciliation and the rule of law in Sierra Leone and the subregion, stressingthe importance of the forthcoming trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor by the Court and the progress being made in other trials, reiterating its expectation that the Court will finish its work expeditiously, noting in this regard the Secretary-General’s letter of 27 November, and calling upon Member States to contribute generously to the Court,


Encouraging the Member States of the Mano River Union and other regional organizations to continue their dialogue aimed at building regional peace and security,


“1.   Decides to extend the mandate of UNIOSIL, as outlined in resolution 1620 (2005), until 31 December 2007;


“2.   Endorses the increase in the number of personnel of UNIOSIL recommended in paragraph 70 of the report of the Secretary-General of 28 November for a period from 1 January 2007 to 31 October 2007 in order to enhance the support provided by UNIOSIL for the elections and its ability to carry out its functions elsewhere in Sierra Leone;


“3.   Calls upon the Secretary-General to conduct a comprehensive assessment of UNIOSIL’s role, closer to the election date, with a view to developing its exit strategy;


“4.   Calls upon all parties in Sierra Leone to demonstrate their full commitment to the democratic process and to ensure that the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections are peaceful, transparent, free and fair;


“5.   Calls upon the Government of Sierra Leone to provide the necessary support for the electoral institutions and urges Member States to provide technical and material support including to address the shortfall in the electoral budget;


“6.   Emphasizes that the Government of Sierra Leone bears the primary responsibility for peacebuilding, security and long-term development in the country, encourages the Government of Sierra Leone to continue its close engagement with the Peacebuilding Commission and international donors to continue to provide support to the Government;


“7.   Calls upon the Government of Sierra Leone, UNIOSIL and all other stakeholders in the country to increase their efforts to promote good governance, including through continued measures to combat corruption, improve accountability, promote the development of the private sector to generate wealth and employment opportunities, strengthen the judiciary and promote human rights;


“8.   Calls upon the Government of Sierra Leone to expedite the implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and calls upon Member States to assist the Government in funding the activities of the National Human Rights Commission;


“9.   Emphasizes the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding, as recognized in resolution 1325 (2000), underlines that a gender perspective should be taken into account in implementing all aspects of the mandate of UNIOSIL, welcomes in this regard the action plan developed by UNIOSIL, encourages UNIOSIL to work with the Government of Sierra Leone in this area, and requests the Secretary-General to ensure there is adequate capacity, expertise and resources within UNIOSIL to carry out this work;

“10.  Requests the Secretary-General, where appropriate, to include in his reporting to the Council progress on gender mainstreaming throughout UNIOSIL and all other aspects relating to the situation of women and girls, especially in relation to the need to protect them from gender-based violence;


“11.  Welcomes the efforts undertaken by UNIOSIL to implement the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse to ensure full compliance of its personnel with the United Nations code of conduct;


“12.  Requests the Secretary-General to keep the Council regularly informed of progress made in the implementation of the mandate of UNIOSIL and this resolution;


“13.  Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”


Background


The Security Council had before it the Secretary-General’s third report on the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) (document S/2006/922), in which he recommends extending the Office’s mandate for an additional 12 months, until 31 December 2007.  While Sierra Leone continues to make progress in peacebuilding efforts, the country still faces major challenges and will need the international community’s sustained support for the foreseeable future, especially in its efforts to address the root causes of the past conflict.  Noting the 12 October meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission on Sierra Leone and its decision that the country is eligible to benefit from the Peacebuilding Fund, he urges Sierra Leone’s Government to work closely with the Commission to make further progress in consolidating peace in the country.


Regarding the security sector, while noting progress in enhancing the security sector’s capacity, the Secretary-General stresses the need to further strengthen and rationalize Sierra Leone’s security architecture, so that both the Sierra Leone police and the Armed Forces could be sustainable in the long term and carry out their tasks effectively, in particular in connection with the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections.  Efforts to promote good governance and fight corruption should be stepped up, and much more needs to be done to transform the private sector into a driving force of the economy.  Greater attention should also be paid to the urgent needs of the judiciary and the promotion of human rights, especially those of women.


The successful conduct of the 2007 elections and the wide acceptance of the outcome will be important indicators of the sustainability of peace and stability in the country, the Secretary-General adds.  Sierra Leone needs considerable technical and material support from its international partners to ensure the success of the elections.  Noting in that regard that the $7 million electoral budget shortfall remains a major source of concern, he appeals to Member States to contribute the resources required to close the funding gap.


The Secretary-General also recommends that the Council approve the increase of the strength of the UNIOSIL Military Liaison Team by five additional officers and that of the Police Section by 10 additional police officers to ensure effective support for Sierra Leone’s security sector in carrying out its election-related responsibilities.  In calling upon Sierra Leone’s partners to stay the course, he also reiterates the importance of the Government’s honouring its obligation to support the electoral institutions, the National Electoral Commission and the Political Parties Registration Commission, with the necessary staffing and other resources.


The period beginning in early 2007 will be critical for the electoral preparations, the Secretary-General states.  UNIOSIL has made a significant contribution in assisting the Government to consolidate peace and address the root causes of the conflict over the past 12 months.  The July 2007 elections will be a major milestone, which should help define an exit strategy for UNIOSIL.  In that regard, it would be important to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the Office’s role, closer to the election date, with a view to defining its exit point after the elections.


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