International experts, led by UN, kick off Ebola recovery assessment in Sierra Leone

Daily life in Freetown, Sierra Leone, one of three West African countries most affected by the outbreak of the Ebola virus. Photo: World Bank/Dominic Chavez

15 January 2015 – Spearheaded by the United Nations, a team of international experts has begun an Ebola Recovery Assessment (ERA) mission in Sierra Leone as part of an effort to partner with Governments to address the impact of the virus on affected countries.

The ERA mission is made up of experts from the European Union, World Bank and the African Development Bank. They are expected to finish their work this weekend in Accra, Ghana after a one-day stop in Guinea tomorrow.

The mission’s aim is to work with the Governments of the countries hardest hit by the virus –Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea – to assess critical areas that will spearhead economic and social recovery in the post-Ebola era.

According to a statement released by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, David McLachlan-Karr, the ERA is anchored in national ownership.

“Readjustment of some aspects of UN and development partner programmes will be needed to ensure that efforts to contain Ebola are not interrupted, while at the same time, preparing the ground work for future recovery programming,” McLachlan-Karr said in a statement today.

The UN Country Team has been working on adjusting the results of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), an anchoring development work plan, to ensure that all country plans are in line with supporting the Government eradicate Ebola and set the country back on the path to development.

Yesterday, members of the team met with Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr. Kaifala Marah, who underscored the need to include all stakeholders in the ERA process to avoid duplication of assessments and resource mobilization efforts.

Dr. Marah also pointed to the need to develop a recovery programme that was specific to the context of Sierra Leone. Key interventions are need in health and education sectors, as is support to the private sector and debt relief.

The leader of the inter-agency mission, Stan Nkwain, who is Deputy Director of the Bureau for Policy and Programme Support at the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said that the ERA’s four areas of focus – health, water and sanitation; infrastructure and basic services; socio-economic recovery; and peacebuilding – are closely aligned with the Government’s Agenda for Prosperity.

“As EVD [Ebola Virus Disease] is raging the region, and particularly in Sierra Leone, the ERA should go hand in hand with the EVD response, and especially enhance rather than distract from the response effort,” Mr. Nkwain said.

The ERA mission is a result of consultations between the UN and the Governments of the Mano River Union following the December visit of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon.


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