UNITED NATIONS POPULATION INFORMATION NETWORK (POPIN)
UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

94-09-08: Statement of Sierra Leone, H.E. Mr. Bassie G. Bangura

ISO: SLE

 

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The electronic preparation of this document has been done by the

Population Information Network(POPIN) of the United Nations Population

Division in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme

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 AS WRITTEN







SIERRA LEONE STATEMENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL

CONFERENCE ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT, CAIRO,

1994 BY MR. BASSIE G. BANGURA, UNDER SECRETARY OF

STATE, DEPARTMENT OF DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC

PLANNING.



  Mr. Chairman,

  Distinguished Heads of States and Ministers,

  Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen.



1. I bring warm felicitations from my Head of State and Chairman of the

National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC), His Excellency Captain

Valentine E. M. Strasser and the friendly people of Sierra Leone. May I

take the opportunity to express thanks and appreciation to the

Government of Egypt for hosting this conference and the organizers of

ICPD .94 for the wonderful preparatory work for this conference.



2. I also on behalf of our Government, express profound gratitude to the

Government and People of Egypt for the warm hospitality extended to us

and the excellent arrangements made for this conference.



3. Mr. Chairman, this meeting is timely because of increased

international concerns for and emerging consensus on the current major

issues on population and development. I wish to inform this august body

that because of our Government's commitment to population and

development issues not only in Sierra Leone but the world at large, Our

country has participated in and implemented recommendations from the

World Population Conferences since the Bucharest, conference held in

1974. Our delegation's desire to participate in finalizing the Programme

of Action on Population and Development is unaifested by our presence

here in Cairo.



4. Immense efforts have been made by my Government to implement

recommendations of the 1974 World Plan of Action and the 1984

Kilimanjaro Programme of Action and now the 1992 Dakar/Ngor Declaration.

Since the 1984 Mexico Conference, the Government has formulated and

adopted a National Population Policy for Development, Progress and

Welfare in 1988 and in 1989 respectively. In 1990, it endorsed the goals

of the World Summit for Children. A Plan of Action for population was

also formulated in 1991 and implementation started in 1992. A Policy and

Plan of Action for Health complementing the Population Plan of Action

and emphasizing among ,other things Safe Motherhood Reproductive Health

especially for girls and martial adolescents and family planning have

been adopted by our Government.



5. The government continues to view demographic trends the country is

experiencing such as high population growth, infant and child mortality,

maternal mortality and morbidity and rural urban migration rates as

unsatisfactory in relation to socio-economic development. Some of the

social issues are being addressed in our new educational system which

among other things seeks to provide our youth especially girls, with

more opportunities for sound and quality education. On the economic

front the repayment of our country's huge external debt as well as the

implementation of structural adjustment programmes have extremely

curtailed the capacity of my government to moderate demographic trends

and to provide much needed social services.



6. Therefore reducing infant and maternal mortality increasing access to

primary education closing the gender gap and providing family planning

services are goals that have been adopted at the World Summit for

Children and are part of the plan of action under discussion at this

conference. I want to reaffirm our government's commitment to tackle

these issues and to fully endorse the ICPD Programme of Action.



7. We fully endorse the emphasis in the plan of action pertaining to

population distribution and redistribution. This is because my

government is under immense pressure in coping with problems emanating

in the rebel war in Liberia which has spilled over into Sierra Leone.

The number of displaced persons as a result of this war was estimated as

372 thousand in September 1993. In addition there are about 176 thousand

and 117 thousand Sierra Leonean refugees in neighboring Guinea and

Liberia respectively. The hosting of Liberian refugees and displaced

persons has resulted in excessive pressure on the country's social and

economic infrastructure and services especially in our towns. As well

the rebel incursion into my country has considerably interrupted

economic activity in large sections of the country.



8. Since the National Provisional Ruling Council came to power in April

1992, our government has demonstrated a strong political will and

positive commitment towards population activities. Thus the 1985

population and housing census results were adopted by the government in

May 1992. In December 1992 the National Family Planning Programme was

established. Government officially published the National Population

Policy Document in the Sierra Leone Gazette as a Government Notice no.

82. of April 1992.

The implementation of a national information education and communication

programme has been approved by our government in 1994. In addition

government has met its financial obligation to the UNFPA Global Funds.



9. Following the adoption of the National Population Policy a number of

strategies have been formulated to consider the integration of

population into sectors such as health, education, housing, environment,

women and youth.



10. Apart from the policies mentioned above a number of institutions

have been set up to address population related issues. Thus, a separate

Department of Youth, Sports and Social Mobilization have been

established to look after the problems of youth and adolescents. In

1992, the National Youth and Social Mobilization Secretariat was also

established to promote activities pertaining to youth. As well, the

government has set up the National Rehabilitation committee and office to

coordinate emergency relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction

programmes and activities of various agencies in the war affected areas.

Programmes have been formulated by sectoral departments to address the

rehabilitation and reconstruction requirements in agriculture,

education, health, water and sanitation, housing and human settlement.

Government is seeking international assistance in the implementation of

this Programme. However, our efforts are thwarted by the rebel war which

has not only stifled our national economy but has also uprooted

substantial percentage of our population.



11. Policies, plans and projects have been formulated and are being

implemented to enhance the condition and status of the Sierra Leonean

woman. A major step to promote the integration of women in the

development process occurred in 1988 when the Women's Bureau, the

official body responsible for the coordination, supervision, monitoring

and evaluation of programmes for women was formed. A Gender desk has

been set up at the office of the Head of State to review women's

activities covering the Decade for Women, and to prepare for the African

regional Conference in Dakar in November, 1994 and the Beijing Conference

in 1995. Non-Governmental organization such as the Sierra Leone Women

Development Movement Organization and Young Women Christian Association

and other NGOs are implementing projects and programmes to enhance the

status of women, whose economic, social and political empowerment our

government considers crucial in the socio-economic and cultural development

of our country.



12. Government is developing the National Environmental Action Plan with

financial assistance from the World Bank. The action plan provides the

framework for the integration of development ,population and

environmental factors in order to promote environmentally sound

sustainable development. The action plan also contains proposed projects

on such topics as population and urbanization, gender issues and

development and environmental management.



13. I now turn my attention to the very important issue of Sierra

Leone's and other African countries financial requirement for the

implementation of ICPD. 1994 in the framework of the Dakar/Ngor

Declaration. My Government thinks that the provision envisaged in the

Programme of action is inadequate considering our substantial

requirements in the areas of population and sustainable development.

While my government will do everything possible to mobilize domestic

resources for these activities I would like to appeal to the

international donor community to generously supplement our meager

resources. In this connection I would like to take this opportunity to

thank our many donors and benefactors, in particular, UNFPA, UNDP,

UNICEF, WHO, The World Bank, USAID, PathFinder Fund and IPPF who in

various ways throughout the years have helped to build our institutional

capacity for population programming. Furthermore the government is

committed to increasing its allocation of resources for population and

social programmes in the coming years. I strongly believe that if our

donors can similarly contribute more financial resources to the social

sector priorities Sierra Leone and other African countries would be in a

position to implement the Programme of action for ICPD. 94.



 14. To conclude, Mr. Chairman, I would like to appeal to countries

represented here, especially those from Africa, to take seriously the

implementation of ICPD.  94 in order to march words with action. In this

connection, my government would provide full backing and

cooperation to activities to assess and monitor such implementations

like those proposed by the United Nations Economic Commission for

Africa.



15. I thank You.


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