Sierra Leone has made significant strides in securing peace after prolonged violent conflict, but while peace has been secured it has yet to be consolidated.
The United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), a field mission managed by the Department of Political Affairs, brings together the political, development and humanitarian mandates of the UN family in Sierra Leone, to provide an integrated support to the Government in fostering peace and stability and advancing social and economic development.
The Office is headed by the Secretary-General’s Executive Representative (ERSG), Michael von der Schulenberg, and has five substantive units, a Political and Peace Consolidation Section; Human Rights and Rule of Law Section; a Democratic Institutions Section; a Police and Security Section as well as a Joint Strategic Planning Unit. Its activities reflect the Joint Vision of the UN Family for Sierra Leone, a strategic framework which outlines common priority areas as well as joint UN operational and logistics arrangements.
Nearly a decade after the end of the armed conflict, essential public security has been restored in Sierra Leone through a restructured security sector, significant progress has been made in curbing illicit diamond mining, and the state’s authority extended throughout the country. Sierra Leone has now begun taking systematic steps towards confronting its longer-term development challenges, and to address the root causes of conflict.
An outbreak of political violence, in March 2009, served as a wake-up call for the Government and people of Sierra Leone on the critical challenges that require urgent and continued attention. The violence also served as a stark reminder for the international community of the importance of its continued support for Sierra Leone’s peace consolidation process. Throughout the clashes, UNIPSIL actively intervened in support of national authorities to help end the unfolding violence, and the mission has worked subsequently to assist in the implementation of the commitments contained in the Joint Communiqué adopted to quell the violence.
Sierra Leone was selected as one of the first country-specific cases to receive the attention of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission.