It is a great pleasure to join you for this High-Level Stakeholders Consultation on Sierra Leone. On behalf of the United Nations allow me to congratulate the people and the Government of Sierra Leone and the Peacebuilding Commission on your impressive partnership over the last two years.
The adoption of the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework on 12 December 2007 represents a major milestone in this partnership. The Framework is grounded in the three fundamental principles of effective peacebuilding: national ownership, mutual accountability and sustained engagement. It is an unprecedented and an innovative engagement instrument which succinctly captures commitments of the Government of Sierra Leone, the Peacebuilding Commission, the United Nations and other stakeholders to address the remaining peacebuilding challenges in the country.
The Framework correctly recognizes that the primary responsibility to address the peacebuilding challenges rests with the people and the Government of Sierra Leone. At the same time, it acknowledges that the international community, including the Peacebuilding Commission and the United Nations family, should remain engaged in the country, and that our continued support for national efforts remains vital.
Given targeted support from member states, the UN and all other relevant stakeholders, the implementation of the Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework can mark the difference between a Sierra Leone burdened by persistent threats to its peace and stability, and a Sierra Leone that has the opportunity to successfully consolidate peace.
I sincerely hope that today's high-level event will result in clear commitments for support to the implementation of the Framework either through existing programs or by initiating new partnerships. Our collective and individual support will be critical to sustaining Sierra Leone's impressive progress towards peace, development and prosperity.
The United Nations has played and will continue to play an important role in supporting Sierra Leone's efforts for peace and development. I would like to assure you of our continued support for the work of the Peacebuilding Commission and the implementation of the Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework.
The Peacebuilding Commission has already demonstrated its value by accompanying Sierra Leone through successful national elections and the democratic transition process and by broadening its donor base and enhancing government and donor partnerships. Today's High-Level Stakeholders Consultation provides an opportunity to build on these achievements and to capitalize on this strategic moment for change and reform in Sierra Leone.
I wish you much success in your deliberations and look forward to the outcomes of this important Consultation.