Counselor for Economic and Social Affairs
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
December 10, 2020
Thank you, Ambassador, for convening today’s important discussion on Sierra Leone’s pursuit of long-term peace, stability, and security. And thank you to the Deputy Secretary-General, Ministers Tunis and Kai-Kai, and Ms. Edwin for sharing your valuable perspectives, and reminding us of the important role of women in achieving peace and stability. Today’s discussion is not only an opportunity to take stock of Sierra Leone’s extraordinary efforts to consolidate peacebuilding gains in recent years, but also an example of the powerful impact that the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund can have in partner countries.
As we have heard from other briefers and delegations today, Sierra Leone has persevered through adversity and demonstrated extraordinary progress in maintaining peace, strengthening democracy, and laying the foundation for economic growth. The people of Sierra Leone have shown tremendous resilience and the capacity to rebuild after crises, including a devastating civil war and the Ebola outbreak just years ago.
Just as we stood with the people of Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis, the United States is supporting Sierra Leone’s COVID-19 response and recovery efforts now. The United States has provided more than $6 million in health and humanitarian assistance to support Sierra Leone’s pandemic response, which can help preserve its hard-earned peacebuilding gains in recent years.
As Sierra Leone looks beyond the conclusion of its Country Chair Configuration, we are pleased to join the Peacebuilding Commission in identifying some key development and peacebuilding priorities that we believe will help further consolidate Sierra Leone’s peacebuilding gains. These include strengthening democratic institutions, combatting corruption, and prioritizing public service delivery, particularly by allocating more funds and resources to public health. We look forward to working with Sierra Leone and through the PBC to advance these priorities.
The Government of Sierra Leone has also made notable progress in establishing a market-based economy and taken steps to protect worker rights. To diversify the country’s economy and contribute to Sierra Leone’s private sector growth and development, the government should also prioritize improving its investment climate for foreign businesses.
In the security sector, Sierra Leone and the United States partnered to establish its Transnational Organized Crime Unit, which has led to illicit drug seizures and the first-ever convictions for human trafficking. We have also supported the government’s efforts to strengthen its criminal justice system, which has bolstered respect for human rights and the rule of law. We look forward to our continued partnership with Sierra Leone to build on these achievements and efforts to advance democratic governance.
Mr. Chairman, we know that peace consolidation and peacebuilding are not easy, particularly in the age of COVID-19. But Sierra Leone’s efforts to achieve national healing, reconciliation, social cohesion, and promote solidarity are encouraging after decades of instability and conflict. The United States has been proud to contribute to this nationally-led process and will continue to support the people of Sierra Leone bilaterally and through the work of the PBC in their pursuit of peace.