Statement by H.E. Mr. Yukio Takasu
Permanent Representative of Japan
At the Debate on the Situation in Sierra Leone
9 February 2009
It is important that UNIPSIL swiftly reach its full operational capacity under the new leadership of Executive Representative von der Schulenburg. We are encouraged by the increasing stability of Sierra Leone as well as the successful elections in July 2008 and by-elections last month. Such progress indicates that a democratic culture is now further taking root in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone represents a model of the transition from peacekeeping to peacebuilding. Major peacebuilding challenges, however, remain in good governance and creating development opportunities for the public. We believe the following areas should receive attention as a priority, focused through a human security perspective:
- Strengthening good governance, the core democratic institutions, dialogue for national cohesion and reconciliation, and accountability in public services. We support the efforts by President Koroma to fight corruption and to change the attitude on the part of those working in the public sector.
- Controlling drug trafficking and piracy. The concerted efforts by the Government and international partners need to be accelerated. Regional cooperation through ECOWAS is important to address these emerging threats.
- Taking measures to improve the livelihood of the people. Urgent support needs to be extended to create job opportunities for young people. We also need to support the Government's efforts to reduce its high dependency on food imports and achieve self-sufficiency by 2010, putting to use the valuable human resources of young people in rural areas. The supply of electricity and basic transportation infrastructure are essential as well.
These priority areas are all reflected in President Koroma's Agenda for Change, the Peacebuilding Cooperation Framework and the UN Joint Vision. I hope that synergy among those frameworks can be achieved. I particularly appreciate the initiative of the Executive Representative in formulating the UN Joint Vision. It represents a conscious effort to address priority areas in a fully coordinated and integrated manner by all stakeholders on the ground: organizations in the UN system, the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Bank. We believe that such an approach would provide a good model for other peacebuilding efforts.
What matters most is not the strategy itself but its implementation. The international community should strengthen political, economic and technical support. We must keep up the momentum. Together with traditional partners, efforts are needed to attract new partners and broaden the donor base. We welcome many new partners now joining. Japan has extended assistance in the energy sector and for youth employment and is now considering assistance for rice production through the framework of the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD).
We commend the good work done by the Peacebuilding Commission and believe that the Council should endorse the conclusions and recommendations of the second biannual review. It may also be appropriate to examine the frequency of reporting as the situation warrants.
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