A consultative meeting was organised on Thursday by the ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with participants drawn from Government, donor, UN agencies and civil society organisations, to review, amend and approve the Government of Sierra Leone/UNDP Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) 2008-‘10.
The Action Plan is a three-year framework elaborating the principal areas of UNDP focus in support of development priorities within the national development frameworks.
The CPAP identified three areas where UNDP will focus its assistance. Firstly, it will support efforts at consolidating democratic institutions and respect for human rights by providing support to the key branches of the state and human rights institutions.
Secondly, it will contribute to efforts to improve sustainable growth of the economy to benefit the poor, through the provision of an enabling environment for the private sector, to act as engine of growth and promotion of self-employment.
And finally, the programme of assistance will continue to support economic recovery efforts and peace consolidation at the local councils and community levels.
Speaking at the meeting, UNDP deputy Resident Representative, Samuel Harbor, noted the shift in national development posture from recovery to growth and sustainable development and indicated that the CPAP had taken cognizance of this accordingly.
He reiterated that the CPAP also emphasized key elements of the UNDP Strategic Plan such as capacity development, gender, sustainable environment, national ownership and mutual accountability for resources and results.
“We are also incorporating lessons learned from past assistance into the new CPAP and revising our approaches in many instances from direct implementation to strengthening national institutions to take leadership,” he said.
Following on from Mr. Harbor, the deputy minister for Development and Economic Planning,
Dr Richard Konteh, expressed the Government’s appreciation for UNDP’s strategic contribution to Sierra Leone’s development and noted that the CPAP was in line with national priorities.
He acknowledged capacity development, monitoring, evaluation and coordination as some of the key areas of congruence between the national needs and UNDP planned actions. He informed participants that Government is looking forward to a partnership that strengthens its leadership of development efforts.
Dr Konteh noted that the ministry would soon embark on the formulation of a ten-year Strategic Plan to provide a medium-term national development framework which will further assist in the coordination of aid.
He said he was pleased that UNDP recognized that building the capacity of the leadership of the country was critical to energizing reform.One of the key priorities of cooperation in the CPAP for 2008 is the support to the upcoming Local Council Elections. The minister thanked the UN and development partners for the solid support they provided to the parliamentary and presidential elections in 2007, which resulted in the enviable success achieved. He urged the donor community to assist further towards this critical element of consolidating the democratic process.