The deputy minister of finance, development and economic planning, Dr Richard Conteh, has on behalf of government signed a Country Programme Action Plan Document (CPAP) 2008-2010 of the United Nations Fund for Populations Activities (UNFPA) assistance to Sierra Leone.
Addressing workers and ministers at the ministry’s conference room yesterday, Dr Richard Conteh said the signing of the CPAP marked an important milestone in the partnership and cooperation between the government and UNFPA.
“As we come to the end of the programme cycle it is obvious that we have to take stock of our achievements, bearing in mind the lessons we have learnt over the years,” said Dr Conteh.
He noted that, “we have to prepare ourselves for the fourth country programme 2008-2010 of UNFPA’s assistance to the government”.
The deputy minister disclosed that the CPAP would address issues relating to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the National Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)’s objectives.
He noted further that, “we need not to be convinced that agenda (MDGs) holds great promise for humanity”, adding that through it, “we are hopeful that millions can be released from the stronghold of poverty; that the lives of millions of children can be saved; that the spread of AIDS can be reversed; that in the end more people will be empowered to play meaningful roles in their country’s development”.
Dr Conteh averred that another important aspect “we should take into consideration is that of providing appropriate and affordable and comprehensive reproductive health services and which can results into economic benefit”.
If this was complemented, the deputy minister stated, with appropriate investments and reforms in the social, economic and political sectors, “our nation will be well on the way out of the poverty trap”.
The deputy minister noted that, “as we signed this UNFPA Country Programme Action Plan Document 2008-2010, it calls for renewed action and stronger and more coordinated efforts by all partners”.
UNFPA’s country representative, Barnabas Yisa, said a lot had been achieved in the country through the CPAP.
He said the document reflected the concerns of Sierra Leoneans, and that it followed directly the Paris declaration.
Mr Yisa urged the government to implement the programmes outlined in the documents as that contained areas of gender, youth and education, health issues among others.