The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Country Director, Bernard Mokam has stated that unemployment is not just a social problem it is a security issue which poses a threat to security in this period of peace consolidation.
He stated this on Friday, during the signing ceremony of the UNDP’s 2008 action plan, between the government of Sierra Leone and UNDP.
Giving an overview of the action plan, Mr Mokam said that the document is designed to show areas in which UNDP would be aiding the government on.
He noted that UNDP’s first priority was to build capacity and support the peace process.
The director stated that this can be achieved by capacitating key institutions such as the arms of government i.e. legislature, executive and the judiciary. He noted that other Institutions such as the National Electoral Commission (NEC) would be capacitated so that NEC would “maintain sustainable procedures for future elections.”
Mr Makom said that UNDP is also concerned about certain marginalized groups in the country e.g. the youths, stating “we would involve youths in the decision making progress by ‘mainstreaming youth concerns in the development process,” he heightened.
The UNDP Director said that they would help strengthen the overall governance in the country, adding that decentralized structures would also be looked at so “we would also build the capacity of the [soon to be elected councilors], he said.
Showing appreciation of the UNDP’s well drawn action plan, the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Richard Conteh said that government is appreciative of UNDP’s role in championing development in the country.
He said that the initiative which was drawn based on issues that are snail pacing our development process to compliment the government’s attitudinal change campaign.
He also commended the UNDP for the initiative to establish the strategic policy officer in the president’s office, adding that this would guide the government on complex policies.
The minister affirmed that unemployment is indeed a security issue, adding that “unemployed youths are easy to fall prey to the whims and caprices of those who wish doom for the country.
He disclosed that with the establishment of a youth commission some of these issues would be addressed.