New UN peacebuilding office opens up shop in Sierra Leone

1 October 2008A new United Nations peacebuilding office opened in Sierra Leone today to assist in the continued recovery following the civil war that wracked the West African country during much of the 1990s. The UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), mandated by the Security Council in August to replace the UN political office known as UNIOSIL, is the latest in a series of UN missions over the past 10 years that have helped the country get back on its feet. UNIPSIL will provide political support to national and local efforts for identifying and resolving tensions and threats of potential conflict, whatever the source and will coordinate the work of all UN funds, agencies and programmes. It will also monitor and promote human rights, democratic institutions and the rule of law, including efforts to counter trans-national organized crime and drug trafficking. With a staff of about 70, the new office will work on consolidating good governance reforms, with a special focus on anti-corruption instruments such as the Anti-Corruption Commission. It will support decentralization and review the country’s 1991 constitution as well as the enactment of relevant legislation. UNIPSIL will closely coordinate its work with the UN Peacebuilding Commission, which is already active in the country. Sierra Leone is one of the first two countries, along with Burundi, to receive support from the Commission, which was established in 2005 to help post-conflict countries determine the priority areas for rebuilding out of the vast array of challenges they face. read more