The Sustainable Development Goals in Sierra Leone
The Sustainable Development Goals are a global call to action to end poverty, protect the earth’s environment and climate, and ensure that people everywhere can enjoy peace and prosperity. These are the goals the UN is working on in Sierra Leone:
29 September 2021
UN Resident Coordinator calls for sustainable tourism as Sierra Leone builds back from COVID-19.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Mr Babatunde Ahonsi, in his keynote address to mark the World Tourism Day, acknowledged five priority areas identified in the UN Secretary-General's policy brief on COVID-19 and transforming tourism that may be adopted in the Sierra Leonean context to advance sustainable tourism in the short-to-medium term. Remarking at the World Tourism Day event organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs at Brookfields Hotel on Monday, 27 September, Mr Ahonsi mentioned protection of tourism-related livelihoods, including those of women and other vulnerable groups; boosting competitiveness and investments of the tourism sector; advancing innovation and digitalisation; fostering of inclusive green growth, and enhanced, targeted partnerships that foster knowledge exchange and cooperation as lessons the country's tourism sector could draw from. He said the gathering with the theme “Tourism & Inclusive Growth in Achieving the SDGs” could not have come at a better time. The tourism sector, according to the RC, has great potential in accelerating progress towards achieving SDGs. Mr Ahonsi recognised the value and potential of tourism to advance prosperity and drive inclusive, sustainable development, adding that the tourism sector cuts across almost every part of economies and societies. He also noted that UN Sierra Leone, through the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, aligned to the Medium-Term National Development Plan, 2019-2023 and anchored in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, has committed its support towards the acceleration of economic development for the benefit of all, including those in the tourism sector. Using UNDP as an example, the RC noted that over the years, support had been provided to youth groups through the National Tourist Board (NTB) to engage in beach cleaning, especially around Western Area. Recently, the Ministry of Tourism was also supported to build the capacity of 200 women living along the coastal areas in business management and start-up equipment to expand their businesses and improve their livelihoods. "As we reopen our doors to tourists, we have an opportunity to reshape tourism to be more sustainable, environmentally friendly, and accessible to all," the RC observed. He ended his address by calling on the Government, development partners and the private sector to collaborate to enhance sustainable tourism to boost the nation's economy. Speaking at the event, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs Ms Memunatu Pratt said that tourism has proven to be a driver of economic growth for many developing as well as developed countries globally. "The sector is not just a leading source of employment particularly for women and youth; it also provides opportunities for peace, national cohesion and economic inclusion for the most vulnerable," she said. The Minister catalogued a long list of her Ministry's development strides, including reviewing and upgrading the Tourism Development Act 1990 into an integrated National Tourism and Cultural Act. "We must live up to our responsibility to ensure that we make collective contributions to promote the sector as well as share from the benefits tourism offers as a destination," the Minister noted. Other speakers at the event included the Deputy Minister of Information and Communication, the Principal of Milton Margai University of Science and Technology, the deputy chairman, parliamentary oversight committee, and the Director of Tourism in the Ministry. Three panel discussions focusing on the SDGs were held in the afternoon session of the programme.
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28 September 2021
UN Resident Coordinator calls for action on higher education
The UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone Mr Babatunde Ahonsi last Thursday emphasised the importance of the launching of the National Needs Assessment survey report on higher education institutions, describing it as "a call to action to all stakeholders for the transformation of the higher education sector". Speaking at the launch organized by the Tertiary Education Commission at the Milton Margai College of Education, Goderich, Mr Ahonsi said he was delighted by the opportunity the event presents to put higher education squarely on the development and public policy agenda in Sierra Leone, as outlined in the Medium-Term National Development Plan. Mr Ahonsi indicated that he saw the need for a public discourse on higher education and its impact on economic development, social transformation, and national integration. He also emphasized the need for mass media to highlight the linkages between higher education and sustainable development, "given that we live in an increasingly competitive knowledge-based global economy." To this end, he mobilized development partners in collaboration with the Tertiary Education Commission and the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education. Mr Ahonsi described the report as a rich mine of data, with insights on the state of higher education institutions in the country and recommendations for moving the sector forward. He encouraged all to read the report. In his welcome remarks, Tertiary Education Commission Chair Professor Aliyageen Mohamed Alghali said, as the body responsible for quality assurance, the Commission assesses the status of the accredited tertiary education institutions in fulfilment of its statutory mandate. Hence, the raison d'etre for the report launched that day. He further noted that the report is the result of a comprehensive collection, recording and analysis of data provided by survey participants in the various accredited Higher Education Institutions. Professor Alghali also sought the support of the relevant partners for social and economic development in Sierra Leone to transform the delivery of higher education in the country in conformity to the demands of the technological and socio-economic challenges of the twenty-first century. In her statement, the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, Ms Lisa Chesney, said support for improved quality and equitable access to education, especially for women and girls is an important UK foreign policy priority. This, according to her, was demonstrated earlier this year by the successful visit to Sierra Leone by the UK Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Girls' Education – the Right Hon. Helen Grant MP. Making a statement on behalf of the Embassy of Ireland, the Deputy Head of Mission, Ms Emma McLoughlin, reaffirmed her country's commitment to partnership with Sierra Leone in education, which is formalised in their five-year Mission Strategy. "We have been delighted, together with other development partners, to support the Free Quality Education Programme through the Multi-Donor Trust Fund as led by the World Bank. This will benefit over two million students across primary and secondary schools and over 9,000 teachers. We look forward to maintaining this commitment to 2024," Ms McLuoghlin said. She ended by saying that Ireland is delighted to offer the Ireland-Africa Fellowship programme for early-career professionals in areas related to the SDGs, recognising the potential for young Sierra Leoneans to be future leaders in their fields. The World Bank Country Manager, Mr Abdou Muwonge, in his statement, said that his institution has been working on TEVT (technical and vocational education and training) sector with the Ministry to build the foundation for demand-led skills development system in the country. "We are keen to extend our support to higher education and I look forward to joining further discussions with you all on how to strengthen the higher education system in the country," he underlined. Statements of commitment to the sector were also made by the European Union, GIZ and the Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Technical and Higher Education, Ministry of Finance In his keynote address, the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, Professor Alpha Wurie, described the report as impressive. He said the conduct of the survey was based “on the conviction that unless we have a clear knowledge and understanding of what we have in the higher education institutions, it will be difficult to make decisive allocation of resources to address urgent priorities." Before the official launching of the report by the Minister, presentations were made on the four clusters captured in the survey. A plan of action was also presented at the event. The programme was ended by four panel sessions to discuss improvements to higher education.
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27 September 2021
UN Country Team ensures mainstreaming of Migration Issues in its Core Work
On 22 September participants from UN Agencies in Sierra Leone gathered for a training on how to integrate migration into the Common Country Analysis (CCA) and the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF). The training covered sessions with an in-depth overview on Migration Governance, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda, Migration and the Common Country Analysis and the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework and Financing & funding the SDGs. The United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) in Sierra Leone, Mr Babatunde Ahonsi, in his statement noted the importance of setting up the UN Network on Migration in Sierra Leone and also emphasized the relevance of migration to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development: “Agenda 2030 cannot be achieved without due consideration of migrants and mobility. As a cross-cutting issue, migration is relevant to all the 17 SDGs”. The RC also explained that the inclusion of migration in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) present a momentous opportunity for the UN Country Team (UNCT) to systematically integrate migration into all relevant areas and stages of their work, in alignment with and as part of the implementation of these two frameworks. IOM Deputy Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Ms Sophie Nonnenmacher, who facilitated the training said, “When we have a global and regional architecture like the UN Migration Network, the country network serves as a critical element in the set of tools. Therefore, the network in-country can be a driving force to create more impacts”. She added that the network also gives UN Agencies an entry point to help the Government of Sierra Leone address migration-related issues and implement the GCM objectives. Tanzila Sankoh represented the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the training. According to her, the exercise was timely and very useful especially at this time when the Common Country Analysis is being reviewed. “Migration related issues should be well captured and detailed in the CCA and the Cooperation Framework. It is necessary to even add migration into specific areas including the outputs and outcomes components of the framework”, she added. The UN Network on Migration, established by the UN Secretary-General in 2018, has been tasked with ensuring coordinated UN system-wide support to States in implementing the GCM. In Sierra Leone, the National UN Network on Migration was launched on 1 June 2021, to facilitate effective, timely and coordinated UN system-wide support to Sierra Leone on migration governance.
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22 September 2021
UN Resident Coordinator mobilises support for Higher Education
United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) in Sierra Leone, Babatunde Ahonsi, PhD, has elicited the support of development partners towards the prioritisation of technical and higher education in Sierra Leone as aligned to the Medium-Term National Development Plan. Today, at the Milton Margai College of Education—Goderich Campus, Mr Ahonsi will be joined by the British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, the Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation, the World Bank Country Manager, African Development Bank Country Director, the Second Secretary at the Embassy of Ireland, GiZ Country Director and representatives of USAID and the British Council to participate in the event to publicly present and launch the report of the Needs Assessment Survey of Higher Education Institutions in Sierra Leone. The event will afford key stakeholders the opportunity to discuss what needs to be done to reposition tertiary education as a driver of economic transformation and social progress in Sierra Leone. Launching the report will be the Minister of Technical and Higher Education (MTHE), Professor Alpha Wurie. Mr Ahonsi, himself a former academic, will chair the first session of the event which will include a presentation of the four clusters of the report and an action plan. In addition, Professors Jonas Redwood Sawyer, Abdullah Mansaray, and the deputy minister- MTHE, Mr Sarjoh Aziz-Kamara will each be moderating a panel on assuring quality in technical and higher education, building a resilient higher education ecosystem, and sustainable resource mobilisation for higher education institutions, respectively. The event is organised by Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). TEC Chair Professor Aliyageen Mohamed Alghali stated that the recommendations in the Needs Assessment Report are in line with national and international benchmarks. It also serves as a strategic framework that aims to deliver on set goals for inclusive and sustainable development. Sierra Leone’s Medium-Term National Development Plan 2019-2023 places a premium on free quality school education programme, a strategic priority to provide a solid base to enhance human capital development and facilitate the transformation of the economy. This priority is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all. According to the UN RC, “It is important to squarely place higher education on the public policy agenda”. The report also gives a fair appraisal of the existing situation and what is needed for the transformation of the higher education institutions in Sierra Leone.
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09 September 2021
At Canadian College: UN Resident Coordinator prescribes a future that benefits everyone.
United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone, Mr Babatunde Ahonsi, on Tuesday encouraged students at the Canadian College of Modern Technology (CCMT) at Mile 91 to acquire lifelong learning skills that would be crucial for their careers, noting that the future we all want is one in which development benefits everyone and that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are our shared vision about the world that we want by 2030. For this to happen, it must be owned by all, according to the RC who was at the college for a Town Hall engagement and to get young people to act on the SDGs. He repeatedly enjoined the students to become more familiar with the SDG targets set for achievement by 2030 especially those for SDG 4 - inclusive education for all. Speaking at a Town Hall with over 300 excited students and staff, the RC congratulated Mr Muckson Sesay, the proprietor, for his vision and passion in transforming his dream of establishing an impactful learning institution in his hometown of Mile 91 into reality. Encouraged by what he saw after he toured the facilities and the prospects for further development, the RC told the proprietor that the best was yet to come for CCMT. He noted that the higher education sector is becoming more diversified across the world with an increasingly important role for the private sector. Mr Ahonsi, addressing students, said, "higher education is a key driver for national economic transformation and social progress," and that with the type and diversity of courses and programmes that students are being taught, "CCMT could be a game-changer" for the higher education sector in Sierra Leone. "CCMT gives me hope that we can make progress not only in expanding access to higher education but also do so with quality," Mr Ahonsi said to wide applause from the students. That progress, he stressed, can be made with solid partnerships to end extreme poverty, and achieve the SDGs. He observed that for development to be sustainable, it has to be holistic (integrating social, economic and environmental considerations), and should leave no one behind. In Sierra Leone, the RC explained that the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework aligns with the country's Medium-Term National Development Plan priorities. This, in turn, is anchored on the SDGs with a focus on four outcomes areas: - Sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition security, and climate resilience; Transformational governance; Access to basic services; and Protection and empowerment of the most vulnerable. Looking at the data, the RC said, "about six out of ten households in Sierra Leone are food insecure. It is an unacceptable situation with the agricultural endowment that the country has." The SDGs provide a solid blueprint for changing this situation. Turning to the staff, Mr Ahonsi called on them to "give the students the capacity and the orientation to learn how to learn." i.e., they should be prepared to explore knowledge beyond their university education to help them succeed in their future careers. He concluded his talk by providing resources, materials, and links on how the students could become involved with advancing the SDGs in Sierra Leone and asked that they make sure that their education enables them to become agents of change. Mr Ahonsi also granted interviews on the colleges' training radio and television- CCMT TV Channel 44 and CCMT Radio FM 95.7. Earlier, the RC witnessed a coding competition at the Students Lounge that Group A members comprising Elvira Davies, Joshua Samuel Guage, Aminata Bah, and Ibrahim Rahman Kamara won. He presented certificates and SDGs branded bags, pens, notebooks, and water bottles to the winners from three groups of four who were asked to "write a programme that will find the maximum number in a set of sorted numbers." Thanking the RC for the lecture, the Student Union (SU) President of CCMT, Abdul Tamba Lebbie, posited that the students were very pleased that the RC has seen how the institution is working tirelessly to reach a broader scope of sustainability in education, agriculture, and technological innovation in Sierra Leone. Referencing the RC'S presentation, the SU President said, "With an orientation to learn how to learn is what provokes our decision to have public lectures and constructive dialogues with great personalities on campus for the proper enlightenment of our minds." The Proprietor, Mr Muckson Sesay, commended Mr Ahonsi for visiting the school. He also gave an overview of how, as a computer programmer in the West, he wanted to replicate what he saw and learned in Canada in his country, through the establishment of CCMT.
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