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At 71st Session of the UN General Assembly…

Koroma urges Int’l community to fulfill Ebola pledges

September 23, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

President Ernest Bai Koroma yesterday urged the country’s bilateral friends and the international community to fulfill their pledges to the country’s post-Ebola recovery programme.

Addressing the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the president applauded support received so far from friends but stressed that there are still enormous resource gaps.

“We applaud the support we have received, but we still face enormous resource gaps. I would therefore like to remind our bilateral friends and the international community to fulfill their pledges to our recovery programme,” he said.

He, however, expressed his appreciation, on behalf of Sierra Leoneans, to the international community for supporting the fight to defeat the Ebola virus and informed the gathering that the country is now implementing the post-Ebola Recovery Programme.

He said the Ebola outbreak in West Africa put a spotlight on the critical need for the world to have a more robust and effective global health architecture with strong and accountable leadership to deal with health crises, including pandemics.

President Koroma registered his commitment to good governance and assured that he would continue to build upon post-conflict peace-building and democratic gains by further strengthening democratic institutions, as well as access to justice.

“This is why we have taken steps to improve on the conditions of service in our justice sector, to attract and deploy more qualified personnel to the Bench and have State Counsels in every region and every district throughout Sierra Leone. We established the Legal Aid Board to ensure that indignant persons have legal representation; that there is no one in our correctional centres without an indictment; that cases are speedily heard and that justice is fairly served,” the president told world leaders.

According to him, those strides are significant in the journey to attaining a resilient and inclusive Sierra Leone and remain the bedrock of aspiration to becoming a middle-income country by 2035.

On women’s empowerment, the president opined that his government’s vision for the empowerment of women, as enshrined in Pillar 8 of the ‘Agenda for Prosperity’, was consistent with global aspirations, in recognition of the crucial importance of women and gender parity in development process.

President Koroma continued that most of his government’s programmes were youth oriented, ranging from education to health, community development, and employment.

“Efforts in addressing youth empowerment and unemployment remain at the heart of our A4P [Agenda for Prosperity]. My Government has also made a record number of appointments of youths and women into top-level decision-making positions, including ministerial, ambassadorial and leadership posts in Government, Departments and Agencies and in the Military, Police, Parliament, judiciary and Local Government Administration,” he said.

Meanwhile, the President’s delegation to this year’s meeting of global leaders in New York drew controversy after it emerged that it comprises a 50-man delegation, including some 17 Foreign Service officials in the United States. Unconfirmed reports say the ridiculously high delegation, amid a declining economy, would the country at least US$1 million.

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