UN presents findings on Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework 2025-2030

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By Ibrahim Kabba Turay

The UN Sierra Leone wrapped up its national consultation and strategic workshop at the Sierra Palms Hotel conference hall in Freetown. The main objective of the workshop was to initiate a comprehensive consultation process for developing the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework for Sierra Leone, spanning the period 2025-2030.

Participants included government representatives, civil society organizations, UN agencies, and the private sector. The workshop lasted four days, with sessions held in Makeni, Bo, and Freetown.

During the event, Richard Gomez, from the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office (UNCRO), highlighted significant sustainable development challenges facing Sierra Leone. Those challenges, he said, include governance, economic, social, and environmental spheres, impacting various regions within the country.

According to him, governance and economic hurdles were emphasised, with weak institutional capacity and limited economic diversification hindering poverty alleviation efforts. He said insufficient fiscal space for social expenditures exacerbates the plight of vulnerable populations, limiting their access to essential opportunities.

He cited that, social disparities, including uneven access to education, healthcare, water, sanitation, and employment, contribute to widespread social inequalities. Alarmingly, he said youth are particularly affected, with drug and substance abuse emerging as a pressing issue.

He further cited that agriculture, energy, and environmental sectors also face formidable challenges.

“Inadequate clean energy services, rapid urbanization, subsistence agriculture practices, and climate vulnerability threaten food security and community resilience, especially among marginalized populations.”

Common development challenges persist across Freetown, Bo, and Makeni, including youth unemployment, inadequate social services, climate change impacts, food insecurity, and low levels of decentralization. Weak governance, drug abuse, and social exclusion compound these issues, necessitating urgent action.

Various perspectives were integrated into the discussions via group sessions, ensuring grassroots voices were heard and considered in shaping the cooperation framework.

Notable outcomes also highlighted the alignment of priorities with Sierra Leone’s medium-term development plan, emphasising impactful implementation and support for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In her statement, UN’s Resident Coordinator, Madam Seraphine Wakana, said the next cooperation framework is designed to leave no one behind, fostering an environment where every individual can contribute to and benefit from collective growth.

Madam Kenyeh Barley, the Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED), highlighted the importance of addressing heightened poverty in certain regions and assured key attention to regional-level economic development.

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