Ministry of Finance and UN launch 2010 MDG report in Makeni, Bo and Kenema
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) in collaboration with the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Sierra Leone has launched the 2010 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Report in the provincial cities of Makeni, Bo and Kenema in a week-long event starting from the 15th in Makeni, to 18th March, 2011. In each of the cities several local stakeholder participated including community members, Paramount Chiefs, Mayors, regional representatives of ministries and government agencies, youth and civil society activists as well as the resident ministers for the various regions.
Each launch was preceded by presentation of the 2010 MDG report by, Mrs. Hawa Musa, Senior Planning Officer, MoFED followed by discussions on the findings and relevance of the MDG reports for the eradication of poverty and achieving the national development aspirations of Sierra Leone.
Resident Minister South, Mr. Moijueh Kaikai, who launched the report in Bo said even though overall poverty has dropped from 70% to 60%, “but this is still not enough in terms of economic growth. As a people we need to do more if we are to achieve the MDGs with regards halving poverty by 2015” He added that the Government of Sierra Leone’s focus on economic growth, infrastructural development and service delivery is geared towards achieving the MDGs.
The Mayor of Kenema city, Chief Brima Kargbo in his statement said that local councils were key to the achievement of the MDGs. He said “this is why we are committed to ensuring that services in especially the health and education sectors are improved. We need to support farmers so that they can access markets, which will increase their income and lift them out of poverty.”
Mrs. Hawa Musa from MOFED stated that the report highlights the progress Sierra Leone is making in achieving the MDGs agreed in 2000 in New York.
She commended the government for their support to halt the spread of HIV/AIDS and said that we now need to come up with appropriate strategies to accelerate the implementation of the agenda for change and the fulfillment of the MDGs by 2015.
She said that whilst Sierra Leone has made notable progress toward many of the MDGs, it will not attain the majority of them by 2015. Of the eight MDGs, only one (HIV/Aids, Malaria, TB) will probably be achieved, with high likelihood on HIV/Aids, but with less likelihood regarding the achievement of the malaria and TB targets. An additional three MDGs (child mortality, maternal mortality and development partnership) have a chance of being substantially achieved with sustained effort. The final four (poverty & hunger, primary education, gender equality, and environmental sustainability) are at best unlikely to be met, and most likely will not be met.
Mrs. Musa said “Goal two, achieving universal primary education, is inconclusive due to lack of data and statistics. This means that relevant institutions, should work to generate the necessary data and information so that we can report our efforts in this area.”
UNDP Programme Officer, Mrs. Tanzila Watta Sankoh, who represented the Country Director said that the report is the outcome of collaborative undertaking by the Government of Sierra Leone, UNCT, the World Bank, other development partners and civil society. She said that “the report should help to strengthen advocacy and renewing political commitments towards achieving the MDGs despite setbacks caused by the lingering effects of conflict and the global economic downturn”.
Mrs. Sankoh said, “Growth matters. Growth that is inclusive and that generates income in the poorest segments of the population is much more effective in reducing poverty” Mrs. Sankoh also focused on promotion of gender equality in Sierra Leone. She stated that even though near balance has been achieved in terms of gross primary enrolment, but there is still high dropout rate among girls.
She added, “At present the proportion of seats currently held by women in Parliament is still below the 30% target. Other forms of discrimination against women still exist and women are generally less empowered than men.”
Representative from civil society in Bo, Alex Nallo said that monitoring mechanisms must be intensified by citizens, especially rural areas. “We must ensure that the policies put in place to achieve the MDGs are implemented especially in rural areas. Civil society and Paramount Chiefs must collaborate to ensure the MDG is rooted at local level”
Mrs. Jeneba Koroma, commenting on the report in Kenema, said that the empowerment of women is key in achieving the MDGs but this is being stifled by gender and sexual based violence at all levels which is having negative impact on girls education and consequently, the achievement of the MDGs. “School girls are being impregnated and it’s not right and we will not accept it anymore.” Mrs. Koroma said amidst thunderous applause.
Abdul Karim Bah, Communications Analyst, UNDP Sierra Leone. Tel: + 232 33 167 428. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org