The Security Council, welcoming the preparations in Sierra Leone for the presidential, parliamentary and local elections on 17 November, and underlining their importance as a “key benchmark” for peace consolidation in the West African country, extended the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office there until 31 March 2013 to, along with its other key tasks, assist the Government in the run-up to that potentially transformational event.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2065 (2012) this morning, the 15‑member body requested UNIPSIL, as the United Nations presence in the country is known, to assist the Government and its electoral, democratic and security institutions in the preparation and conduct of the elections. It also asked UNIPSIL to assist conflict-prevention and mitigation efforts, including through support of inclusive dialogue among political parties, and the Secretary-General to brief it on the conduct and outcome of the elections shortly after their completion.
In his report before the Council (document S/2012/679), on which it was briefed 11 September, the Secretary-General recommended UNIPSIL’s continued operation for a further eight to nine months, in view of the importance of the elections and the need to support resolution of any post-election concerns, build national cohesion and reconciliation, and enable the mission to develop a transition plan and exit strategy. Also in line with his suggestions, the Council today asked the Secretary-General to deploy an inter-agency technical assessment mission to the country to review progress and to provide detailed proposals and a recommended timeline for the transition, drawdown and exit strategy by 15 February 2013. (See also Press Release SC/10756)
Further to today’s text, the Council called on the Sierra Leonean Government and its people, including the media, to foster an environment conducive to the holding of peaceful, inclusive and credible elections and to respect the outcome of the upcoming polls. In a related provision, it called on the Government to ensure that its security agencies, particularly the police, respond in an impartial, proportionate and effective way to security threats during and after the elections, and towards that goal, accelerate efforts to, among others, establish the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Political parties were asked to promote a culture of non-violence and to adhere to the agreement they had reached on 18 May, known as the “Declaration on the 2012 elections”. The electoral institutions, particularly the National Electoral Commission and the Political Parties Registration Commission, was asked to ensure that the polls’ preparation and conduct proceeded peacefully and included the full participation of women both as voters and candidates.
The Council urged the Independent Media Commission to ensure compliance with the Media Code of Practice, emphasizing the need for the media to provide professional, independent and factual coverage and to promote public education and dialogue during the electoral period.
On related matters, the Council urged the Sierra Leonean Government to hold regular, inclusive and genuine dialogue with relevant national and international stakeholders on the country’s peacebuilding and development goals, and to ensure that the forthcoming Agenda for Prosperity continued to build on progress achieved in strengthening the political, security, justice and human rights institutions, including through implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Sierra Leone’s Universal Periodic Review.
By a further term of the resolution, the Peacebuilding Commission was asked to continue its support of the Government, UNIPSIL and the United Nations country team in the lead-up to the elections and to keep the Council regularly updated on progress made in that connection.
Taking the floor following the adoption, Shekou Momodou Touray, Sierra Leone’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said the Council had once again demonstrated its collective determination to see Sierra Leoneans succeed. He reassured it of the Government’s political will, as well as the “common will and interest on the part of ordinary folks” for the country’s success. Efforts to resolve outstanding issues in the interest of peace consolidation should proceed apace, in a process he hoped would hasten attainment of the country’s development goals. He thanked the Council for its unanimous support of today’s text.
The meeting was called to order at 10:07 a.m. and adjourned at 10:11 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2065 (2012) reads as follows:
“The Security Council”
“Recalling its previous resolutions and the statements of its President concerning the situation in Sierra Leone, in particular resolution 2005 (2011) and presidential statement 11 (2012),
“Welcoming the ninth report of the Secretary-General dated 4 September 2012 (S/2012/679) and taking note of its recommendations,
“Welcoming the steady progress achieved by the Government and people of Sierra Leone towards achieving peace and stability and in laying the ground for Sierra Leone’s long-term development,
“Welcoming the efforts made in preparation for the presidential, parliamentary and local elections on 17 November 2012, in particular signing of the “Declaration on the 2012 elections” by Sierra Leone’s major stakeholders, successful conduct of the voter registration, efforts to improve police mobility and effectiveness, inauguration of the Electoral Offences Courts, adoption of the Public Elections Law, and efforts to promote political participation and tolerance among the civil society,
“Underlining the importance of these elections and the wide acceptance of the results as a key benchmark for consolidation of peace in Sierra Leone, further underlining the need for all national and international stakeholders to continue efforts to foster an environment that is conducive to the holding of inclusive, peaceful and credible elections, and emphasizing the need for national authorities to remain committed to inclusive political dialogue and to providing a conducive security environment for the elections, and further emphasizing the important and positive role that the media can play through accurate and balanced reporting,
“Welcoming the important role played by the United Nations Integrated Peace building Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), the United Nations country team, bilateral and international partners in supporting Sierra Leone to prepare for the elections, noting in particular efforts to improve the capacity and effectiveness of the national democratic, electoral and security institutions, promote inclusive political dialogue between the national stakeholders, promote a culture of non‑violence and ensure the safe, full and equal participation of all sections of society, in particular women in the electoral process, and emphasizing the need for Sierra Leone’s partners to continue providing technical, financial and political support to the electoral process, including through the provision of electoral observers,
“Welcoming the steady progress the Government has made in implementing the Agenda for Change, in particular steps taken to sustain macroeconomic stability, promote gender equality, improve youth engagement, improve access to justice and human rights and strengthen the Government’s management of the extractive industries, and commending the valuable contribution of UNIPSIL, the United Nations country team and the international community to the peacebuilding and development priorities in Sierra Leone, and in particular through the integrated United Nations Joint Vision and the Transitional Joint Vision,
“Recognizing the continuing challenges posed by transnational organized crime, including illicit activities such as money-laundering and drug trafficking, and corruption, welcoming the progress made by the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU), under the West Africa Coast Initiative (WACI), and emphasizing the need for continued national and international support to the TOCU in order to ensure its sustainability,
“Commending the Government for recognizing the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding, and its efforts to implement the Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security and on sexual and gender-based violence, and welcoming the launch of a National Gender Strategic Plan, the establishment of the National Committee on Gender-Based Violence and the adoption of the Sexual Offences Act,
“Welcoming current efforts to develop Sierra Leone’s Agenda for Prosperity, including through the conduct of a fragility assessment under the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, emphasizing the need to retain the peace, security and development nexus in future planning to ensure that progress achieved thus far is sustained, and further emphasizing the importance of continued integrated support of the United Nations system, bilateral and international partners to the Agenda for Prosperity, in order to ensure that international support is delivered in a coordinated and effective manner,
“Reiterating its appreciation for the work of the Special Court for Sierra Leone, welcoming the verdict in the trial of Charles Taylor and taking note of the proposed appeals, calling upon Member States to contribute generously to the Court and to the implementation of the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone Agreement,
“Recalling that the responsibility for controlling the circulation of small arms and light weapons within the territory of Sierra Leone and between Sierra Leone and neighboring States rests with the relevant governmental authorities in accordance with the Economic Community of West African States Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons of 2006, taking note of the adoption of the Arms and Ammunitions Act and reiterating the need for further progress on the implementation of the national action plan on Small Arms,
“Welcoming the role played by the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States and the Mano River Union, in support of Sierra Leone’s peacebuilding and development goals, and encouraging these and other regional organizations to continue their dialogue aimed at consolidating regional peace and security,
“Welcoming the role of the Peacebuilding Commission and the Peacebuilding Fund in supporting peacebuilding efforts in Sierra Leone,
“1. Decides that the mandate of UNIPSIL, as set out in resolution 2005 (2011), shall be extended until 31 March 2013;
“2. Calls upon the Government of Sierra Leone, all political parties and their supporters, as well as the Sierra Leonean people, including the media, to continue to foster an environment that is conducive to the holding of peaceful, inclusive and credible elections, including through open, genuine and inclusive dialogue to address possible differences, and to respect the outcome of the elections;
“3. Calls upon the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure that its security agencies, in particular the Sierra Leone Police, respond in an impartial, proportionate and effective way to security threats during and after the elections, and remain committed to upholding human rights and applicable international law; and urges the Government to accelerate efforts to establish the Independent Police Complaints Commission and to address the recommendations of the Shears-Moses Inquiry report;
“4. Calls upon all political parties to promote a culture of non-violence, including by ensuring full implementation of the provisions of the 2 April 2009 Joint Communiqué, ensure their supporters adhere to the political parties code of conduct, honour the agreement reached in the 18 May 2012 “Declaration on the 2012 elections”, refrain from manipulating children in electoral processes and continue to engage in dialogue through the Political Parties Registration Commission and other relevant forums;
“5. Calls upon Sierra Leone’s electoral institutions, in particular the National Electoral Commission and the Political Parties Registration Commission to ensure that the preparations and conduct of the elections proceed in a peaceful, inclusive and credible manner, including through the full participation of women both as voters and as candidates, strengthen voter information and education, promote dialogue to resolve conflicts as well as political tolerance and non-violence; urges the Independent Media Commission to ensure compliance with the Media Code of Practice, and emphasizes the need for media practitioners to remain committed to providing professional, independent, and factual coverage and to promoting public education and dialogue during the electoral period;
“6. Requests UNIPSIL, in conjunction with the United Nations country team and the international community, to continue providing assistance to the Government and its electoral, democratic and security institutions, as requested, in the preparation and conduct of the elections and to continue providing advice and assistance to all relevant stakeholders, including civil society and the media, in order to ensure that they are able to make a positive contribution to the electoral process; further requests UNIPSIL to provide assistance to conflict prevention and mitigation efforts, including through promoting the role of women in conflict prevention and supporting genuine and inclusive dialogue among political parties, the Government and all relevant stakeholders; finally requests the Secretary-General to provide a briefing to the Council on the conduct and outcome of the elections shortly after their completion;
“7. Emphasizes that the Government of Sierra Leone bears the primary responsibility for peacebuilding and long-term development in the country, and urges the national authorities to continue implementation of the Agenda for Change until it expires;
“8. Urges the Government to continue its efforts to hold regular, inclusive and genuine dialogue with all relevant national and international stakeholders on Sierra Leone’s peacebuilding and development goals; and further urges the Government to ensure that the forthcoming Agenda for Prosperity continues to build on progress achieved in strengthening the political, security, justice and human rights institutions in the country, including through implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Sierra Leone’s Universal Periodic Review;
“9. Calls upon the Government of Sierra Leone to continue enhancing the effectiveness of the Transnational Organized Crime Unit, including by addressing concerns about its sustainability and to strengthen coordination with regional countries through the WACI, and further calls upon the Government to continue its efforts to strengthen the Anti-Corruption Commission and improve the management of the extractive industries;
“10. Encourages the Government of Sierra Leone to continue implementing the National Gender Strategic Plan and the Sierra Leone National Action Plan to address Gender-Based Violence; and further encourages the Government to continue efforts to improve youth employment and empowerment and reduce socioeconomic inequalities;
“11. Requests UNIPSIL, in conjunction with the United Nations country team, and bilateral and international partners, to continue providing integrated support to Sierra Leone to meet its peacebuilding and development priorities, as outlined in the Agenda for Change, including through strengthening capacity building of national political, security, human rights and rule of law institutions, promoting good governance and accountability, promoting gender and social equality, strengthening human rights protection, supporting efforts to improve youth empowerment and strengthening efforts to tackle transnational organized crime including illicit activities such as money-laundering and drug trafficking;
“12. Requests UNIPSIL, in conjunction with the United Nations country team, bilateral and international partners, to continue engaging constructively with the Sierra Leone national authorities in the formulation of the Agenda for Prosperity and in coordinating an integrated international response to it, in order to ensure that the efforts by the United Nations, bilateral and international partners on the ground continue to be coherent and effectively coordinated;
“13. Encourages the Peacebuilding Commission to continue providing support to the Government of Sierra Leone, UNIPSIL and the United Nations country team in the preparation and conduct of the 2012 elections, to advocate for the continued implementation of the Agenda for Change until it expires, the balanced development of the Agenda for Prosperity and the strengthening of mechanisms aimed at ensuring the timeliness and predictability of national and international funding for peacebuilding and development priorities, including through promoting increased South-South cooperation; and requests the Peacebuilding Commission to keep the Council regularly updated on progress made and to review its engagement with Sierra Leone following the successful completion of the elections and in line with the drawdown of UNIPSIL;
“14. Requests UNIPSIL, in collaboration with the United Nations country team, the Government of Sierra Leone and bilateral and international partners to continue preparations for the transition of UNIPSIL, and in this regard requests the Secretary-General to deploy an inter-agency technical assessment mission to Sierra Leone to conduct a review of progress made in the implementation of UNIPSIL’s mandate and to provide a report, for the consideration of the Council, containing detailed proposals and a recommended timeline for the transition, drawdown and exit strategy of UNIPSIL by no later than 15 February 2013;
“15. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”