A New Chapter Opens As UNIPSIL Closes – A message to the People of Sierra Leone

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets UNIPSIL staff in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 6 March 2014. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets UNIPSIL staff in Freetown, Sierra Leone on 6 March 2014. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

From the UN Executive Representative of the Secretary-General

Freetown, 31 March 2014 – After 15 years of successive peace operations in this country, the time has come for the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) to close. It is a moment to celebrate our collective achievements in building a democratic and peaceful Sierra Leone with the potential for a prosperous and bright future.

It is not the end of United Nations’ engagement – we will stand by the people of Sierra Leone as you continue to consolidate peace and progress. But it means the end of peacekeeping and political missions – from UNOMSIL over UNAMSIL and UNIOSIL to UNIPSIL. All of you played a critical role in the remarkable transformation of Sierra Leone from a country that was mired in a brutal war to a country at peace with itself and its neighbors.

In the name of my United Nations colleagues, I thank all of our friends and partners from the government, the Judiciary, Paramount Chiefs, the diplomatic community, political parties, religious parties, civil society and private sector for your engagement with UNIPSIL over the years. You have been our indispensable companions throughout this amazing journey of peacekeeping, peace building and development. Our staff and I have been privileged to work closely with you. It is a remarkable partnership that I am certain will continue in the years ahead.

As UNIPSIL draws down, the United Nations Country Team with its 18 specialized UN agencies and over 530 staff will continue to support you and collaborate with you. I would like to use this occasion to also thank my UN Colleagues, especially our national staff, for their dedication and commitment. I am proud of having been part of this team.

I greatly appreciate the support, trust and confidence that the people and Government have shown to us during the last 15 years. Your commitment and friendship made this success possible. With the closing of the last UN peace mission, with UNIPSIL going into history, it is now time to look ahead: There will undoubtedly be new exciting challenges for Sierra Leone that will require the continued leadership of the Government and the sustained resolve of the people. I leave your beautiful country confident that Sierra Leone is on the right path to attaining its aspirations . The onus of success lies with all Sierra Leoneans.

As Sierra Leone continues on the road to a brighter future for all its citizens, the United Nations will continue to walk by your side.

Thank you and all the best for your future.

Jens Anders Toyberg-Frandzen, Executive Representative of the Secretary-General