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Sierra Leone Civil War broke out in 1991, bearing similarity to the situation
in Iraq in that it was closely interconnected with the civil war then ongoing
in the neighboring Liberia. The civil war devastated the country, leaving more
than 50,000 dead and over 2 million displaced as refugees. In 1996, the then
military leader, Brigadier Bio, stated that he was committed to ending the
civil war and restoring the country to being governed by a democratically
elected civilian government. Months later, he fulfilled his promise, handing
power over to the democratically elected Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. In 1999, the
United Nations agreed to send peacekeepers to Sierra Leone. Two years later, UN
forces began to move into rebel-held areas and disarm rebel soldiers. By
January 2002, the war was finally declared over.

The Peacebuilding Commission,
established in 2005 by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security
Council during the reform process initiated during the 60th session of the
General Assembly. During its first year of operation, the Commission focused
its efforts on Burundi and Sierra Leone. In 2007, the Security Council extended
the mandate of the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone and
encouraged the government of Sierra Leone to continue to closely engage with the
Peacebuilding Commission. In the same year, the Sierra Leone Peacebuilding
Cooperation Framework was issued, which laid down the principles for
cooperation and analyzed the priorities, challenges and risks for peacebuilding
in the specific context of Sierra Leone. It identified the Peacebuilding
Commission’s role as “to bring together all relevant actors to marshal
resources and advice on and propose integrated strategies for post-conflict
peacebuilding and recovery”; that is, compared with direct involvement in the
reconstruction of post-war Sierra Leone, the Commission acts more as an
intermediate that investigates local needs, comes up with effective
peacebuilding strategies, and channels resources offered by the international
community.From then on, the Peacebuilding Commission has held biannual reviews
of the implementation of the Framework.

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The peacebuilding process in Sierra
Leone has been steadily advancing over the years. A major milestone was the
2012 elections, which are widely seen as a core benchmark for peace
consolidation. In order to ensure the elections were peaceful, free, and
credible, the Commission has led joint efforts with the government of Sierra
Leone as well as other major stakeholders to prepare for them, tackling both
technical and political challenges.

The elections also marked a new phase
of the peacebuilding process in Sierra Leone. In the briefing by the Chair of
the Sierra Leone Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission to the Security
Council, several points are emphasized for the post-election period: that some
significant peacebuilding challenges, including youth unemployment and
combating corruption, are long-term in nature and take sustained effort in
spite of past peacebuilding successes; that the United Nations should continue
to play a crucial role in coordinating international actors under the framework
of a well-developed, nationally owned peacebuilding approach; and that
post-election transitions may create strategic and funding gaps, which calls
for intensive and sustained multilateral and bilateral assistance.b1 

 b1Citations please

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