Dr. Babatunde A. Ahonsi, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone have held a meeting with the newly appointed Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Madam Kenyeh Barley, on Friday.

The meeting took place at the Minister’s Office in Tower Hill, Freetown.

During their encounter, Dr. Ahonsi and Minister Barley engaged in insightful discussions covering various areas of mutual collaboration. The focus was on strengthening their long-standing cooperation and preparations for the launch of the Successor Plan (MTNDP 2024-2028).

They also discussed the quarterly Ministerial Development Partners Coordination Committees (DEPAC), the UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF) and its Roadmap, as well as broader discussions on linking the SDGs to the President’s Big Five Game Changers in the 2023 Peoples’ manifesto.

They also touched on the production of the Goals National Progress report to accelerate progress on the Global Agenda.

In his remarks, Dr. Ahonsi congratulated Minister Barley on her recent appointment and emphasized the strong partnership they have enjoyed while closely working with the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED) to foster sustainable development cooperation.

He acknowledged the fruitful collaborations with the outgone minister, which played a crucial role in coordinating development efforts and sustaining their mutual cooperation and friendship in upholding the UNSDCF.

Dr. Ahonsi also highlighted the global challenges faced in achieving the SDGs, with progress having been reversed in several areas.

He stressed the need for renewed commitments from UN member states and encouraged the production of a National Progress Report on SDGs, along with the development of a National Commitment and Roadmap to accelerate progress on the goals.

The UNRC informed Minister Barley about the upcoming SDGs Summit in September 2023, which serves as the centerpiece of that year’s UN General Assembly in New York.

He also mentioned the importance of the Quarterly Ministerial Development Partnership Coordination (DEPAC) meetings as a platform for high-level policy dialogues.

Dr. Ahonsi shared that the UNSDCF would be extended until December 2024 to align properly with the new Successor Plan. He promised to send the Roadmap for the minister’s review and subsequent approval.

Furthermore, he highlighted the positive collaboration with StatSL on establishing a one-stop SDGs Digital Monitoring Platform with the MTNDP priorities and the need to accelerate the finalization of the platform to secure funding for its operationalization.

Dr. Ahonsi assured Minister Barley of his unwavering support and commitment to the implementation of their joint programs.

In response, Minister Kenyeh Barley warmly welcomed and expressed gratitude to the Resident Coordinator and the UN Family for their continued support to MoPED and President Julius Maada Bio’s key development priorities.

She outlined her plans for the preparations and launch of the Successor Medium-Term National Development Plan (2024-2028) by end of December 2023.

Despite the challenges, Minister Barley expressed optimism about achieving the proposed launch date through condensed consultation processes over the next five months.

She provided an overview of the President’s Big Five Game Changers in the 2023 People’s Manifesto, which would also inform the Successor Medium-Term National Development Plan.

Minister Barley highlighted the initiatives the new government is employing to ensure Sierra Leone remains on track for sustainable economic growth and how the SDGs align with the Big Five’s thematic areas.

The Minister assured the Resident Coordinator of the ministry’s readiness to produce a National Progress Report on the SDGs, expedite efforts to finalize the SDGs Digital Monitoring Platform, and review the Roadmap for the UNSDCF.

She expressed enthusiasm for stronger cooperation, new projects, and innovative ideas to be incorporated into the country’s Succession National plan.

The meeting was attended by other dignitaries, including the Development Secretary, Peter N. Sam-Kpakra; Economist UNRCO, Gbassay Kargbo; Asst Director PPR, Joseph Samah; and Technical Assistant, Momo Francis Turay.