The Ministry Of Planning And Economic Development (MoPED) has on the 23rd May 2023 ended a Day Stakeholders’ engagement on the status of the SDGs at the Bonthe District Council Hall, Matru Jong.

The Development Secretary at the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development (MoPED), Peter N. Sam-Kpakra, assured state and non-state actors of the government’s unwavering commitment and willingness to achieve the Global Agenda of ending poverty and inequality, protecting the planet, and ensuring that all people enjoy health, justice, and prosperity by 2030 within the framework of the government’s National Development Plan (MTNDP).

He made these statements during a One-Day Voluntary Local Review (VLR) engagement on the status of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) held at the Bonthe District Council in Matru Jong. He encouraged participants to seize the opportunity for self-reflection on the district’s development initiatives, providing a broad-based consultative and participatory approach with high consideration given to the district’s development context.

Kpakra emphasized that the VLR process is critical to Sierra Leone and the global SDGs implementation process, as the mid-term review of the global SDGs coincided with the ongoing VLR exercise. He also highlighted its significance in the preparation of the successor National Development Plan (2024-2028).

The Development Secretary stated that the VLR is a self-assessment tool for measuring progress made on the SDGs, showcasing innovative strategies and policies, identifying challenges, and learning lessons for improved service delivery. He pointed out that after eight years of SDGs implementation, Sierra Leone has undertaken three Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) in 2016, 2019, and 2021, with the most recent VNR in 2021 being highly evaluative, demonstrating the policy impact of SDGs on the welfare of the citizens.

He also highlighted key successes of the government of H.E. President Julius Maada Bio in implementing the SDGs, such as enacting the Gender and Women’s Empowerment Act, implementing free quality education, and reducing infant mortality, among others.

Mohamed Vandi, Deputy Chief Administrator of the Bonthe District Council, thanked MoPED for the initiative.

He acknowledged that significant development has taken place in the district and emphasized the need to document and assesses the level of impact the council, with government support, has had on the district. He expressed delight, particularly regarding the government’s human capital development initiatives that have provided access to education for every child.

He also praised the efforts made to promote decentralization in all 16 districts of Sierra Leone.

Paramount Chief PC Prince Lansana Wonie Bio of Sogbeni Chiefdom warmly welcomed the MoPED team and expressed commitment and willingness to support the review of development programs in the district.

Representing Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Darlton John, Program Manager at Health Alert, commended MoPED and the council for their partnership in assessing the level of SDGs implementation in the district. He urged all participants to fully support the process and help identify critical areas for improvement.

Providing an overview presentation of the VLR, Joseph Sama, Assistant Director of the Planning Policy and Research Department within MoPED, stated that one of the objectives of the process is to assess and evaluate the progress made by the district and local communities in the implementation of the SDGs. He emphasized that the District Development Plan and the National Development Plan are aligned with the 17 SDGs.

Mr. Sama highlighted that the expected outcomes of the process include deepening local knowledge of the SDGs, mobilizing district authorities and

district development programmes & the SDGs District specific SDGs indicator system/dashboard developed, among others.

The participants, on their part, said that they were very pleased with the outcomes of the consultative process, expressing high appreciation to the MoPED team, where they expressed commitment to the process, as was communicated by the Media and Communications Unit of the Ministry of planning and economic development via their Facebook page.