Sunday, February 11, 2007

Britain questions UN over spending in Sierra Leone

In a letter addressed to the United Nations (UN) Chief of the Peacebuilding Commission's secretariat; Carolyn McAskie, British Overseas Aid Department has complained over what it claims as, some projects aimed at consolidating peace in the conflict-scarred African countries "duplicate and even undermines" other aid work already under way. According to Canadian-based The Gazette, the concern was raised when it questioned practices at a United Nations "peacebuilding" programme. In letter, which British officials say was supposed to remain private, Britain says countries giving money have not been sufficiently consulted on the programme's inaugural work in Sierra Leone and Burundi . There is also a reference to "political risks" surrounding a particular project in Sierra Leone , which Britain says could "undermine, rather than build peace." This comes as the Sierra Leone government is campaigning ahead of July elections. "Some of the spending could be interpreted to be political," said a British official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "So it really is a question of clarifying exactly what it is spent on to understand whether that is or is not the case." While much of the missive is distinctly critical in tone as it speaks of the "less than adequate" consultation process and other perceived shortfalls of the peacebuilding planning, the British official insisted it was a well-intentioned bid to make sure the commission's work gets off on the right track. The letter is dated Jan. 23, but McAskie said many of the British concerns already are being met.

Source: Concord Times Newspaper ...Sierra Leone, West Africa : Online newspaper