The United Nations Peace Building Fund (UN
PBF) has allocated US$10 million to support The Gambia in the Transitional
Justices (TJ), Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Coordination Capacities of the
Government following a change of government in January 2017.
At least greater chunk of the money has already been disbursed between 2017 and 2018, according to UN officials.
This was revealed by UN PBF representatives from different countries, during a press conference held at the UN House, Bakau, on Friday.
UN PBF has so far approved US$3.1 million in 2017 to support Transitional Justice, Security Sector Reform and Policy Coordination at the Presidency, it says. PBF is also the main sponsor of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) in The Gambia.
Approval has been granted of The Gambia’s PBF request with a pledge of US$20 million covering a period of three years (2018-2021). Seven million dollars has already been disbursed to the country in December 2018.
United Nations Peace Building Fund mission representative has been on a visit in The Gambia to see how their support projects are effecting changes in the country.
Recall: The UN deployed a high-level inter-agency mission to The Gambia in February 2017. In consultation with the new government, the mission assessed the main challenges to peace, development and human rights and identified possible areas of UN support based on the priorities of the government.
The mission’s report recommended immediate interventions in support of Transition Justice (TJ), Security Sector Reform (SSR) and Coordination Capacities of the Government.
Speaking at the press briefing on Friday, Ambassador Gert Rosenthal of Guatemala who is a member of the PBF Advisory Group, said that the priorities of their funding came under the circumstances of events in 2017, noting that the priority is to help The Gambia’s transition to build the capacity of government especially in the areas of rule of law, justice of human rights and also to develop the country’s economy.
“We have partnered with the United Nations as they have a very small fund called Peace Building Fund (PBF), which was created in 2005 and it’s run by the Secretary General who is the owner of that fund.”
Jelena Zelenovic, PBF’s Programme officer and focal point for The Gambia, said that their major support is in the areas of transitional justices, adding that the Peace Building Fund overall allocation covers from 2017 to 2020.
“Transitional justice support has been the major component of this fund which did not include the TRRC,” she said. “We have supported some of the renovations of the TRRC, provided equipment and helped with some of the expertise that are available in the various components of the TRRC.”
Sereh Lamper, from United Kingdom, acknowledged that they have been able to see wide and excellent impression of the PBF projects in The Gambia
“We have met the most diverse and interesting people from ministers, civil servants, civil society, politicians and musicians amongst others. We all have been impressed by the level of energy and commitment that people are putting into peace building in this country,” she said.
The UN Resident Coordinator in The Gambia, Ms. Seraphine Wakana, said that this Peace Building Fund mission is supporting the UN agencies’ implementing projects in The Gambia.
“This mission is here to see PBF projects that they were supporting years ago shortly after the impasse,” she said.