4th National Human Development Report Validation : UN Resident Coordinator Speech

July 20, 2018

The UNDP Economic Advisor, Moses Sichei explaining the rationale of the draft report at the Ministry of Development Planning in Freetown © UNDP Sierra Leone/ Helen Mayelle

Statement by

The United Nations Resident Coordinator

and UNDP Resident Representative in Sierra Leone

Sunil Saigal

at the

Validation workshop regarding the 4th National Human Development Report

17 July 2018


Distinguished Development Secretary, Peter Sam-Kpakra, of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development,

Honourable Ministers

Your Worship, the Mayor of Freetown


Heads of Development Cooperation,

Representatives of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies,

UN Colleagues

Civil Society representatives,

Members of the Media,

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning;

Let me first of all thank each of you for being with us today at this validation workshop for the 4th National Human Development Report (NHDR) for Sierra Leone.  We are delighted to be partnering in this workshop with the new Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.

                The human development approach concept, which has been championed by UNDP globally since 1990. Human development is about expanding the richness of human life rather than simply the growth of the economy, in which people live.  Human development – as the term indicates –focuses on people, their opportunities and choices, and a fundamental dimension of the concept is the direct enhancement of human capabilities to be able to live a healthy life, to be knowledgeable, and to have a decent standard of living. Other key components of human development are participation in political and community life, ensuring human security and respect for rights, and promoting equality, social justice and environmental sustainability.

The human development concept is complemented by a number of measures, including the Human Development Index (HDI), which is a composite measure focusing on health and longevity, education and standard of living.  Other measures include the Gender Inequality Index, the Gender Development Index and the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index.  

Since 1990, reports on human development have been prepared at the global, regional and country levels.  These reports, which are either published by UNDP or with UNDP support, provide independent, analytically and empirically grounded discussions of major development issues, trends and policies. 

In Sierra Leone, national human development reports have generally taken their themes from current development challenges.  Earlier reports have therefore focused on poverty eradication, transition from conflict to human security, and decentralization of governance. 

The fourth report, which UNDP is indeed pleased now to be supporting the Government in preparing, takes its theme, “Building Resilience for Sustainable Development”, directly from the development challenges, which Sierra Leone has experienced in the most recent years, and examines how the country has gradually recovered.  Such challenges of course include the fall in the price of iron ore, the Ebola Virus Disease crisis, and the mudslide disaster last year.    The Report also looks at the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Agenda 2063 on a peaceful and prosperous Africa.

                A particular strength of national human development reports is that they are nationally driven and owned, and that their preparation takes into account the views and perspectives of groups at all levels with a stake in development, including Sierra Leoneans in local communities.   This is very much in line with the SDG principle of “leaving no one behind”.  Consequently, in late May and early June this year (2018) the draft National Human Development Report was validated in 14 districts outside the Western Area.  Today’s function is the last and final validation and is held for the Western Area region (rural & urban districts).  Let particularly thank participants from the Western Area rural district who come to join participants from the Western Area urban at this workshop.

The purpose of this workshop is for us to receive your views and perspectives on the draft Sierra Leone NHDR.   In order for the report to fulfil its own purpose of placing people at the centre of the development process, and in order for us to meet the key principle of participatory and inclusive preparation, we would like to draw on your collective knowledge and experiences, and be informed by your development aspirations within the theme of “Building Resilience for Sustainable Development”.  Just as the draft report has been enriched by the inputs received in the 14 earlier validation workshops held, I have no doubt that we shall come out of this workshop having learned from you.  Areas, in which your role is critical, include  identification and presentation of the priority development challenges, use of data and evidence, and not least  framing policy recommendations.

At the end of the workshop a national validation report will be prepared, which will be used to improve the draft NHDR.  I look forward to reading the national validation report.

I look forward to your active participation in this workshop and to your frank views and perspectives on the various issues.

I wish you very productive discussions and deliberations.

Thank you.