somalia: Briefing to the Security Council by Nicholas kay
Mareeg.com-10 December 2013
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to introduce the
Secretary-General’s report on Somalia. At the outset, I would like to
thank the Council for its continued support to peace and state building in
The last three months in Somalia have been eventful. When I briefed the
Council on 12 September, I warned that the impact of Somalia remaining a
stronghold for terrorists would be felt well beyond Somalia’s borders;
“From Bamako to Bangui” was the phrase. Tragically, later in September in
the Westgate Mall in Nairobi we saw a shocking demonstration of that
As the Council knows, tackling the scourge of terrorism in Somalia
requires a comprehensive approach. Political, military and development
efforts are all needed. Somalia will be a stable partner in the region and
the world when it has strong state institutions, including accountable and
professional security forces, and a firm consensus among Somalis about how
they wish to manage their affairs and resources. Reaching this agreement
is primarily a political challenge. After twenty two years of conflict, I
believe Somalis are not just ready – they are desperate to rise to that
In today’s briefing I would like to update the Council on the progress
that is being made and highlight some of the problems that still confront
Somalia and its international partners. In the last three months we have
witnessed crises of a political, governance and security nature. I have
worked hard with international partners and the Federal Government of
Somalia to turn these crises into genuine opportunities to make progress
on long-standing problems. We cannot afford to be blithe. Progress is
chequered on human rights, transparency, good public financial management
and efficient delivery of public services, including rule of law. But the
fact that Somalia’s institutions have weathered several storms in the last
months gives me confidence that our hopes are not misplaced.
On the military and security front, I am grateful to the Council for its
wise decision in resolution 2124 (2013) to reinforce AMISOM and in
particular to allow Somalia’s national army to benefit from a targeted
logistics package when engaged in joint operations with AMISOM. Hard work
is underway to implement the resolution and I appreciate the open and
consultative way in which the African Union is setting about both
generating the additional forces, revising the AMISOM strategy and drawing
up a new Concept of Operations (CONOPs) for military and police forces.
UNSOM is contributing towards this effort, particularly to ensure that
support to AMISOM and the Somali Security Forces is in line with the
Secretary General’s Human Rights Due Diligence Policy (HRDDP). I welcome
the inclusion of the EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa as a
permanent member of the Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC)
at its last meeting on 26 November in Addis Ababa. After the UN, the
European Union (EU) makes the second largest financial contribution to
AMISOM costs. Theirs is a vital role. As the UN Secretary General’s
Special Representative, I stand ready to assist the work of the MOCC as
required. I urge in particular that military and political strategies and
plans be fully synchronised. To that end I am pleased that on the ground
AMISOM and UNSOM have formalised a Senior Leadership Coordination Forum
and I look forward to a strategic planning retreat for the two missions
early in 2014, following which I hope Ambassador Annadif, the Head of
AMISOM, and myself will again brief the Council jointly at the next 90-day
Meanwhile, I wish to use this opportunity to appeal strongly for donors
and partners to contribute to the soon to be established UN Trust Fund for
the supply of non-lethal support to the Somali National Army in line with
resolution 2124 (2013).
Preparations are well underway to restart major offensive operations
against Al-Shabaab controlled territory. I note and welcome the intention
of Ethiopia to provide some of the additional forces for AMISOM. A lack of
any military helicopters, however, remains a major concern. Once again I
urge the African Union and its member states to come forward with utility
and attack helicopters. The UN through UNSOA stands ready to receive and
fund related cost for up to twelve helicopters.
Before I provide the Council with an update on efforts to strengthen
Somali security institutions, Mr. President, I would like us all to focus
more a bit more on the political challenges of today. Somalia’s long term
success depends first and foremost on Somalis agreeing a new political
dispensation. Recognising that, the Council has established the UN
Assistance Mission in Somalia as a Special Political Mission. Let me
recall, the immensity of the peaks to be climbed. The political landscape
is dominated by several mountains stretching to the ever-closer horizon of
2016: first the need for wide-ranging national and local reconciliation;
secondly, a redrawing of Somalia’s political map of eighteen regions into
a lesser number of federal member states; thirdly, the finalising of a new
and permanent constitution; and fourthly, democratic elections in all
Somalia in 2016 (the first for nearly 50 years). On each of these tasks,
the UN is actively and increasingly engaged in support of the Federal
Government and in close collaboration with member states.
The New Deal Compact endorsed at the Brussels Conference on 16 September
provides a vital framework for all our joint efforts on peace-building and
state-building and, in particular, on the political track. For that
reason, I have engaged personally and will continue to do so in support of
the first Peace and State Building Goal known as “PSG1”, which is about
inclusive and legitimate politics. UNSOM will continue to work under the
leadership of the Federal Government to provide technical assistance and
strategic advice across all the peace-building and security goals of the
New Deal, and with a special focus on PSG1. In January, I am very pleased
to say that we shall also be working from our new secure offices within
Villa Somalia, the seat of the Government in Mogadishu, which will
reinforce our cooperation.
The process of federalism is underway, but needs to be accelerated.
Different regions have had different starting points, and several have
begun discussions on the formation of the units that will make up the
federal state. The overall package of power and resource-sharing is still
however to be decided.
We are supporting politically and practically the Jubba Interim
Administration and Federal Government to move ahead with the 28th August
Addis Ababa agreement.
We must not lose the momentum in the Jubba process. Success there will set
the stage for reconciliation and state formation processes elsewhere in
Somalia. The UN, IGAD and the wider international community are providing
a mix of political, diplomatic, logistic and financial support.
Broad-based meetings in Baidoa and Beledweyne mark the beginning of the
process of state formation in other regions too.
On democratisation and elections, at the Federal Government’s request, a
UN Needs Assessment Mission visited Somalia last month. Conceptual and
technical planning on elections is underway. There is no time to lose to
prepare for the 2016 elections. We need to get to them step by step and
there are risks of slips and fatal accidents at each step.
In Mogadishu, two crises have posed significant challenges in the last
months. One – the voting out of the Prime Minister – has been a political
crisis which has led to a slowing of progress on vital state-building
tasks. The other – the resignation of the Central Bank Governor – has been
a body blow to international donor confidence. Both pose serious
questions, which have not yet been fully resolved. But both also give some
cause for optimism.
The removal by Parliament of Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon was handled
according to the provisional constitution and Parliament’s own rules of
procedure. In years gone by, such political disagreement would often be
resolved by fighting and the spilling of blood. In today’s Somalia,
debating and voting settled the matter – a sign that Somalia’s
institutions are coming of age. The priority now is to establish a new
Government quickly, one which brings Somalis together and which has the
skills and integrity to deliver what people need: peace, jobs and public
services. It will then be important that Parliament, Government and the
Presidency continue to work in harmony, respecting fully the Provisional
On the other crisis, the resignation of Ms. Yussur Abrar, Governor of the
Central Bank, on 30 October drew stark attention to the need for more
robust public financial management and transparency. President Hassan
Sheikh Mohamud has responded rapidly and consultatively to this challenge.
On 27 November he appointed Bashir Isse Ali as the new interim Governor
following careful consultation. I have brought the international community
and donors together on several occasions to address this crisis, including
a series of meetings with the President. I welcome the active role being
played by the World Bank and more recently the International Monetary Fund
in assisting the Government to put in place the necessary measures to
restore both Somali and international confidence in public financial
management. With the right political leadership by the President and
Federal Government of Somalia, I am confident words will be turned into
Respect for human rights lies at the heart of any sustainable political
progress. The Prime Minister of Somalia briefed the UN Human Rights
Council on 24 September, which I also attended. We heard two things there:
powerful testimony to the severe human rights problems faced by many
Somalis and strong commitments from the Federal Government to address them
by building stronger institutions and human rights mechanisms. Some
progress has been made since September. The FGS announced on 26 November
the creation of a Directorate for Human and Minority Rights and the Rule
of Law. The Directorate will take the lead in the finalisation and
implementation of the Government’s Post-Conflict Human Rights Roadmap.
Meanwhile, Parliament is yet to deliberate on the Bill on the
establishment of the Human Rights Commission, a national institution
required by the Constitution and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
(CRC) still awaits ratification.
This is not the place for a detailed account of the human rights
situation, but the handling of cases of alleged rape and sexual violence
have continued to cause concern despite the clear commitment by the
President and Government to ensuring due process. Part of the long term
answer to many of the challenges faced by women is to ensure women’s full
representation and participation in local, regional and national
decision-making processes. On 4 December, we celebrated in Mogadishu the
Somalia Open Day on Women, Peace and Security. Forty women’s
representatives from across Somalia presented a statement to the President
of Somalia on their concerns and engaged in an open debate with him. As
the UN we shall actively support women’s full participation in Somalia’s
complex political processes of the coming years.
Somalia’s political map consists not only of southern and central Somalia.
Formal relations between the Puntland State of Somalia and the FGS remain
suspended. Puntland, however, continued with preparations for upcoming
indirect presidential elections in January.
I have visited Puntland twice in the last three months to try to help
ensure January’s elections are peaceful, credible and yield a result which
everyone respects. UNSOM is working closely with international partners
who will continue to stay engaged.
In Somaliland, differences have developed between the Government and the
opposition. Opposition figures have on occasion been arrested or prevented
from travelling. We shall keep watch on the situation in Somaliland, which
is heading into general elections in 2015. But since Somaliland continues
to reject UNSOM’s mandate, our operations there remain on hold.
While Somalia’s problems are increasingly being addressed through
political processes, building capable security institutions and security
forces remains equally important.
UNSOM is playing an ever more important role in assisting the Federal
Government to coordinate international support to the security sector. We
provide advice and technical assistance for the Government’s Defence
Sector Working Group, the Somali Police Force’s Strategic Planning Team,
and the Justice and Corrections Steering Committee (JCSC), which met for
the first time on 24 November in Mogadishu. We are making this progress,
unfortunately, against the backdrop of the assassination of four judges
between 6 and 30 November, which highlights the importance of putting in
place, without delay, enhanced judicial security structures and systems.
UNSOM has prioritised making progress on supporting the Government’s
efforts to receive disengaged combatants from armed groups, especially Al
Shabaab. The second Government-endorsed Disengaged Combatants Transitional
Centre opened in Beledweyne, central Somalia in November. Onsite
preparations for a third Disengaged Combatants Transitional Centre in
Baidoa are also being launched this month under the management of the IOM.
Somalia has not faced only political crises. Humanitarian agencies have
focused on responding to two new emergencies in November and December.
This followed a tropical storm that made landfall on the Somali coast on
10 November, prompting the Puntland State authorities to declare a natural
disaster emergency. The humanitarian community conducted rapid assessments
on the situation and initiated a response. According to humanitarian
partners in Puntland, a large majority of the 4,000 to 5,000 affected
households had been reached with most urgent humanitarian assistance 10
days after the storm struck. Mid- to long-term needs are currently being
Seasonal rains, which started at the end of September, have contributed to
flooding, especially in and around Jowhar Town in Middle Shabelle Region.
11,000 households are estimated to have been affected. The situation was
compounded by the outbreak of clan fighting in early November, which
displaced an estimated 3,000 households and hampered access to those in
need. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr Philippe Lazzarini visited the
still flooded area on 5 December and subsequently the Common Humanitarian
Fund has allocated nearly US$1.2 million for emergency health support and
Humanitarian partners are also looking at contingency plans to ensure
preparedness and response for the possibility of increased food insecurity
in Somalia. The Famine Early Warning Systems Network in late November
warned of a likely deterioration in food security in parts of Somalia in
the coming months due in part to the climactic shocks mentioned just now.
Following the signing on 10 November of the Tripartite Agreement, between
Kenya, Somalia and the UNCHR to support the voluntary return of Somali
refugees, UNHCR will offer assistance to an estimated initial 10,000
Somali refugees opting to repatriate during a six-month pilot phase.
On 1 January, UNSOM becomes an integrated mission and the Resident
Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator post will also take on the role
of Deputy Special Representative (DSRSG). This will be an important
milestone. But integrated work is already underway. We have launched the
preparation of an Integrated Strategic Framework (ISF) to guide all our
work. Meanwhile, UNSOM and UN agencies, funds and programmes are working
in joint teams on rule of law and security institutions through the Global
Focal Point initiative and on constitutional review, elections, DDR, human
rights and planning. After 1 January, one thing will not change:
humanitarian work will continue to be done in strict accordance with
humanitarian principles and based on needs.
Integration of our activities will be helped greatly when the UN agencies,
funds and programmes begin to return to their compounds in Mogadishu in
the coming weeks. After the attack on the UN Common Compound on 19 June,
extensive security reviews and additional measures have been put in place
to allow this progressive return. Mogadishu remains a risky place to work
and Al Shabaab has shown a consistent intent to target international
partners, including the UN. That intent still exists. I welcome the
request by the Council in resolution 2124 (2013) to be presented with
detailed proposals for an additional UN Guard Unit to be deployed to
protect UNSOM in Mogadishu. I believe that without such a Guard Unit, we
shall lack sufficiently robust security measures to allow us to operate
consistently in Mogadishu at full strength and without interruption. A
recent Reconnaissance mission to Mogadishu determined that the Guard Unit
would need to comprise 410 personnel, and the Secretary-General will
shortly request your concurrence for this deployment.
What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
None of the crunches and crises that Somalia has faced in the last three
months has turned out as bad as prophets of doom predicted. The Central
Bank crisis should lead to tighter financial oversight. The no-confidence
motion against the Prime Minister has tested parliamentary institutions
and found them strong. Even the horrific Westgate attack has galvanized
international support both to AMISOM and the Somali National Forces. My
heartfelt condolences go to the victims of that terrorist attack and of
many in Somalia, in Beledweyne, Mogadishu and most recently Bossaso, as
well as of many smaller incidents. Such cruel violence only strengthens
I thank the Council for its unswerving support for our work in Somalia. It
would be fair to say we are all in the business of silver linings. The new
emerging Somalia deserves your support. The UN will continue to back the
voices of hope, not despair, of opportunity, not crisis.