Mareeg.com-The European Union (EU) and Swedish Government hosted the 2nd meeting of Somalia Partnership Forum (SPF) in Brussels, Belgium, on July 16-17, 2018, to assess the progress made for the implementation of the New Partnership for Somalia (NPS) and the Security Pact (SP) adopted at London Somalia Conference on May 11, 2017 and to agree on the work plan for the next 6-12 months. SPF is a structure established to legitimize the international intervention under Chapter VII of the UN Charter in Somalia in support of Somali owned and led peace and state building process. The synergy between International intervention and Somali ownership is key to real progress.
The 14 page Communiqué (C-SPF) of 81 points issued at the end of the two day meeting can be described as No–confidence statement of the International Partners (IP) of Somalia in the performance of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), which led to a “To-Do List” assignment.” Indeed, the central message of the Forum to the Somali leaders is “please take this “To Do List” assignment again for implementation in the next 6-12 months.” The FGS bungled the implementation of the year old NPS and SP principles and goals, particularly by flouting the practice of the rule of law, respect of human rights, good governance, transparency and accountability.
The opening speech of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo did not provide account of the priorities agreed upon in London as well as significant specific verifiable accomplishments or obstacles faced. It was vague and lackluster. More pathetic, the Somali leaders did not show preparation, unity, coordination, and discipline during the meeting in Brussels. The most puzzling question is that the Somali leaders appealed for the assistance of democratic donors to use for undemocratic system.
The C-SPF speaks for the IP and commends, welcomes, and acknowledges 5-6 baby steps towards progress. The baby steps include 5% sales tax which brings in an additional one million dollar revenue per month, the cluttered Transition Plan for security transfer from African Union forces to Somali forces, rough draft agreements on revenue and resource sharing, opaque accord on 2020/2021 political election model, and preliminary fiscal and judiciary frameworks between the federal and state ministries. The baby steps did not go through legitimate and credible institutional processes and there are no public information available to corroborate the significance of the claimed progress. The C-SPF makes clear that the baby steps are easily reversible because of high persistent risks, weak institutions, and lack of accountability. For the rest, the C-SPF encourages the FGS to accelerate the implementation of the “To-Do List” assignment.
Despite the pledges of EU and Sweden government, the C-SPF did not mention financial pledge comparable to the 2013-2016 pledge of $ 2.8 billion. Meanwhile, the FGS has been advised to act for its own resource mobilization. The EU assistance of €3.7 billion provided for the period 2015-2018 and the paltry progress made with it represents a colossal failure that is exacerbating donor fatigue.
In contrast to the Somali leaders’ claim of shifting from humanitarian aid to development support, the C-SPF highlights the distressing statistics of the humanitarian crisis afflicting Somalia. 5.4 million People are in need of humanitarian assistance, 2.6 million of whom are Internally Displaced People (IDP) in need of various forms of assistance and protection, including protection from forced eviction by the FGS. The humanitarian crisis is above and beyond the suffering of the people for abuses of power and political ineptitude.