Somalia: crisis-response shows State institutions strengthening, UN official tells Security Council

A wide view of the Security Council as it hears a briefing by Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay (on screen), via videolink. UN Photo/Amanda Voisard

10 December 2013 – The top United Nations official in Somalia today, briefing the Security Council from Mogadishu, said that a comprehensive political, military and development approach is needed to tackle terrorism in the country, where despite challenges, the dawn of a new era is abundantly evident.

While noting Somalia’s “chequered progress” on human rights, transparency, good public financial management and the rule of law, Special Representative of the Secretary-General Nicholas Kay told the Council via videoconference that: “[The] fact that Somalia’s institutions have weathered several storms in the last months gives me confidence that our hopes are not misplaced.”

“Somalia will be a stable partner in the region and the world when it has strong state institutions, including accountable and professional national security forces and the firm consensus among Somalis about how they wish to manage their affairs and resources.”

He said the Parliament’s decision on 2 December to vote out Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon in a no-confidence motion tested parliamentary institutions and found them to be strong.

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, Mr. Kay said.

Meanwhile, the resignation of the Central Bank Governor Yussur Abrar was a blow to international donor confidence but should lead to tighter financial oversight.

Presenting Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s latest report on the situation in the country, Mr. Kay detailed several upcoming “peaks to be climbed” in the political process to review and complete the constitutional process, and prepare for credible, free and fair elections in 2016.

“First, the need for wide-ranging national and local reconciliation. Secondly, a redrawing of Somalia’s political map of 18 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,” said the senior UN official.

Mr. Kay added that on each of those tasks, the UN is actively and increasingly engaged in support of the Federal Government and in close collaboration with Member States.

Since his last briefing, Mr. Kay noted that the Somalia New Deal Conference, co-hosted by the European Union and the Somali Government, has been held in Belgium where the international community and Somalia endorsed the Somali Compact, pledged support to enable its implementation and re-commit to the Somali political process.

“I urge partners to honour the pledges made in Brussels and to alight their activities with the priorities of Somalia,” Mr. Ban wrote in his report, stressing that the Compact provides a comprehensive and innovative framework for international efforts in support of Somali-owned and Somali-led efforts.

On the humanitarian front, Mr. Kay reported that UN humanitarian agencies and partners have focused on responding to a tropical storm that made landfall on the Somali coast on 10 November, prompting the Puntland State authorities to declare natural disaster emergency, and on season rains that led to flooding starting the end of September.

Turning to the aftermath of the attack on the UN Common Compound on 19 June, Mr. Kay, who is also the head of UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), said that extensive security reviews and additional measures have been put in place.

“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,” he told the 15-member Council. “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.”

He added that UNSOM would become an integrated mission on 1 January – which he called an important milestone.


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