Statement by Dr. Ali Khalif Galaydh,

The Somali Prime Minister,

to the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries

Brussels 15 May 2001

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen, and Honourable Guests

Allow me to express to you, the Conference organizers, particularly the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the European Union, our deep gratitude for affording us to participate fully in this program which aims at alleviating poverty and integrating beneficially the Least Development Countries into the global economy. While there seem to be general lack of progress in the socio-economic development in the LDC in the 1990s, few other countries experienced the kind of complete socio-economic collapse that engulfed Somalia during the 1990s. The Somali State literally collapsed in January 1991 right after the 1990 Paris Conference for the LDC Group.

 

During our decade of self-destruction and the absence from the discourse on development strategies and action programs, the number of the LDC group has increased, and in the words of President Obasanjo, the pains and frustration of helplessness appear to be on the upswing. While globalization has brought in increased prosperity and optimism to the industrialized countries and a good number of the developing countries, the LDC group is more mired in increased lack of social peace, sharp deficit in democratic governance, worsening terms of trade, near collapse of health delivery systems in the face of pandemics and the relative gains in the educational sector seem to be arrested.

Frankly the economic, social and political indices of the human condition in the LDCs during our absence portray a grim reality. The palpable contraction in the human spirit in these countries has caused the convening of this crucial conference. Whether the call for a compact among the LDCs, the industrialized countries and international organizations will assure the marshalling of the political will and the mobilization and the channeling of the requisite resources to enhance democratic governance, sustainable development and poverty alleviation is to be seen. Somalia is trying to come back from the brink of the abyss of the cumulative effects of a failed State.

Unless the participants of the Conference address the complex inter-related problems of good governance, sustainable development and poverty eradication the experience of Somalia will not be an isolated one. The increased cross border problems of public health, crime, drugs, environment and migration are making international public policy making a relevant and significant issue. For the sake of our collective well-being, our collective security and collective human aspiration my delegation wishes the Conference every success.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Let me provide you a quick brief on the recent developments in Somalia. The events of the Arta Peace Process that had led to the establishment of the Transitional National Assembly and Government in Somalia must now be familiar to all of you.  Thanks to the foresight and perseverance of President Ismail Omar Guelleh and the people of Djibouti, representatives of a legitimate Government are in your midst today. The “bottom-up” approach was obviously the sole mechanism that could bring the Somali people together in Arta, Djibouti to determine their own fate. 

The Arta Process was conceived to embrace the whole Somali society, both inside and outside the country, every region and every clan. It was comprehensive, inclusive, transparent, excluding no individual, group, sector, or region.  The Interim Constitution, the most fundamental pillar of the Arta Process, provides for the respect of the human rights, a decentralized system of democratic governance, the reconstitution of peace and stability in Somalia and in the Horn of Africa.

The Transitional National Government of Somalia and other State institutions are, therefore, a product of the will and determination of the Somali people --- the desire to rebuild a nation that had been destroyed by the ravages of anarchy and factional fighting that lasted for over a decade. As the Somali people are determined to bring about law and order and stability to Somalia, they hail the commitment of the international community to support the efforts of the Transitional National Government aimed at reconstituting a new Somali State committed to good neighbourliness, peace and stability, and democratic governance.

Thanks to the Arta Peace Process, Somalia has assumed its rightful place in the UN, the OAU, the League of Arab States, the OIC, and IGAD. The “Decisions and Resolutions on Somalia” unanimously approved by these Organisations reaffirm the commitment of the World Community to stand by the Transitional National Government - the sole legitimate authority in Somalia.

The outcome of the Arta Peace Process will also remain to be a fundamental national objective upon which our pursuit of the Somali national reconstruction and reconciliation will be built. Thanks to this Process the Transitional National Government has since its inception been engaged in peaceful and constructive dialogue with its opponents. 

The Transitional National Government of Somalia is seriously committed to pursue the path of dialogue and engage those faction leaders who are opposed to the Arta Process to join the reconciliation efforts.  We have succeeded in engaging two out of the five factions based in Mogadishu who were not supportive of the Arta Conference. We have also formed a National Reconciliation Commission that is composed of twenty-five prominent political and historical figures.  This will be an independent Commission, which will be led by a former Prime Minister of a post-independent Government in 1960s. We firmly believe that if we are left alone to pursue our reconciliation efforts, we are confident that the Government and the remaining groups who are outside the Arta framework can work out acceptable and honourable agreements. 

Somalia, after long periods of violence, destruction and instability, is currently fragile and exhibits a great deal of weakness and vulnerability. It is sad to state that despite this, the Ethiopian regime is determined to abort any endeavour aimed at reconstituting the Somali State and restore peace and stability for the beleaguered people of Somalia. Contrary to the wish of the World Community, the Ethiopian leadership has unleashed relentless and vigorous campaigns with the view to destroying any hope for the re-birth of an independent Somali State.  If Somalia relapses again into anarchy because of this outrageous intervention in the internal affairs of an independent State, the International Community will be in part blamed for having failed in its responsibility to impede this intervention and to provide the country with all the support it needs to rebuild its shuttered economy.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The collapse of the Somali State has ensured the lack of progress on all fronts. Little has been implemented of the 1990 Paris Conference’s agreed upon three-tiered mechanism covering national, regional and global follow-up. As all the Somali government buildings and records were destroyed during the last 10 years of civil war, the Programme of action presented below for the decade 2001-2010, does not benefit much from past national plans.

A. National development objectives and targets

 

1. Long-term development goals are to:

• Attain sustainable political stability by promoting decentralization of power and federalism.

Attain sustainable growth by integrating economic, social and environmental objectives.

Alleviating poverty by taking an orientation that enables the poor to fully participate in the process of affecting equitable distribution of income and wealth.  

2. The Programme of Action’s first priority is :

Strengthening the peace by disarming militia groups and interning them in camps designed to integrate them into members of the former national army and police forces. Affecting national reconstruction by rehabilitating major public facilities and amenities like water, electricity, roads and schools. Accelerating national reconciliation through dialogue with opposition militias and regional administrations.

B. Constraining factors on the country’s economic and social development: Somalia’s civil war caused huge displacement of population. At least one million Somalis, mostly the best educated, sought refugee status in industrialized countries. Without the return of these talents, development will be slow.

The complete collapse of both physical and human infrastructures as well as huge damage to the environment represent major challenges. The complete collapse of taxation and government revenue generating systems presents both short-term and long-term challenges. Frequent droughts and man-made famine, and shrinking traditional foreign market are making the high dependence (about 72%) on livestock and agriculture difficult to sustain.

 C. Summarized national actions that need development partners support

Commitment 1: People-centred policy framework.

Cultivating political and social situation that allows for complete and lasting reconciliation among Somali clans and regions. Consolidating national unity by strengthening the newly established reconciliation committee and providing it with the necessary independence. Pursuing effective market-based development, built on integrated and balanced economic, social and environmental objectives. Recognizing the major and positive role that women played in war-torn Somalia by mainstreaming them in public policy development. Institutionalising human rights and social justice by adopting social and economic policies that empower the poor and the disadvantaged. Resettle internally and externally displaced individuals and communities.

Commitment 2: Promoting good governance

Establish administrative and legal system that: Is transparent, accountable, and responsive

Promotes the decentralization of power, and political and social tolerance. Avoids the loss of independence and credibility of the judiciary system that caused the complete collapse of law and order in 1991. Promotes the establishment of efficient and accountable public sector with the appropriate controls for minimizing corruption and other unethical behaviours.

Commitment 3: Building human capacities

With the support of international development partners, the TNG aims at achieving tangible results in the following areas:

Resettlement:

Disarm, rehabilitate and retrain about 20,000 militias. Ten thousand are already in training camps.

Design and implement an effective housing policy that facilitates the return of hundreds of thousands of Somalis in refugee camps in neighbouring countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Yemen, and Djibouti, and an even larger number of internally displaced individuals, families and communities.

Education:

Accelerate the rehabilitation of the schools and other buildings destroyed by the civil war to re-start the public school system. This will include moving internally displaced refugees who are now occupying most of those buildings. Reverse the increasing adult illiteracy rate caused by the complete collapse of the education system during the last decade. Rehabilitate the physical facilities of the higher education system, such as the defunct Somali National University. Create an environment that promotes and encourages the appearance of a viable private component in the higher education system.

Retrain former teachers and train new ones. Work towards decentralizing the education system so that it becomes a regional government responsibility.

Health:

Like any other government ministry, most of the buildings of the ministry of health, as well as the hospitals were destroyed during the last 10 years of civil war. Rehabilitating those hospitals and buildings is a main priority. However, in order to build a strong health system, we are going to adopt a policy that promotes environmental health and controls communicable diseases. To those ends we will carryout the following activities:

Build a primary health care system that gives special importance to disease prevention and control, child and maternal health, family planning and nutrition. In line with its decentralization and federalism policy, the government will develop national health standards, but will decentralize the delivery of health services. In line with its “poor-centred” policy, the government will retain enough powers to ensure that health facilities in rural centres and poorer regions meet national standards.  

Water and sanitation

Rehabilitate water and sanitation facilities. Most of the major water facilities, especially those in and around Mogadishu were destroyed during the war and need extensive rehabilitation.

To implement our main objective of providing save drinking water to the general population, we will strive to build such facilities in rural areas as well.  

Commitment 4: Building productive capacities - Private sector development

As the public sector is in complete ruins, the government objective aims at creating an environment that allows the private sector to play a major role in the economic development.

Agriculture and fisheries

Reconstruct the farming infrastructure to rehabilitate the productive capacity of the agricultural sector, which used to employ more than 70% of the labour force before the civil war. The government aims at encouraging the establishment of small factors that can process agricultural products. Enhanced productivity and diversification is the expected result.

Fisheries

As Somalia has one of the longest coastal lines in Africa, the government aims at re-launching the fisheries industry. Our immediate aim is to curb illegal fishing and dumping of industrial waste products by foreign vessels. Our medium-term objectives include the encouragement of small and large-scale facilities that manufacture fisheries products.

Oil and Mining

Create an environment that attracts large-scale foreign investment capital into the hitherto untapped deposits of oil and gas, and other minerals like gold and emerald in the country. Encourage local businesses to co-operate with government to beneficially exploit our mineral and oil and gas resources.

Transport

The government aims at the rehabilitation of the existing transport network and the construction of new ones. The government aims at creating an environment that allows the private sector to participate in the construction of new transport networks. We aim at creating an arrangement, which allows that maintenance responsibility be shared with regional governments and municipalities.

Telecommunication and Postal services

Our programme aims at:

Building upon the achievements of the Telecommunication sector, a consolidation and rationalization plan is to be worked jointly by the government and the private sector. Rural telephony is to be provided in partnership with the private sector.

The aggressive introduction of an affordable internet is to be launched in partnership with the private sector.Rehabilitating public postal services destroyed by the war. Creating the legal and administrative environment that allows the private sector to participate in the development of an efficient mail system.

Ensuring that rural areas get adequate level of postal services.

Energy

The government aims at rehabilitating the old electric producing facilities and building new ones to cover immediate electricity needs. Our programme aims at facilitating for the private sector to participate in the production, transmission and distribution of electricity.  As the use of charcoal coal for heating and cooking is causing tremendous damage to our forests, the programme aims at pursuing the development of alternative sources of energy.The banning of the export of charcoal is a primary policy objective.

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a pleasure and a privilege for Somalia to participate in this historic meeting. We in Somalia are attempting to provide our population with the required security arrangements. A Civil protection program which incorporates the re-establishment of the police force, of an independent judiciary system and a prison system is the top priority of the Transitional National Government. The important matter of law and order is to be seen in the context of the rule of law and the honoring of the social and human rights of the Somali people. Enshrined in the National Charter is democratic governance which is essential for both national reconciliation and peace and stability. Devolution of power is the preferred option for the new Somalia. The old centralized administrative and political arrangements are to be replaced by a federal system. Citizen participation, rule of law and the institutionalization of social and human rights are the essential components of guiding principle of democratic governance principles of the Third Somali Republic. A representative and responsive bureaucracy of the city, district, regional (state) and national level are also the requisites for good governance. The reconstruction and rehabilitation of the infrastructure are pre-conditions for the recovery of the economy. The re-creation of the infrastructural capacity is also crucial for growth and sustainable development.

 

            Somalia is in solidarity with the other members of the LDC group in seeking debt relief and development assistance.  Without a continued program of expanding market access the efforts of sustainable development are going to be in vain. The policy initiatives of a duty and quota free access to the European Union market are welcome. We are looking forward to the adoption of similar initiatives by the other industrialized countries. Increased development assistance and the provision of market access are to be matched by internal reforms to assure good governance. Somalia is committed to meet its obligation and to create an enabling environment in which democratic practice; accountability, transparency and good governance are valued.

Again, Thank you very much for affording us this opportunity to be with you and to take our rightful place among all of you.