SECRETARY-GENERAL, ADDRESSING INTERNATIONAL DONORS’ CONFERENCE, SPELLS OUT PRIORITIES FOR INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO ENHANCE SECURITY IN SOMALIA

23 April 2009
SG/SM/12203-AFR/1836

SECRETARY-GENERAL, ADDRESSING INTERNATIONAL DONORS’ CONFERENCE, SPELLS OUT PRIORITIES FOR INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO ENHANCE SECURITY IN SOMALIA

23 April 2009
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12203 AFR/1836
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, addressing international donors’ conference, spells out

priorities for international efforts to enhance security in somalia

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the International Conference in Support of the Somalia Security Institutions and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), in Brussels today, 23 April:

On behalf of the United Nations system, I want to express my deepest thanks to all who have worked to make this Conference a reality ‑‑ the Government of Somalia, the African Union and the European Union.

Many actors are here with one common purpose:  securing peace for the people of Somalia.  In a larger sense, the issues before us highlight the inter-connected nature of the challenges of our age.  Unattended problems rise and reverberate in various corners of the globe.  They spill into the seas.

I speak here of lawlessness and insecurity; State collapse; the crisis of refugees and the internally displaced; the economic and ecological crisis; and, of course, piracy.  All have an impact beyond borders.  All are linked.

After all, piracy is not a water-borne disease.  It is a symptom of anarchy and insecurity on the ground.  Dealing with it requires an integrated strategy that addresses the fundamental issue of lawlessness in Somalia.  That is why we are here ‑‑ to get beyond the headlines and write a new chapter for Somalia’s future.

Despite the obstacles we know well, there is hope in the Horn of Africa.  Somalia is at a crossroads.  The UN-sponsored Djibouti peace process has produced a broad-based Government.  That Government is taking the hard road to peace.  It is reaching out to forge national reconciliation, making difficult but necessary concessions, broadening the base of support.

We should give strong credit to the progress the new Government has made in two short months.  As a result, the Somali people have the best chance in a generation to end their suffering and move toward a better and more stable future.  We must push open this window of opportunity.

Somalia needs support in key areas:  first, to establish the Transitional Federal Government’s authority throughout the country; second, to rebuild State institutions; third to address the humanitarian emergency; and to facilitate economic recovery.

This will not happen overnight.  Today we take a vital step by helping the new leadership meet the first responsibility of any Government:  keeping its people safe and secure.  This requires a prudent political strategy.  I urge all parties to work with the Government to solidify the consensus for reconciliation.  Let us show those Somalis still outside the Djibouti process that the time for peace has come.

At the same time, the Somali people must see the clear dividends of national reconciliation reflected in their communities and in their lives.  Our support ‑‑ and this Conference – is, therefore, designed first and foremost to enhance the security of Somalia.  It is based on two pillars:  strengthening Somalia’s security institutions and supporting AMISOM’s ability to help the country.

First and most critically, the development of Somali security institutions:  with the assistance of international partners, the Government has begun the process of building the National Security Force and the Somali Police Service.  This is crucial to the future of Somalia.  It is also central to providing the safety and security needed for humanitarian workers to continue their lifesaving activities.  The Somali Government has presented a specific and credible action plan for the next three months.  We should encourage them and help them succeed.

Today I call on donors to contribute, through the United Nations Trust Fund, to Government efforts to strengthen the capacity of the Joint Security Committee.  I also urge bilateral partners to step forward with support for training and development for Somali security forces.  At the same time, the Government must establish solid procedures to ensure that these forces are inclusive, and that they protect civilians and respect human rights and the rule of law.

The only lasting solution for security in Somalia is one that is owned by the Somalis.  This process will take time.  It will be costly.  But above all, it will be an investment ‑‑ a vital investment at a crucial time to nurture a fragile process and secure a long troubled part of the world.

Let me turn to the second pillar of this Conference:  strengthening AMISOM.  African Union troops in Somalia are serving bravely under very difficult and even dangerous conditions.  They are there to help the people of Somalia develop their own security.  They come from countries which have themselves suffered conflict.  Many soldiers have lost their lives in service.

The United Nations provides logistical assistance.  But help is also urgently needed to pay allowances for troops and police, and acquire essential equipment such as tents and armoured vehicles.  We must ensure that AMISOM has what it needs to fulfil the mandate authorized by the African Union and the UN Security Council.

The support we are offering today must not, however, come at the cost of humanitarian assistance.  Nearly half of the Somali population is now facing a humanitarian emergency or acute food and livelihood crisis.  I, therefore, take this opportunity to remind all Member States of the critical funding shortage for the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Emergency Operation, which still requires $168 million through the end of 2009.

In the eyes of some, Somalia may have become synonymous with hopelessness and lawlessness.  Yet the same might have been said not long ago about Sierra Leone or Liberia.  Change can happen, but not on its own.  It takes determined leadership and international partnership.  By showing strong, tangible, practical support, the international community can help the new Somali Government advance from a position of strength.  By acting together, we can show the people of Somalia that dialogue delivers clear returns in their daily lives.

Our strategy for Somalia is based on a new partnership among the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the donors and the Somalis themselves.  Strong coordination is critical.  I urge all to work together to ensure that we maximize investment, minimize gaps and avoid duplication of effort.  By helping the Government gradually extend its authority, we are taking direct aim at global challenges such as piracy.

The equation is clear:  more security on the ground will mean less piracy on the seas.  In this connection, I wish to thank Member States who, in cooperation with the Government of Somalia, have provided and continue to provide naval escorts for ships carrying WFP humanitarian food to Somalia.

I look forward to the day when we focus on the longer-term ‑‑ creating livelihoods and rebuilding infrastructure.  To get there, we here today must act.  The risks of not supporting the new Government are too high and the costs of failure too enormous.

We have a unique opportunity to support leaders who have shown a commitment to building peace and rebuilding the Somali State.  By opening the space for security, we open the door to a better life for Somalia’s people.  Now is the time.  Let us make the investment.

* *** *

For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.