Given setbacks in Somalia due to political crises in 2014, it was critical to accelerate the federalism process in 2015 to maintain progress in stability, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative told the Security Council this morning.
“2015 should be the year of federalism and delivery,” Nicholas Kay, who is also the Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), said at a meeting that also heard from Mamam Sidikou, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Head of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as the representative of Somalia.
In his briefing, Mr. Kay introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report on the Mission (document S/2015/51), which said that the political crisis between the President and the former Prime Minister during the 120-day reporting period wasted precious time and evoked previous “cycles of instability that had compromised Somalia’s progress in the past”.
Mr. Kay said that the Federal Government’s 2016 deadlines for a constitutional referendum, elections and other goals remained the same despite the delays. To meet them, a constitutional review would have to be completed this year and capacity-building for the existing Interim Regional Administrations had to accelerate and new ones had to be established where they did not exist. Further, key decisions and preparations for the 2016 polls must be made.
The international community must continue to support and build the Federal Government’s leadership and capacity, he said, but inclusive political processes would be the key to success in meeting the goals, with Somalia’s regions playing their full part in the State-building and peacebuilding processes and participation from minority and marginalized groups, as well as women, at all levels.
In addition, it was critical to avoid further political infighting, achieve compromises and stem tensions as the 2016 elections approached, he said. Accordingly, swift approval of a new cabinet was needed, as was improvement in working practices, transparency and dialogue. Those with the greatest power had the greatest responsibility in that regard, he stressed, warning: “They will be held accountable by Somalis and international partners for further instability and delay.”
On security, Mr. Kay paid tribute to AMISOM and the Somali National Army’s fight against Al-Shabaab’s current “asymmetric” tactics. To succeed, they needed the right capabilities and a more coherent regional approach. In addition, all actors must respond to the continuing potential for local inter-clan disputes to erupt into violence. He welcomed, in that regard, the Council’s attention to the need to secure supply routes to liberated areas to enable impartial humanitarian and security access.
Delivery of security, rule of law and other necessities to the regions was needed to accelerate and strengthen the legitimacy of local administrations, he said. In 2015, the foundations of a sustainable Somali defence sector must be set through implementing commitments made by Somalia and its partners in September 2014.
Somalia remained among the most dangerous places that the Council had mandated operations, he said, noting the loss of life in the December attack inside Mogadishu airport. The United Nations Guard Unit had allowed an expanded UNSOM presence, but for further expansion, the Unit itself would have to be augmented.
Despite all the challenges, partnerships between Somalis, regional organizations and the international community had resulted in important progress in 2014, he said, pointing to the campaign against Al-Shabaab, the State-formation process and the establishment of some key institutions. Further, the United Nations, the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the European Union and other partners were working together to ensure coherent support.
In that vein, he applauded planning for upcoming conferences by IGAD and a High-Level Partnership Forum in May. “Delivering progress this year will require even closer collaboration and accountability between the Federal Government and international partners,” he said.
Briefing next by video-teleconference from Mogadishu, Mr. Sidikou affirmed close cooperation between the African Union, Somalia and other partners. He described AMISOM and Somali offensives against Al-Shabaab that resulted in the recovery of 16 towns, adding that such operations had opened up space for political activities outside Mogadishu. He said regional-states formation was thus progressing and should be bolstered by support to Somali traditional and political leadership at all levels.
In addition, he said that Al-Shabaab’s turn to asymmetric tactics must be countered by securing main supply routes throughout the country and urgently building the national army, with an additional focus on community-centred approaches to safety and security through community policing.
With those priorities in mind, AMISOM had been adapting by planning for engineering and medical capabilities that could support basic social services, as well as local security. With socioeconomic progress critical, the African Union was also supporting Government engagement with the Somali diaspora. “In the eyes of ordinary Somalis,” he stressed, “liberation from Al-Shabaab will only translate into peace if and when they begin to see its dividends.”
Taking the floor last, Somalia’s representative, Awale Ali Kullane, acknowledged that his country had experienced a challenging few months on all fronts but said that progress was still being made. “Whilst there can be no denying that the political instability has tested the patience of all, domestically and internationally, it would be wrong to presume that this has completely stifled all progress. It has made progress more difficult but not impossible,” he said.
The most pressing problem was the lack of capacity of federal institutions, he said, noting that the President and Prime Minister had called attention to that problem, encouraging the new Council of Ministers to exercise restraint in replacing civil servants within ministries.
Listing accomplishments of the past year in governance and reconciliation at the federal and district levels and noting Somalia’s accession to human rights instruments, he affirmed that security remained critical for progress in all areas. In that context, he pointed to the operations against Al-Shabaab with AMISOM and progress on the road map for the integration of forces and other areas.
In the next two years, he acknowledged, the Government must deliver on priority legislation, the establishment of commissions and the holding of public consultations. The President’s commitment to make 2015 “the year of delivery” was clear. “We are winning the war but must win the peace,” he concluded.
The meeting opened at 10:10 a.m. and closed at 10:45 a.m.