The Security Council today unanimously adopted a resolution endorsing a previous decision it made with the African Union to reconfigure the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, as speakers underscored the need to continue countering al-Shabaab and expressed hope that the Government of Somalia will gradually assume greater security responsibilities going forward.
Resolution 2628 (2022) (to be issued as document S/RES/2628 (2022)), adopted unanimously under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations, encompasses the Council’s expectations for the Government of Somalia relating to facilitating the electoral process and assuming responsibility for national security; the need to counter al-Shabaab; the reconfiguration of AMISOM into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia; the role of the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS); requests for international financial support; and reporting requirements for the Government of Somalia and the African Union.
Through the resolution, the Council endorsed the decision it made with the African Union Peace and Security Council to reconfigure AMISOM into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia and authorized — for an initial period of 12 months — African Union Member States to take all necessary measures to: carry out the mandate of reducing the threat posed by al-Shabaab; support the capacity-building of the integrated Somali security and police forces; conduct a phased handover of security responsibilities to Somalia; and support peace and reconciliation efforts in that country.
The text also sets out the strategic objectives and tasks the Council decided to authorize the new Mission to pursue, including conducting jointly planned and targeted operations with Somali security forces to degrade al-Shabaab and affiliates linked to Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Da’esh (ISIL/Da’esh) and supporting the capacity development of the Somali security forces.
The Council further authorized African Union Member States to deploy up to 19,626 uniformed personnel — including a minimum of 1,040 police personnel — until 31 December 2022 and to deploy up to 17,626 uniformed personnel — with the same minimum police personnel — between 1 January 2023 and 31 March 2023. Additionally, it requested the Union to ensure certain structures are in place, including those providing clear oversight of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia and clear command and control of the Mission and operational coordination between its contingents.
By other terms, the resolution underscored that completing the electoral process in Somalia will help progress national priorities and support transition from international security support, calling on the Somali authorities to assume progressively greater responsibility for national security and implement a strategic plan to generate new security forces. It also reiterated that the Government has the primary responsibility for ensuring security in Somalia and called on that country to prioritize, coordinate and strengthen efforts to counter al-Shabaab and ISIL/Da’esh affiliates.
The Council further requested the Secretary-General to, through the United Nations Trust Fund in Somalia, support up to 13,900 Somali security forces, including an appropriate share of the state and federal police who are formally integrated into the Somali security forces in line with the National Security Architecture and who are actively participating in joint or coordinated operations with the new Mission that directly implement the Somalia Transition Plan. The Council also urged Member States to consider providing funding to that Trust Fund.
The resolution also emphasized the need for adequate risk-assessment and risk-management strategies, by the Government of Somalia and the United Nations, of climate change, other ecological changes, natural hazards and other factors on the country’s stability.
Following the adoption, Richard M. Mills, Jr. (United States), noting that it is rare that the Council gets the opportunity to shape the transition of a mission, welcomed today’s resolution as a vital opportunity to build on AMISOM’s efforts and take the next steps to counter al-Shabaab. It provides a credible, shared vision on how to more actively combat that group and transfer security responsibilities to the Somali security forces. Supporting measures in the new Mission’s mandate to increase its accountability, transparency, efficiency and command and control, he added that al-Shabaab poses a threat not only to Somalia, but Africa as a whole.
Ravindra Raguttahalli (India) welcomed AMISOM’s important role in containing al-Shabaab and terrorist attacks in Somalia, which is important to the entire Horn of Africa region. India has supported the Mission since its inception, regularly contributing to its trust fund, and was involved in peacekeeping during 1993-1994 as part of the United Nations Operation in Somalia II (UNOSOM II). Today’s resolution sets in motion the process of a phased handover of responsibility to Somali security forces and, during this transition, the country’s people need the international community’s continued attention and support in dealing with al-Shabaab. He opposed, however, persistent attempts to link climate change to security, stating that the Council is not the place to discuss climate change; rather, the appropriate forum is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Arian Spasse (Albania) welcomed the formation of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia and expressed hope that it will gradually hand over its tasks to the country’s Government. Warning against the continued threats posed by al-Shabaab against civilians, he reiterated his delegation’s call to complete elections. A newly elected Government must turn its attention to the security situation and the humanitarian crisis, as further delays would embolden the insurgent group. Somalis must create conditions for the country’s long-term stability, he added.
Dai Bing (China), paying tribute to the sacrifices made by the African Union, as well as by troop- and police-contributing countries over 15 years in addressing security challenges, expressed support for the reconfiguration of AMISOM into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, along with hope that the Government will gradually take over security responsibilities from the new Mission.
James Kariuki (United Kingdom), thanking Council members for their support in adopting today’s landmark resolution, also paid tribute to troop- and police-contributing countries involved in AMISOM. He also spotlighted the contributions of the Government of Somalia, the African Union and the European Union in developing the proposal for the new Mission.
Lana Nusseibeh (United Arab Emirates), Council President for March, spoke in her national capacity to welcome today’s unanimous adoption to reconfigure AMISOM into the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia while protecting the former’s important work and providing support to the country. Noting that several security challenges remain — primarily recurrent attacks by the terrorist group al-Shabaab that pose a cross-border threat in the region — she noted that today’s resolution refers to counter-terrorism resolutions and stressed that Member States must fight al-Shabaab wherever that group is present in line with the same. She also expressed hope that the new Mission will provide the support necessary for the Government to address security challenges and provide safety and stability for the Somali people.
Meanwhile, Abukar Dahir Osman (Somalia) expressed deep regret that, despite negotiating in good faith, his delegation’s suggestions on the modalities of the new Mission — regarding planned logistical support, the need for unified and centralized command and control and the exclusion of the agreed enhanced civilian component — have been disregarded by the drafter of the resolution. Behind Somalia’s inputs were independent assessments jointly conducted by the Government, the African Union and the United Nations, which collectively recognize al-Shabaab as a terrorist group that evolved into an organized criminal enterprise. Describing al-Shabaab’s new tactics and the evolving threats the group poses, he said his country had called for a new Mission that focuses on conducting effective, agile and mobile operations. The effective execution of the Somalia Transition Plan requires a new Mission that plays a supporting and enabling role through specialized training, as well as the provision of mobile forces and high-end capabilities — notably engineering, countering improvised explosive devices, casualty evacuation, logistics, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
While he noted that the Government will conduct both independent security tasks and joint operations with the new Mission, today’s decision leaves Somali security forces with little to no logistical support. UNSOS provides non-lethal support for Somali security forces, but the tempo of logistical support is slow compared with operational needs, and such support is limited to allocated ones, he said, also expressing concern that the United Nations Trust Fund in Somalia is being depleted. He then asked the Council to increase non-lethal support to the Somali security forces. Turning to the issue of the exclusion of the agreed enhanced civilian component, he said that the civilian component would have given Somali nationals 30 per cent of staff positions in the new Mission. The new Mission’s troops should operate under the central command of a force commander, who should hail from the largest troop-contributing country, at an empowered headquarters, he added.
The meeting began at 11:39 a.m. and ended at 12:10 p.m.