18th March 2013 Nairobi, Kenya
Opportunity, partnership and commitment.
Last Thursday, the Federal Government of Somalia, together with the UK, hosted the latest meeting with a number of key international partners in Mogadishu. The location was significant.
This was the first time such a meeting had been held in Mogadishu since the Federal Government came to power last year. It was a real demonstration of the ‘paradigm shift’ in Somalia’s relationship with the international community that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has called for since he was elected last September.
Importantly, the meeting was about more than just location. It also offered the chance to listen and discuss the Federal Government’s emerging plans to deliver on their priorities – priorities that the Government and its international partners, like the UK, believe will form the foundations on which a successful and increasingly stable Somalia will be built.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Fauzia opened the meeting by setting out the political achievements and objectives of the new government. Representatives of the government then talked the international partners through their strategic vision for increasing security and the capabilities of Somali security forces; the plans for judicial reform and enhancing the role of police, as well as the progress being made in strengthening financial accountability, transparency and management.
These are all clear priorities of the Government’s Six Pillar Plan, and the key issues that the Somalia Conference in London on 7 May will focus on. They are signs of the progress being made by a Government that has been together for less than 4 months.
However, as was reiterated on several occasions during the course of the day, the Government’s ability to deliver is more likely to be successful if the international community commits and gets behind them in a coordinated way. So the challenge for the Somalia Conference is not simply one that rests with our Somali colleagues – but one that also demands that international partners improve their coordination, coherence and impact in Somalia.
On this, progress is also being made: new funding mechanisms are being discussed to support Somali authorities, including the Federal; Government, deliver; a new ‘aid architecture’ – how donors work together – is being elaborated.
As importantly, a new UN Security Council Resolution was recently passed in a clear signal of support to the new Somali Government and further evidence of international commitment to support the Somalia’s recovery from two decades of civil war. The new Resolution, UNSCR 2093, does four things: it extends AMISOM’s mandate for another year; it sets clear parameters for the future of the UN’s engagement in Somalia; it suspends some elements of the arms embargo on the government of Somalia for 12 months; and it introduces a number of monitoring and reporting mechanisms to allow the Security Council continued oversight of weapons flows and use in Somalia.
This Resolution also underlines the importance of AMISOM continuing for a further year in its vital work in helping free Somalis from the dark days of AL Shabaab. It also directly responds to the request to the UN family from President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud: support us and give us one door to knock on.
Resolution 2093, therefore, sets the scene for both: a new UN Mission based in Mogadishu, supporting Somali solutions to Somali issues.
Over the coming weeks, our aim – working in partnership with the Federal Government – is to drive forward this agenda, so that by the time we all gather in London 7 weeks from now, we have the basis for a real and strengthened partnership – not simply between the UK and the Federal Government, but between the international community and Somalia.
Teams from both governments are already working hard in Mogadishu, London and Nairobi, and I’m confident that – together – we will be ready. We’re on course to make the Conference on 7th May a real success and fulfil the themes of opportunity, partnership and commitment that underpin this shared agenda.
If you want to find out more about the conference, including how you can join the debate, please do go to our new Somalia Conference website .
As ever, your comments and contributions will be very welcome.