Collective efforts essential for progress as Somalia faces critical moment – UN envoy


The top United Nations envoy in Somalia today stressed that collective and coordinated efforts from the Government as well as regional and international organizations are needed to achieve progress in the east African country.

“Progress is being made in Somalia, but the goals are reversible if we do not maintain and increase our collective efforts,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay said at the 392nd meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “To fail to do this would have serious consequence in and beyond Somalia. Let us not run that risk.”

Somalia has been torn asunder by factional fighting since 1991 but has recently made progress towards stability. In 2011, Islamist Al-Shabaab insurgents retreated from Mogadishu and last year new Government institutions emerged, as the country ended a transitional phase toward setting up a permanent, democratically-elected Government.

Mr. Kay highlighted some the achievements of the Federal Government of Somalia since it was formed almost a year ago, including the Parliament’s launch of a Constitutional Review Process that would involve civil society, and a law establishing a Constitutional Review Commission.

“Collectively, we have achieved a lot and I genuinely believe we are on the brink of achieving great things in terms of helping Somalia in its task of peacebuilding and State-building,” he said. “We should not lose focus and we should increase our efforts at this critical moment.”

However, he warned that there remain serious challenges, including terrorism, piracy and the security situation which remains volatile in the southern part of the country. In June, Al Shabaab operatives perpetrated a complex attack on the UN Common Compound killing staff as well as Somali civilians. This incident was followed by a similar attack on a facility adjacent to the Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu, which injured and claimed both Turkish and Somali lives.

Mr. Kay, who also heads the UN Assistance Mission to Somalia (UNSOM), reiterated the UN’s commitment to support the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) through its support office for the AU Mission (UNSOA) and the mobilization of funding for AMISOM.

Created in 2007, AMISOM conducts peace support operations in Somalia to stabilize the situation in the country to create conditions for the conduct of humanitarian activities.

“The United Nations looks forward to working jointly with the AU and in close consultation with the Federal Government, in undertaking a review of the deployment of AMISOM,” Mr. Kay said. “I hope too that it will give due emphasis to the importance of making rapid and significant progress on enhancing the capacity of the Somali national security forces.”

Mr. Kay also underlined that UNSOM will continue to support the Federal Government to take forwards political processes, and added that the Mission has also begun to work to enhance the Government’s capacity to provide basic services, justice and the rule of law.

He added that support is not limited to the capital, but expands to various regions including the facilitation of dialogue Somaliland and supporting an inclusive process for future elections in Puntland, among other issues.