COMMUNIQUE Ministerial High-Level Partnership Forum, 23-24 February 2016, Istanbul

24 Feb 2016

COMMUNIQUE Ministerial High-Level Partnership Forum, 23-24 February 2016, Istanbul

Istanbul –  Representatives from 46 countries and 11 international organisations gathered in Istanbul on 23 and 24 February 2016 to participate in the third Ministerial High-Level Partnership Forum (HLPF), hosted by H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey and co-chaired by H.E.  Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia and H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy-Secretary General of the United Nations. This forum follows previous meetings held in Copenhagen in 2014 and Mogadishu in 2015.

 1.       Representatives from 46 countries and 11 international organisations gathered in Istanbul on 23 and 24 February 2016 to participate in the third Ministerial High-Level Partnership Forum (HLPF), hosted by H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Turkey and co-chaired by H.E.  Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia and H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy-Secretary General of the United Nations. This forum follows previous meetings held in Copenhagen in 2014 and Mogadishu in 2015.

2.       Two official side events, one on Women, Peace, and Security and the other on Youth were also held during the HLPF.

3.       We welcome the second annual progress report of the New Deal Somali Compact and commend the detailed Compact Review process, which has resulted in greater joint analysis of achievements and challenges faced in implementation, as well as identification of milestones for 2016. This report accurately acknowledges that despite many challenges, remarkable progress has been achieved in many areas of Somalia’s peace and state-building agenda and reaffirms our continued engagement and provision of assistance.

4.       With the end of the constitutionally-mandated terms of the Federal Government and Parliament, 2016 is a decisive year for Somalia. We recognise that one-person one-vote elections will not be possible this year, but welcome the inclusive and participatory process that led to agreement on key principles and actions of the 2016 electoral process in the ‘Mogadishu Declaration’ of 16 December 2015. In line with the Guiding Principles and the Mogadishu Declaration, we commit to undertake all efforts to deliver an electoral process in August 2016. We underline our strong expectation that there must not be any impediments to the timely implementation of the electoral process, including freedom of expression, nor any extension of the constitutionally-mandated term limits of the legislature and executive. We urge the completion of the 2016 Electoral Process Implementation Plan and the development of the 2020 Roadmap in an inclusive and participatory manner.

5.       We note the absence of Puntland from this Forum, and urge the Federal Government and regional authorities to make every effort to ensure that the government and people of Puntland are fully on board in order to allow for the 2016 electoral process to be as inclusive as possible.

6.       We affirm that pursuing universal suffrage in 2020 is required. We recognise the need to overcome the existing power-sharing formula, in accordance with the strong desire of the Somali people. We stress the importance of a clear political vision and path and agree to consolidate twin-track planning in support of one-person one-vote elections supported by a capable National Independent Electoral Commission by 2020. The international community stands ready to support these processes.

7.       We underline the need to complete the state formation process in Hiraan and Middle Shabelle and reach agreement on clarification of the status of Mogadishu.

8.       Noting that Somalia’s Federal Constitution will be the foundation for stability and peaceful politics in Somalia, we urge the swift completion of the review of the priority chapters of the Provisional Federal Constitution. We welcome the agreement among federal leaders and mandated federal institutions on priority political issues that require immediate response in 2016. We urge the Federal Government to engage the emerging and federal member states in the constitutional review and implementation process and conduct nationwide consultations with Somali people across all federal and emerging member states, including through civic education and outreach to ensure broad-based consensus and Somali ownership.

9.       We acknowledge that progress has been made to achieve greater peace and security across Somalia, but remain concerned that the security environment at present is an inhibiting factor for development of both governing institutions and the Somali population and remains a root cause for the significant humanitarian assistance requirements in Somalia.

10.   We commend the valiant efforts by AMISOM and the SNA in the fight against al-Shabaab. We express special appreciation to all AMISOM Troop and Police Contributing Countries, as well as partners for their contribution and continued commitment to the Mission. We urge the need for reinvigorated AMISOM and SNA operations, and that efforts be made for the SNA to assume operational strength in forward bases supported by AMISOM. Operations must be conducted in compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights and take into account the need to create the necessary conditions for stabilization of recovered areas, recognizing the role to be played by different actors, including those within the police, justice, and corrections sector. We look forward to the outcome of the forthcoming Troop Contributing Countries (TCC) Summit in Djibouti in February 2016. We call upon all partners to continue to bridge the gap between operational needs and available resources in order to guarantee predictable, flexible, and sustainable resources.    

11.   We recognise the efforts made to provide support to strengthen the capacity and accountability of Somali security institutions across the country and welcome the commitment by the Federal Government and international partners to develop, before May 2016, financially sustainable plans for the army (Gulwaade) and police (Heegan) under a national security architecture and informed by the Public Expenditure Review conducted by the World Bank and the UN. We welcome the decision that the National Security Council will include regional representation at the highest level. We commend efforts to complete a National Threat Assessment and to ensure the National Security Policy is fully agreed and endorsed before May 2016.

12.   We also recognise the opportunity and need to provide support to the police forces of emerging and federal members States to ensure safety and security.

13.   We note that international support to the Somali security sector remains essential and must be provided with increased transparency and full integration and alignment with the financially sustainable plans developed by the Federal Government. We welcome the commitment to focus on national force integration and the President’s commitments on security sector reform including expenditures together with enhanced monitoring systems and urge that the mechanism supports regular and timely payments. We welcome the commitment from international partners to provide stipends in a timely and consistent manner.

14.   We recognise rule of law is an integral part of security, stability and extension of state authority and jointly commit to improve provision of basic services across the justice chain of police, justice, and corrections. We also urge that key justice institutions such as the Constitutional Court, Independent Human Rights Commission and the Judicial Service Commission be established in 2016.

15.   We recognize the importance of a comprehensive approach to preventing violent extremism in Somalia, beyond military operations and including addressing the root causes of radicalization and pledge to work together to address these factors. We reaffirm that counter-terrorism efforts should be conducted in full respect of human rights and welcome the adoption the Counter-Terrorism Bill.

16.   We emphasize that a comprehensive approach for the extension of state authority is required so that local administrations have the capacity to deliver basic services to their constituencies.

17.   We are concerned that 4.7 million people in Somalia are food insecure and in need of urgent and sustained humanitarian support. 3.2 million people are in need of emergency health services, nearly 1 million face daily food security crisis, more than 300,000 children under the age of 5 are acutely malnourished – 58,300 of them severely. The needs of 1.1 million internally displaced people are particularly great. We are particularly concerned with the recent onset of drought in large areas across Somalia, and reaffirm the need for attention to disaster management and early warning and response systems. We recognise durable solutions are required to address persistent natural and man-made shocks and vulnerabilities. We reconfirm our commitment to the 2016 Humanitarian Response plan. We welcome efforts to provide a solutions perspective for IDPs, and urge international and national partners to provide necessary support to strategically bridge humanitarian and development objectives.  

18.   We underline the vital role of education, health, social protection, and other core social services in supporting the Somali people. Whilst recognizing the substantial progress made in 2015 to extend social services to disadvantaged populations, the international community and government commit to prioritize greater financial and human resource investments in social services. In this regard, we welcome the joint commitment to improve public delivery of education and health services through key legislation & policies (e.g. national curricula, health strategy, social protection policy), capacity building, and effective public management and payment systems for teachers and health workers.

19.   We underline the need to develop key economic sectors that will provide all Somalis with greater opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, and stress the need for responsible and transparent management of all productive and natural resources as the primary drivers of inclusive economic growth.

20.   We acknowledge the Federal Government’s commitment to enact reforms and draft legislation to strengthen key sectors (energy, infrastructure, ports, ICT, agriculture, livestock, and fisheries), including through private public partnership, and welcome the international community’s efforts to expand support for high priority economic sectors and youth employment, including through vocational training. We encourage support for regional economic initiatives, especially for infrastructure development, as they will be essential for regional economic growth and cooperation.

21.   We recognize the need for a comprehensive approach to equipping Somali youth with tools that will enable them to play a positive role in bringing peace, social and economic prosperity to Somalia. In that regard, in line with the Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, we welcome development of the National Youth Policy and the UN Youth Strategy for Somalia, as well as the creation of the Somali Youth Fund through the National Window.

22.   We underscore the vital contribution of women to the economic, political and social life of Somalia. We welcome the Federal Government’s decision to ensure 30% of seats for women in the 2016 elections and South West States’ allocation of 21% of seats for women in the Regional Assembly. We urge the Somali leadership to translate these commitments into reality in August 2016. We appreciate that formulation of the National Gender Policy has commenced, welcome the drafting of the Sexual Offences Bill and urge the swift completion and approval of them. We urge the Government to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in order to ensure measures are put in place to systematically eliminate discriminatory laws and practices and promote equality of women.

23.   We appreciate the active and successful participation of Somalia in the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process before the UN Human Rights Council. We congratulate Somalia on its ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 1 October 2015, and urge the signing of its Optional Protocols.

24.   We strongly recommend that momentum be sustained and commitments implemented, particularly with regards to implementation of the Action Plan on the Human Rights Roadmap, the establishment of the Independent Human Rights Commission in line with the Paris Principles, and enhanced compliance by the security forces with international human rights and humanitarian law. We urge the international community to focus their support on the human rights priorities identified, particularly in the Human Rights Roadmap and to support capacity building of the Ministry of Women and Human Rights to implement these priorities.

25.   2016 marks the final year of the Somali Compact. The Compact has played a crucial role in improving the partnership and mutual accountability between the government and international community and furthering political, security and development progress in Somalia. We look forward to developing the next phase of international engagement in Somalia based on a shared set of principles and a renewal of the joint partnership.

26.   We commit to taking concrete steps to improve and accelerate aid delivery consistent with agreed partnership principles and to align programs and resources with Somalia’s national priorities, as a means of improving aid effectiveness.

27.   We welcome the progress made on the preparation of a three-year National Development Plan (2017-19), and national consultations held to ensure that the NDP truly reflects the priorities and needs of the Somali people. We commit to support the formulation of an NDP which provides commitments from the government to the Somali people to create an enabling environment for political and security progress, poverty reduction and inclusive development, and provides the framework for international engagement in Somalia. The NDP will be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, and will be IPRSP (Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper) compliant.

28.   We congratulate the Federal Government on its progress to improve the management of Somalia’s public finances and urge further efforts to mobilise and diversify its domestic revenue. We welcome the political agreement between federal and state Ministries of Finance to work towards harmonized taxes, tariffs and audit functions across the country; use of compatible and interfaced Financial Management Information Systems (FMIS); and adopt a single monetary policy and currency note. We urge the government to commit to the full implementation of these mechanisms to help build Somalia’s fiscal management systems. We also welcome the government’s commitment to develop a nationally-agreed regulatory framework for revenue sharing and sustainable natural resource management.

29.   We recognize the significance of Somalia’s first Article IV consultation by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 25 years. We commend the Federal Government’s continued commitment to financial and economic governance reform to establish the foundations for full re-engagement of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in Somalia within the framework of HIPC to allow Somalia to access concessional financing to achieve its development objectives. We encourage institution of an IMF-Staff-Monitored Programme.

30.   We emphasize that the Financial Governance Committee (FGC) plays an important role in assisting the government and the international community strengthen governance of Somalia’s public financial institutions. We strongly encourage the continuation of the FGC’s work in order to sustain and build upon the gains that have been made.

31.  We recommit to the Use of Country Systems (UCS) roadmap, outlining mutual commitments by development partners and government to use and strengthen country systems commensurate with progress on fiscal reform. We commit to more solid, harmonized and transparent public financial management systems to manage fiduciary risks, and that use of country systems can lead to greater aid effectiveness.

32.   In conclusion, we thank all participants for their constructive engagement, and commit to working together on implementation of our agreed actions in 2016, to make this year a milestone and historic year for Somalia.

33.   We would like to extend our gratitude to the people and government of Turkey for their warm welcome and hospitality during the Forum and commend Turkey's broad engagement in the development and reconstruction of Somalia.