Remarks by SRSG Nicholas Kay at the High Level Partnership Forum
Mogadishu, 24 February 2014 - Mr. President, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Salaam Alaikum and Subax Wanaagsan. Welcome to Mogadishu, to all our new visitors. It’s good to see so many here, as the President says, on this historic occasion, and a significant milestone for the Somali Compact.
I would like to start by extending my deep condolences and I’m sure, the whole group’s condolences, to the government of Somalia and the families, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives in the latest attack on Friday 21 February. Many in this room, I know, were at Villa Somalia at that time and it was a traumatic day for them personally. And we all lost also a dear colleague, Mohamud Hersi, who many of us knew and worked with, as chief of staff of the Prime Minister, and the previous Prime Minister. We also mourn retired General Noor. Mohamud Hersi was a dear colleague of ours, he leaves nine children in Canada and I think it would be right if we observed a minute’s silence for him and for all those killed on Friday and also all those too often killed in Somalia.
It’s not just because it was an attack on Villa Somalia, at the heart of government, but as I say, it’s the human loss for many of us, and we should never lose sight of the human cost of what is happening in Somalia. To become dehumanized to that would be to lose our direction.
I thank the President for his opening remarks, and I reassure you, Mr. President, that the United Nations will continue to support your peace-building and state-building efforts as mandated by the UN Security Council. We shall continue to do everything in our power to help you build a better Somalia.
As shown yet again by the events of the past few days, the road ahead will be tough and we must strengthen our collective determination to press on together.
As I believe a Somali saying goes, you should dream of a camel, even if you only end up getting a cow.
I take this to mean that ambition is good, but results are even better.
The heat is on all of us now: firstly the heat is on the government. Security in Mogadishu, as well as in the rest of the country, is the primary responsibility of the government. The government must deliver security and results for the Somali people.
Secondly, the heat is on the United Nations and our colleagues in the African Union to provide the technical and security support to the government in line with our mandates.
Thirdly, the heat is on the donor community to provide the significant resources and pledges that are needed here, while always, of course, protecting their own taxpayers’ interests.
Despite the latest series of security incidents in Mogadishu, I firmly believe it is important that the Somali National Army and AMISOM offensive operations continue as planned and are not disrupted. We do, in fact, need to redouble our military, our political and economic efforts against Al Shabaab. We need especially to remind the misguided members of Al Shabaab that the door is always open for those who renounce violence and wish to join a political process.
However, in parallel, robust measures to improve security in the city are critical to the operations of the government and the international community’s ability to stay and deliver. I welcome very much the initial indications the president has given of the steps that are being taken.
Today, at this first meeting of the High Level Partnership Forum (HLPF), we should agree on a limited number of key actions and priorities that need to happen in 2014 and align our resources against those.
We need also to agree what this Forum should do as a strategic mechanism. We also need to agree who else should be a part of the Forum to ensure all those who have a stake in Somalia’s future are taking part.
Having an efficient forum is crucial to achieve progress. My preliminary observation is that the HLPF will be made more effective if it meets in two configurations; in plenary and in a reduced “executive committee” format. The executive committee could meet monthly and help prepare the plenary discussions.
I would offer some specific areas where we need to take decisions that can speed up and reinforce the implementation of the Compact. I offer four suggestions:
Firstly, participation: the federal states and regions need to have a greater sense of ownership. The Compact could and should provide the glue to bind the regions and states into a sense of common purpose, shared resources, shared powers and responsibilities. Civil society and the legislature also need to play a role. It is particularly important that Puntland has a stronger voice and presence within the Somali Compact and its bodies. This reflects its status as a de facto federal state. The Interim Jubba Administration also merits a more prominent role to reflect its unique status.
Secondly, stabilisation: the Federal Government has made significant progress in bringing together the key players for this important area. But more urgent and detailed work is needed. International support for the establishment of local administrations and law enforcement can only align with these plans once there are more details in hand.
Thirdly, finance: I look forward to hearing the progress being made on the new Financial Governance Committee. This is very important and welcome development. Unless the committee starts to function as we hope, it will be very difficult to mobilise resources from donors and build the confidence of Somali taxpayers that their money is well spent. We need to agree how public finance management fits within the New Deal architecture.
Finally, legislation: at the request of the government, the UN has provided a report highlighting the steps needed to keep on track for elections in 2016. The formation of the election management body, the Independent Electoral Commission is a top priority. Several other laws are overdue and the constitutional review process must accelerate as well.
Although not on today’s agenda, I call on your excellency and the Federal Government to develop, without delay, a clear “roadmap” that will deliver your vision for 2016. We are already running out of time on the key tasks contained in the Provisional Federal Constitution, i.e. forming federal states, finishing the constitution and democratisation. We need the Government to produce a master plan and timetable for these processes, which we then, as the international community, can help you deliver. The High Level Partnership Forum can play a significant role in monitoring progress on these political objectives.
In closing, once again let me welcome everyone – and say a special thank you to Ambassador Annadif and AMISOM for hosting us in this facility. I look forward to a productive morning and a frank and practical discussion.