Speech by the UN Envoy to Somalia at the 53rd Extraordinary Meeting of the IGAD Council of Ministers

11 Jan 2015

Speech by the UN Envoy to Somalia at the 53rd Extraordinary Meeting of the IGAD Council of Ministers

Your Excellency, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, President of Somalia, Your Excellencies, Members of the IGAD Council of Ministers, Your Excellency, Ambassador Eng. Mahboub Maalim, IGAD Executive Secretary, Your Excellency, Ambassador Mohamed Affey, IGAD Special Envoy for Somalia, Your Excellency, Lydia Wanyoto Mutende, Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and members of the Diplomatic Corps in Mogadishu, Excellencies, Ministers, Honorable MPs, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to speak on this hugely important occasion. This is a happy day. 1985 was the last time IGAD’s Council of Ministers met in Mogadishu. I salute your extraordinary leadership, commitment and courage. This is a proud day. The people of Somalia and the FGS can be proud that peace and security are returning. It is a proud day because Somalia has returned to the community of Nations.

We can be proud of the extraordinary partnership between the UN, AU, IGAD and other international partners, their unity of purpose and partnership, courage and commitment. This visit reaffirms the region’s united and enduring commitment to Somalia. I hope it will also strengthen IGAD’s continuing role in Somalia as well as its cooperation with the United Nations, the African Union and other international partners as we work together with the Federal Government and the Somali people to promote peace and stability in this country. I work very closely with IGAD’s Special Envoy for Somalia, Ambassador Mohamed Affey. His work and that of the IGAD Facilitator have played a critical role in helping Somalia to be what it is today: a country coming together after years of disintegration, a country of hope after years of despair.

IGAD has played a critical role in supporting Somalia on the path to peace, starting with the Mbagathi-Eldoret process in Kenya in 2002. It was the cooperation between the African Union, IGAD and the United Nations which enabled the creation and deployment of AMISOM. Indeed many IGAD member states are also troop contributors of AMISOM. I pay tribute to AMISOM and SNA soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of peace in Somalia.

IGAD has played a key role in the political transformation of Somalia since the end of Transition in 2012. It was pivotal in helping to secure the Addis Ababa Agreement of August 2013, which created the Interim Jubba Administration, the first Interim Regional Administration in Somalia. The UN has worked closely with IGAD, the IJA the Federal Government and other partners to implement the agreement and ensure the establishment of inclusive and effective institutions. The UN provided technical and financial support to IGAD for the reconciliation processes under the agreement. We have also been working with IGAD on militia disarmament and integration proposals for the Jubbas and stand ready to continue to do so. The successful implementation of the agreement will help other state building and formation processes in the country. In this context I welcome the recent developments in establishing the Interim South West Administration, and the ongoing efforts to establish an Interim Regional Administration in the central Regions.

Peace and stability in Somalia is critical to security and development in the wider region and internationally. Over the last few years we have repeatedly seen that Al Shabaab’s operations and influence are not confined to within Somalia’s borders. Several IGAD countries have been touched individually by Al-Shabaab actions. Establishing sustainable security in Somalia is also part of the solution to allowing the large numbers of Somali refugees in the region to return to their homes. In 2014 for the first time, UNHCR and the Governments of Kenya and Somalia began a voluntary assistance return programme to reverse the flow of people and 500 Somalis recently resettled in Jubba. Building an inclusive and stable federal state is key to all of this. Building peace is impossible without building a state.

2015 is the year of Federalism and delivery. Somali and international expectations are high. This is the year in which we all expect federal states to be established throughout the country. We also expect to see most of the constitutional review to be concluded in time for a constitutional referendum in March 2016. We also expect preparations for elections in 2016 to begin in earnest. These processes need to be inclusive, involving the Federal Parliament, Federal Government, emerging administrations and the people of Somalia, particularly women, youth and marginalised groups. AMISOM and the Somali security forces will also continue to prosecute their campaign against Al Shabaab and consolidate its gains. Securing supply routes and stabilizing areas are identified as top priorities. The challenges are significant, and there is no time to lose. The people of Somalia also need to see the benefits of peacebuilding, statebuilding and development, both in newly recovered areas through stabilization activities, and in already accessible areas.

The New Deal Somali Compact has been reaffirmed in Copenhagen in November as the framework for international assistance to achieve Somalia’s national priorities. We also need political stability with all federal institutions working together to implement the Federal Government’s Vision 2016 plan. I congratulate the Federal Parliament, under the guidance of Speaker Jowari, for the work it has continued to do in the past few weeks: passing the Boundaries and Federations Commission Bill and ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I strongly encourage a final push to complete this session: the laws to establish the National Independent Election Commission and Human Rights Commission. IGAD and its member states have a major role to play in supporting this next phase of peacebuilding and statebuilding in Somalia and I look forward to continuing to work closely with you on this. Your agenda today captures the exact priorities – political, progress, security sector reform and stabilization.

Again, on behalf of the United Nations, I very much welcome this historic visit of the IGAD Council of Ministers and we look forward to helping millions of Somalis benefit from 2015 being the year of federalism and delivery.

I thank you.