SRSG Kay addesses the 2nd Core Group meeting for preparation of Brussels Conference on Somalia
Mogadishu, – With little less than two months to go before the Brussels Conference, this meeting is an opportune moment to take stock of the progress made in the New Deal process and more generally. It also gives us an opportunity to critically review the key areas still requiring work and further attention, and to coordinate efforts to ensure that the upcoming conference will be a success, laying the foundation for a peaceful and prosperous Somalia.
On the programme it says I should set the scene. I offer therefore a brief snapshot of where in my view matters stand on our international efforts to support political and security progress. In brief, it’s a mixed picture with reasons to be both encouraged and concerned. This is not the moment to go into detail and, if you read the news, you can get the picture: Al Shabaab have increased their violent campaign and remain a potent threat; AMISOM and the Somali national security forces have achieved some great things but lack critical capabilities to press home their advantage; a political settlement of the crisis focused on Kismayo is still pending despite the best efforts of IGAD; taking forward the review of the constitution and interim arrangements for regional administration is behind schedule; and ordinary people are yet to see sustained and widespread benefit from the political and security progress that has been made.
That last point is important: significant political and security progress has been made. We should not lose sight of the transformation that has been achieved by Somalis and their international partners, particularly AMISOM, in the last two years. The difference in Mogadishu is between night and day. The conditions really exist now for significant further progress: we benefit from having in place a legitimate Federal Government and State led by their Excellencies the President and PM and a Federal Parliament working earnestly under the guidance of the Hon Speaker. And we have a united international community willing and able to help Somalia.
Your Excellencies, UNSOM is still in its second month. I’d like to thank Somali and international colleagues for the great welcome we have received - and for all your expressions of solidarity following the attack on our UN Common Compound on 19 June. I reiterate again that the UN remains firmly committed to its mission in Somalia and will continue to stand beside the people of Somalia. I know there is a strong desire for us to deliver on our mandate, in particular to provide political good offices to support peace-building and reconciliation; and to support the FGS in coordinating and convening international assistance, particularly in the security sector and in building a federal state. UNSOM is already active on all of this and more. As we grow in coming weeks, we shall become even more capable so that, in true partnership with AMISOM, we shall help deliver peace and prosperity in Somalia.
The next couple of months will be critical in ensuring we achieve what we all desire. Political progress will be at the heart of things. The watchwords for me are greater engagement, more inclusivity, and better performance. Politicians often say politics is the art of the possible. In the coming weeks and months we shall all need to be great artists.
Your Excellencies, turning to the New deal. A couple of quick observations relevant to today’s meeting on what’s been achieved and what remains to be done. I welcome the cooperation that has been taking place under the FGS leadership between donors, the EU, the World Bank and the UN family.
Good progress has been made in at least three areas:
i) A fragility assessment is underway.
ii) The development of the compact is advancing well.
iii) A communication strategy has been developed to ensure that the New Deal messages are disseminated widely and understood by all Somalisand key stakeholders inside and outside the country.
However, several key questions still remain in the run-up to the Brussels conference.
First, the development and implementation of the New Deal must be truly inclusive. The New Deal needs to be a Somali-owned process under the overall leadership of the Somali Government. This demands new strategies to include women in decision making, to reach out to other regions of the country that are politically harder to engage, and to find creative ways to consult with people living outside of government-controlled areas. Questions around the inclusion of regions, such as Somaliland and Puntland in the ND process and the compact to be presented at Brussels remain. The UN is ready to support the Government in taking this dialogue forward.
Secondly, it seems to me that because discussions around federalism are ongoing in the country, the compact to be presented in Brussels will necessarily be interim and dynamic. It will have to be linked to ongoing and future consultative processes, such as the constitutional review and the build-up to the 2016 elections and we will have to be ready to adjust the compact as necessary depending on the outcomes of these processes. As emphasized previously, the Brussels conference on 16 September is not the endpoint but rather the first important milestone in the New Deal process. We shall all need to start thinking about the post-Brussels process.
Thirdly, an issue on pledging. The Brussels conference is intended to initiate concrete commitments by the international community. It will be important for the Somali Government to reach out to partners well in advance of the Brussels conference to ensure broad-based support to the compact, including from non-OECD DAC donors. An open dialogue between the Government of Somalia and its international partners will be crucial to manage expectations on both sides before the upcoming conference. The Conference’s success should be measured by whether we agree a plan and way of working that will deliver what Somalis need and not simply by whether X million $ are pledged.
To conclude, while impressive progress has been made, important questions remain regarding the inclusivity of the New Deal process, especially when it comes to the engagement of the regions, the format of the Brussels conference and expected commitments by the international community as well as the focus and format of the post-Brussels New Deal process. Some of the questions will be addressed in today’s meeting. Other areas will need more discussion and dialogue in the coming months.
Let me reaffirm that the UN remains fully committed to provide support the Government in the implementation of the New Deal in Somalia. I look forward to a constructive discussion today.