29 May 2013


On 2 May 2013, the UN Security Council passed a unanimous resolution 2102 (2013) establishing a new political mission led by the UN Department of Political Affairs, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM). The new mission replaced the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), which completed its mandate on 2 June 2013.

What is UNSOM’s role?
UNSOM’s core role is to act as an enabler, helping to create and galvanize the political and strategic environment in which stabilization and peace-building can proceed, including by leveraging other parts of the UN system and international partners. UNSOM supports the Federal Government of Somalia’s agenda of peace, security and nation-building and will help move the country towards free and fair elections in 2016. It exercises its mandate guided by the principles of Somali ownership, flexibility, collaboration and partnerships. In close cooperation with key partners such as the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), it also fulfils the Government’s wish for “a single UN door to knock on”. UNSOM is guided by the President’s Six Pillar Policy and the Somali Compact on the New Deal.

What is the mandate of UNSOM?
UNSOM’s mandate is: provision of policy advice to the Federal Government of Somalia and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on peace-building and state-building in the areas of: governance, security sector reform and rule of law (including the disengagement of combatants), development of a federal system (including preparations for elections in 2016), and coordination of international donor support.

The mission has four key areas of focus:
a) Good offices: support reconciliation efforts, assist with mediation and facilitation in support of the Government to deliver core political tasks, such as the development of a federal system, the constitutional review process and subsequent referendum on the constitution; and preparations for elections in 2016;

b) Rule of law and security sector: support to the Government’s priority objectives of transforming and building Somalia’s security and justice institutions by providing technical advice and align security sector reform, rule of law (including police, justice and corrections), disengagement of combatants, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, maritime security and mine action;

c) Human rights: promote awareness and respect for human rights with a focus to women’s empowerment, child protection and prevention of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence; strengthen Somalia’s justice and human rights institutions; monitor, investigate, prevent and report on any abuses or violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in Somalia; support the Government to review, develop, implement necessary legislation in compliance with international human rights standards.

d) Coordination of international assistance: support the Government’s efforts to coordinate donor support, in particular on security sector assistance and maritime security, stability and recovery, public finance management and capacity development, working with bilateral and multilateral partners through the New Deal framework.

Who is the head of UNSOM?
On 29 April 2013, the Secretary-General appointed Mr. Nicholas Kay, (UK) a diplomat with extensive African experience, as his Special Representative for Somalia and head of UNSOM. Mr. Kay leads the alignment of UN country team activities with the priorities of UNSOM and coordinates UN activities with the Federal Government, the African Union, AMISOM, IGAD, the European Union as well as other regional, bilateral and multilateral partners.

Where is UNSOM based?
UNSOM is headquartered in Mogadishu, with offices across Somalia as requested by the Federal Government and as security conditions permit. The mission has established a presence in Hargeisa, Garowe, Kismayo and Baidoa during its initial phase; the Mission also plans to establish a presence in Beletweyne, taking into account security and logistical considerations.

When was UNSOM launched and how long will it be in place?
The Security Council established UNSOM on 3 June 2013 for an initial period of 12 months. The Secretary-General will keep the Council informed of the implementation of UNSOM’s mandate, with reports delivered in three month intervals. The Security Council will review UNSOM’s mandate by 30 April 2014.

Is UNSOM a peacekeeping mission?
No. UNSOM is a political mission led by the UN’s Department of Political Affairs within the UN Secretariat. However, the UN and the AU conducted a joint mission to Somalia between 26 August and 6 September 2013 to establish benchmarks for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping operation. The main goal remains for Somalis to provide security to their people, without outside assistance; AMISOM remains a critical part of these efforts.

What is the role of UNSOM vis-à-vis AMISOM?
The UN Security Council in its resolution 2093 (2013) emphasized the need for the United Nations to work in a coordinated manner with AMISOM. UNSOM is working to strengthen the strategic partnership between the UN and AMISOM. Both organizations have a role to play in supporting Somalia’s peace-building and are working on parameters for practical partnership on the ground.

What is the role of UNSOM vis-à-vis UN agencies?
On 1 January 2014, the post of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator was established and structurally integrated into UNSOM. UN activities in Somalia are now guided through an overall Integrated Strategic Framework that combines the various mandates under one UN vision, with all relevant activities of the UN Country Team now fully coordinated with UNSOM. Following integration, it is imperative to ensure humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence of humanitarian assistance. UNSOM will also work closely with the UN Country Team and development partners on issues relating to, among others, the coordination of stabilization and recovery efforts in newly accessible areas; maritime security issues; economic drivers of conflict and capacity development.

What is the role of UNSOM vis-à-vis UNSOA?
On 3 June 2013, the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM was integrated within the framework of UNSOM. The Director of UNSOA reports to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on logistical support to UNSOM and on policy or political questions arising while s/he continues to report to the Department of Field Support on the delivery of the AMISOM logistical support package.