The situation in Somalia - Security Council, 9125th Meeting

Preview Language:   Six Official
07-Sep-2022 01:35:40
Federal, local leaders in Somalia must work closely to improve governance, counter terrorism, address humanitarian crisis, mission head tells Security Council.

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The United Nations top official in Somalia updated Security Council members today on the promising political climate emerging in the African nation while warning of the dire drought-induced humanitarian situation and the ongoing security threats posed by al-Shabaab.

James Swan, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), said he urges federal and state officials in Somalia to collaborate and use the stable political climate to address key national priorities from security to governance to the humanitarian crisis.

“To capitalize on this opportunity, federal and state authorities must collaborate closely to achieve progress on the new Government’s goals, including improving governance and justice, effectively countering al-Shabaab, and responding urgently to the worsening humanitarian crisis,” he said. Since briefing the Council after the 15 May election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the Parliament in June unanimously endorsed the President’s nominee for Prime Minister, Hamza Abdi Barre, and confirmed his Cabinet two months later in August.

Security is a top national priority for the new Somali Administration as al-Shabaab shows increasing boldness. Mr. Swan said effective Somali forces are key to the planned transition from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). “I reiterate the need for the Federal Government and federal member states to collaborate closely to counter al-Shabaab, guided by Somalia’s regional and international human rights commitments,” he said. Turning to the country’s humanitarian situation, he said Somalia is facing a humanitarian catastrophe with about 7.8 million Somalis — nearly half the country’s estimated population — experiencing the worst drought in at least four decades, exacerbated by climate factors.

Fiona Lortan, Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Acting Head of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, also briefed the Council and said the United Nations-African Union partnership “remains vital” to deliver support to Somalia. Insecurity across the country remains a serious concern for ATMIS amidst an increase in attacks by al-Shabaab, including the use of improvised explosive devices, infiltration, ambushes and targeted assassinations. While ATMIS and the Government work out the details of the security transition, more emphasis must be placed on the Mission’s drawdown. This will depend, however, on the Government’s ability to fill gaps left by the withdrawal of ATMIS forces; otherwise, a security vacuum will ensue. She appealed to the Council and all partners to urgently ensure adequate, sustainable and predictable funding for ATMIS during the rest of its mandate. The Mission currently faces a financing gap of $40 to $50 million, which it needs to pay staff salaries and undertake critical programmes to support its mandate.

Annette Weber, Special Representative of the European Union for the Horn of Africa, said al-Shabaab has become the richest and strongest global franchise of Al-Qaida, threatening peace and security, as well as humanitarian efforts in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. She cited the sacrifice of the men and women of the troop-contributing countries of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) — now ATMIS — which have deployed thousands of troops. The European Union remains committed to supporting the continued security presence of ATMIS and has committed €140 million for 2022. But there is no support for “more of the same”. She urged the Somali Government to provide clarity on the Somalia Transition Plan and the National Security Architecture. The Council must acknowledge that the root causes of Somalia’s instability remain unresolved, with the relationship between the Federal Government and federal member states remaining fragile.

At the same time, she said the worst drought in four decades is ravaging Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa, with more than 7 million people — more than half the population — being food insecure and more than 200,000 people facing immediate risk of starvation.

The representative of Somalia noted that since winning the election, President Hassan has taken steps to create an environment of unity and reconciliation among all stakeholders, laying a road map for national priorities — including finalizing the Provisional Constitution, adopting a unified election model and adopting a suitable justice model. He cited the importance of national unity, including improved security and development of the economic sector, pointing towards a 10 September meeting of the National Consultative Council on a detailed road map and plan of action.

The Somali National Army continues to conduct offensive military operations against al-Shabaab, he continued. The country faces a protracted and recurring humanitarian crisis coupled with the threat of flooding, the COVID-19 pandemic and an October-December seasonal forecast indicating yet another below-average rainfall. He emphasized that humanitarian assistance alone cannot provide a sustainable or cost-effective solution to recurring climate shocks. He called for substantial development and climate change mitigation investment to strengthen the nexus between humanitarian and developmental assistance.

Also speaking today were delegates of the United Kingdom, Ireland, India, Ghana (on behalf of Gabon and Kenya), Norway, United Arab Emirates, Albania, Mexico, China, Russian Federation, United States, Brazil and France.

The meeting began at 10:01 a.m. and ended at 11:36 a.m.

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