UN / SOMALIA

21-May-2020 00:01:17
UN Special Representative for Somalia James Swan said the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are “acute” as the country also faces “its worst desert locust infestation in some 25 years.” UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / SOMALIA
TRT: 1:17
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 21 MAY 2020, MOGADISHU, SOMALIA
SHOTLIST
FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, United Nations headquarters exterior

21 MAY 2020, MOGADISHU, SOMALIA

2. SOUNDBITE (English) James Swan, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM):
“The consequences for Somalia are acute. Even before COVID, more than five million Somalis required humanitarian assistance. The 2.6 million internally displaced persons are particularly at risk. Nearly one million Somalis are now affected by flooding, and the country also faces its worst desert locust infestation in some 25 years.”
3. Multiple screens, participants
4. SOUNDBITE (English) James Swan, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM):
“Prior to the global pandemic, Somalia had set ambitious national priorities for 2020. These include the holding of the first direct elections in Somalia since 1969. As this Council noted in November, the holding of peaceful, inclusive, credible and transparent one-person-one-vote elections would be a historic step in rebuilding Somalia and would assist with the country’s continued democratic development.”
5. Multiple screens, participants
6. SOUNDBITE (English) James Swan, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM):
“We regret that al-Shabaab has not embraced the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire, and that their terrorist operations continue unabated.”
7. Multiple screens, participants
STORYLINE
UN Special Representative for Somalia James Swan said the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are “acute” as the country also faces “its worst desert locust infestation in some 25 years.”

Addressing a virtual Security Council meeting from the Somali capital Mogadishu, Swan said even before COVID-19 more than five million Somalis required humanitarian assistance, with the 2.6 million internally displaced persons “particularly at risk.” He reported that the Federal Government’s projection of an 11 percent decline in nominal GDP for 2020.

Swan said the Federal and Member State governments had responded quickly to the crisis within their means. He added that the UN Agencies, Funds, and Programmes have reoriented their activities to give priority to COVID-19.

The Special Representative noted that Somalia’s ability to respond to COVID-19 was greatly aided by having achieved the decision point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, which enabled the country to become eligible for additional budget support and grant financing.

Swan said, prior to the global pandemic, Somalia “had set ambitious national priorities for 2020,” including the holding of the first direct elections since 1969. He stressed that holding “peaceful, inclusive, credible and transparent one-person-one-vote elections would be a historic step in rebuilding Somalia and would assist with the country’s continued democratic development.” He said the coming weeks would be decisive in determining how Somalia will proceed to these elections and called on the Federal and State governments to ensure full respect for the freedoms of speech, assembly, and organization, especially during this critical election year.

Turning to the Security situation, the Special Envoy informed the Council that Somalia has made progress in recovering areas occupied by al-Shabaab. He said institutional reforms have continued in the security forces, including improvements to management and personnel systems.

Swan said the al-Shabab group inflicts intimidation and violence not only through Improvised Explosive Devices, mortar attacks and assassinations, but also through extortion, illegal commercial activities and criminal tactics. He regreted that al-Shabaab had not embraced the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire, and that “their terrorist operations continue unabated.”


The Special Representative said the UN in Somalia remains present, active, and committed to delivering their mandates, despite the restrictions and additional challenges inflicted by the global pandemic.
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