Senior Policy Adviser, UKMis New York
Guest blogger for
Delivering support and achieving progress in Somalia requires more than one international partner. Multilateral institutions are a vital way of convening the international community and combining our efforts to have a greater effect.
One of the many ways in which the UK supports progress in Somalia is through our Permanent Seat on the United Nations Security Council. In New York, we act as the ‘penholder’ on issues relating to Somalia which means that we draft resolutions and chair negotiations amongst the Council members.
The Council, with its remit to maintain international peace and security, has been a key contributor to the progress in Somalia over the last few years. It established a political office (UNSOM) which provides political advice and support to the Federal Government of Somalia on peacebuilding and state-building, and a representative of the Secretary-General to lead UN efforts. .
The Security Council also set up UNSOM to help build the Federal Government’s capacity to promote respect for human rights and women’s empowerment, child protection, prevent conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, and to strengthen justice institutions.
The Council authorises the regional African Union led mission in Somalia, AMISOM, which for the last 10 years has provided the security space for political progress to take place. AMISOM has pushed Al Shabaab from the major urban centres, and in 2016/7 secured the electoral locations so that Somalis could cast votes for their new Parliament for the first time in decades.
The Security Council does more than authorise this force; it oversees and approves the logistics support for the African Union troops, providing rations, fuel, transportation and shelter to enable the AMISOM troops to carry out vital peace operations..
These multilateral partnerships, through the United Nations, the African Union and the European Union, are bearing fruit. A peaceful transition of power to President Farmajo, emerging Somali security forces, and a younger and more diverse Parliament than ever before (nearly 25% of Parliamentarians are women) make Somalia one of the few issues on the agenda of the Security Council which is on a positive trajectory.
Emergence from conflict takes decades, and support and investment from international partners, coupled with the strong will of a country to rebuild and re-establish the functions of government. There is a long way to go and the continued, deadly threat of Al Shabaab means that we cannot be complacent. But the Security Council’s continued attention on Somalia will be a critical part in the next chapter of their state building. The UK will continue to focus that attention in a world of competing crisis. Somalia’s recent successes are a sign that progress can be made.