More than 100 representatives of different Somali groups, the United Nations, World Bank, donors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) opened a four-day meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, today in an effort to develop a plan to rebuild a country that has been without a functioning government for 14 years.
“We are particularly excited by this opportunity to be involved in the reconstruction of Somalia,” UN Senior Technical Coordinator for the Somali Joint Needs Assessment (JNA), David Bassiouni, declared of the Horn of Africa country, which has been riven by multiple factional fighting.
“It will be a step towards the realization of the hope that with a peaceful and secure environment, the international community in partnership with the Somali people, can support and boost the joint efforts to creating a better quality of life for the ordinary Somalis.”
The Somali Joint Needs Assessment is co-led by the UN and the World Bank at the request of the country’s recently established Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the international community.
The JNA Inception Retreat, as the meeting is called, will discuss objectives, methodology and a timeline for producing a Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), a document to mobilize and coordinate international assistance for a five year period (2006-2010).
Teams of Somali and international technical experts will undertake the assessment and prepare a set of priority initiatives for presentation to a global donor conference in 2006. As part of the assessment, they will hold consultative workshops in different locations inside Somalia to ensure as inclusive a process as possible.
“After more than a decade of state failure, this is our chance at charting a new future for Somalia – we owe it to ourselves and our children to make this work," Transitional Prime Minister Ali Mohamed Gedi told the meeting. “The retreat and the subsequent assessment is a critical step towards deepening the peace process, and putting in place a solid foundation to rebuild our country.”