Security Council urges comprehensive strategy to tackle Somalia’s crises
The Security Council today welcomed last week’s landmark visit to Somalia by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and stressed the need for a comprehensive strategy to address the political, security and humanitarian challenges in the country through collaborative efforts.
After hearing from Mr. Ban, who visited the Horn of Africa country on Friday, the Council pointed out in a press statement that the consequences of the problems in Somalia include terrorism, piracy and hostage-taking.
Members of the Council reiterated their full support of Mr. Ban’s efforts and those of his Special Representative Augustine P. Mahiga, in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and other international and regional partners, to address Somalia’s challenges, including through the upcoming conference on Somalia in London early next year.
The Council, in the statement read by Ambassador Vitaly Churkin of Russia, which holds the Council’s presidency for this month, also welcomed Secretary General’s announcement that the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) will relocate to Mogadishu next month.
It called for faster implementation of the roadmap of key tasks and priorities to be completed by Somalia’s Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) before the current transitional arrangement ends in August next year, while recognizing the need for international support to facilitate the process.
Members of the Council said the future support to the TFIs will be contingent on the completion of tasks stipulated in the roadmap and took note of the Secretary General’s view that further extension of the roadmap would be untenable.
The Council commended the efforts of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali security forces in their military campaign against insurgents of the Al Shabaab group, and recognized their significant sacrifices.
The UN body reiterated its grave concern over the food crisis in Somalia and welcomed the international response and the tireless efforts of the relief workers. It urged Member States to contribute to the UN consolidated appeal for Somalia, and appealed to all parties and armed groups to ensure full, safe and unhindered access for the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Earlier, Mr. Ban told the Council that the withdrawal of insurgents from Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, and their retreat from other areas under pressure from the national armed forces supported by Kenyan and Ethiopian troops presents an opportunity for the international community help stabilize the country.
“We must ensure that the military strategy is aligned with political objectives,” Mr. Ban told the Council. “As more territory is liberated, the TFG [Transitional Federal Government] must strengthen its outreach to the local population and form new regional entities in line with the Transitional Federal Charter.
“On the military front, we must not exclude the incorporation of new forces and the expansion of AMISOM.” He said a joint AU-UN joint assessment was under way and its proposal will be presented to the Council.
Mr. Ban echoed the appeal by AU and countries contributing troops to AMISOM for the Council’s reconsideration of financial and logistical arrangements for supporting the African mission’s operations in the next phase.
“We must also boost our efforts to safeguard civilians and the safety of the relief supply route. I have urged the Government of Kenya, AMISOM and the TFG to uphold the right of civilians, refugees and Somalis asylum-seekers,” he said.
The Secretary-General stressed the importance of AMISOM being able to deploy beyond Mogadishu, which requires that the force be brought to its full strength of 12,000 troops. The force also needs to be provided with the necessary equipment, including such air assets as helicopters, and military engineering capabilities.
He said that he had also requested the UN country team to work more closely with UNPOS to support the TFG’s efforts in governance, recovery, development and capacity-building.
“For all of this to be possible, we must expedite arrangements for protecting UN and AMISOM civilian personnel,” he said, renewing his appeal for support for a UN Recovery and Stabilization Plan for Somalia.
Meanwhile, UN agencies and their humanitarian partners today requested $1.5 billion to fund the continuing relief effort in Somalia, where an estimated four million people remain in need of basic necessities, including food, water, shelter and health services.
“With the humanitarian situation expected to remain critical well into next year, early and full funding is essential,” said Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, at the launch of the 2012 consolidated appeal for the country in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
“The Somalia crisis is everybody’s responsibility and Somalis need support now. We cannot afford to wait or we will let down the Somali people.”
Tens of thousands of Somalis have died this year as a result of drought and famine, which were exacerbated by conflict. Almost 300,000 people sought succour in neighbouring Kenya and Ethiopia.
Funding requirements for this year, 80 per cent of which have been received so far, made it possible for aid workers to reach hundreds of thousands of people in areas ravaged by the food crisis. Within three months of famine being declared in July, the number of people receiving food tripled to 2.6 million and almost half a million malnourished children received nutrition supplements. The number of areas affected by famine dropped from six to three in mid-November.