The Security Council today approved a successor operation to the six-year-old United Nations Support Office for the African Union Mission to Somalia, known as UNSOA, underlining the role of the new entity to close gaps in UNSOA’s ability to deliver and to “consolidate and prioritize its efforts in line with the [Council’s] strategic objectives in the country.”
Emphasizing the role and impact of a responsive, effective and field support platform as a “strategic enabler in Somalia,” and in view of the expansion of UNSOA’s mission since its establishment in 2009, the Council decided that UNSOA would become the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and provide support to the African Union Mission (AMISOM), the UN Assistance Mission (UNSOM) and the Somali National Army on joint operations with AMISOM.
The Council’s action came at a Ministerial-level meeting chaired by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom Philip Hammond, whose country holds this month’s presidency of the15-member, body and at which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended the successful collaboration of the UN and the African Union (AU) and also lauded the efforts and achievements of UNSOA.
“We can do even more with the new UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS). I am committed to strengthening our collaboration,”said Mr. Ban in remarks delivered by Chef de Cabinet Susana Malcorra.
He also applauded the efforts and sacrifices made by AMISOM and said the “UN will not waver in our commitment to this mission.”
On growing extremism in the country, the UN chief stressed that military operations alone will not defeat Al Shabaab. “That requires greater investments in community security, human rights, justice and economic opportunity – especially for youth. We must denounce the propaganda of Al Shabaab, address the grievances that drive recruitment, and open the way for all to renounce violence,” said Mr. Ban reiterating his call to the Security Council to support a comprehensive approach that addresses the Al Shabaab threat.
Mr. Ban said that the best way to “weaken the pull of extremism is to strengthen people’s chances for a better future.”
“That is why I also urge the international community to increase its contributions to the ‘New Deal Somalia Compact’ before its review in Istanbul in February. An investment in the people of Somalia will also benefit security in the region and the world,” added Mr. Ban.
The UN chief also expressed hope that next year could be “momentous” as the country could possibly transition to a democracy following a transfer of powers.
“A peaceful, constitutional transition of power would mark an extraordinary milestone on Somalia’s path to democracy. The new National Consultative Forum is responsible for agreeing on the modalities for the process. I urge the Federal Government to actively engage as many people as possible, including women, youth and minorities,” said Mr. Ban.
He further urged Somali leaders to end the process of consolidating a federal system by the end of 2016 and added that the leaders must ensure “genuine, inclusive reconciliation in all regions.”
“Progress on the provisional constitution in the next few months is essential. I welcome the commitment of Somali leaders to re-energize the delayed review,” added the Secretary-General.
He stressed that it is imperative to ensure that military and political strategies are fully aligned, to redouble the efforts to strengthen Somali security forces “so they can secure the country for the long-term.”
Moreover, he noted that Somali women and girls suffering from poverty, violence and abuse must be provided opportunities in decision-making and urged the Government to work to exceed the goal of 30 per cent representation of women in Parliament.
“Guaranteeing basic human rights is essential to offering a credible alternative to extremism. I have repeatedly stressed that all operations against violent extremism – anywhere and under any conditions – must fully respect human rights,” said Mr. Ban.
The UN chief also highlighted the humanitarian situation in Somalia and said that nearly 3.2 million people in the country need assistance to survive and added that the “dire situation is growing worse.”
“Over the past six months, more people have lost their ability to feed their families. More children suffer from acute malnutrition. Most of these are internally displaced, living under the constant threat of forced evictions and abuse,” he said.
Further, Mr. Ban said that although the region is in danger of excessive flooding and drought, the Humanitarian Response Plan is only 36 per cent funded which could lead to inadequacy in successfully carrying out life-saving programmes. “Donors can make the difference between life and death – and that can help move Somalia toward greater stability and peace,” he said.
Lastly, the he urged active support from the Security Council and the international community to help the UN “defeat the threat of terrorism and realize the vision of Somalis for a united federal country.”
“The United Nations will continue to do everything possible to achieve political progress, boost security, promote human rights and relieve suffering,” he concluded.