11 November 2014 – Hailing the political and economic gains made in Somalia through the partnerships and collective efforts of Somalis and the international community, the United Nations envoy for the country urged political leaders there to resolve their differences or risk undermining the progress thus achieved.
“Overall, Somalia, I still maintain, is moving in the right direction,” said Nicholas Kay, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, during opening remarks made yesterday at the High-Level Partnership Forum of the Somali Development and Reconstruction Facility Steering Committee.
“Whatever the difficulties we face…Somalia is in a better state today as a result of our collective efforts than it has been in a generation, and we should not lose sight of that,” he added.
Progress made thus far has been the result of partnership, most notably between the Somalis, said Mr. Kay, who is also the head of the UN Assistance Mission (UNSOM), which is mandated to support peace-building and state-building as well as the Federal Government’s peace and reconciliation process.
“The Somali-led state formation process has delivered concrete results,” he stressed, adding that the collective leadership between Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, “has given Somalis and international partners faith and confidence in the Federal Government and in Somalia’s political future.”
Nonetheless, he continued, the country stands at a “watershed moment,” and unity, stability and delivery are needed as Somalia moves forward. As preparations were under way for meetings in Copenhagen, the “cycle of political instability and bureaucratic paralysis” that plagued previous administrations should not continue, or progress achieved by collective efforts and by the Somali National Army and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) would be undermined.
“We all need to do better. Whether we talk about political stability or economic development, what we shall achieve depends on what we put in,” Mr. Kay said.
On 19 and 20 November, the Government of Denmark will host the international High-Level Partnership Forum on Somalia – a ministerial meeting co-chaired by the Federal Government of Somalia and the UN.
The envoy stressed that the New Deal Compact remains the best framework to continue progress. The Compact, endorsed by the Somali Government and international partners at the Brussels Conference in September 2013, is seen as a road map for promoting state-building and peace-building priorities in Somalia between 2014 and 2016.
The High-Level Partnership Forum and the Somali Development and Reconstruction Facility are the two highest decision-making bodies of the Compact architecture.
“International partners need to live up to the partnership principles, and their commitments in the Compact. But we also need to recognize that this is less likely to happen in a politically unstable environment,” the envoy said.
Appealing to the political leadership of Somalia to “find a way to manage their differences,” Mr. Kay also stressed that key state-building laws, commissions and processes must be established during the next six months so that the country can achieve its goals in Vision 2016, the Federal Government’s plan for a political transformation.
“This is not a time for dogmatic interpretation of texts. This is a time to rise above differences and unite in a common enterprise. Both political realities and constitutional niceties need to be recognized,” he said.
Specifically, political leaders in Somalia must agree on special measures to govern their relations and working practices, which will allow delivery of key tasks in the coming months, Mr. Kay said.
By that time, the National Independent Election Commission will be up and running and planning for elections will be “on course,” he said. In addition, the Boundaries and Federation Commission will be operating, the national consultation on the constitution will be under way, and the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission will be “well and truly functioning,” he said.
During the next six months, “the foundation stones will be laid for the future of Somalia, the Somalia of 2016 and beyond,” Mr. Kay said. “Failure now will be a failure in the eyes of the world and, more importantly, a shattering of the hopes and dreams of millions of Somalis,” he added.