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On December 5, the Federal Government of Somalia and the United Nations signed the UN Strategic Framework for Somalia (UNSF). It provides a framework for the UN’s support to Somalia’s development priorities over the coming four years. Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia Michael Keating, Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development, Gamal Mohamed Hassan, and Peter de Clercq, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator signed the agreement.
“The framework sets out how the UN will support Somalia, including in key areas such as achieving universal elections, strengthening the rule of law and improving governance,” Mr. Keating said. Looking ahead, “it will guide our collective efforts to improve the quality of life and opportunities for all Somalis,” he added.
UN Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia Peter de Clercq emphasized that, “the UNSF recognizes past efforts, cements the close partnership between Somalia and the United Nations, and reiterates our commitment to working together for the delivery of tangible results to the Somali people.”
The UNSF articulates the collective strategy, commitments and actions of 23 UN agencies and the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia in support of the country’s development priorities, as outlined in the National Development Plan, towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It follows an extensive strategic assessment that gathered input, feedback, hopes and aspirations of a broad range of stakeholders, including Somali civil society, government counterparts and the public.
In the spirit of “leaving no-one behind”, the framework has adapted gender equality and women’s empowerment, human rights, and youth engagement and empowerment as cross-cutting issues, and is structured along five strategic priorities: deepening federalism and state-building, supporting conflict resolution and reconciliation, and preparing for universal elections, Supporting institutions to improve peace, security, justice, the rule of law and the safety of Somalia. It also includes strengthening accountability and supporting institutions that protect Somalia; strengthening resilience of Somali institutions, society and the population; and supporting socio-economic opportunities for Somalis.
In related news a high-level annual conference on Peace and Security, aimed at mobilizing efforts to address common challenges facing the African continent, took place in Lusaka, Zambia during the middle of last week.
Senior diplomats of the African Union, among them Ambassador Smail Chergui, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Department and the Deputy Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson (SRCC), for Somalia, and Mr. Simon Mulongo, were among participants attending the forum.
In his keynote address to the conference, Mr. Mulongo enumerated achievements made by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), in the fight against militant group Al-Shabaab.
“AMISOM is one of the most complex Peace Support Operations ever undertaken in Africa and likely, the deadliest in modern recent times. AMISOM has made major sacrifices in the push to stabilize Somalia,” he told participants at the conference.
“AMISOM is reconfiguring its forces to address existing and emerging challenges in this transition,” Mr. Mulongo remarked, in reference to the planned transitioning of the security responsibilities from AMISOM to the Somali security forces.
“It is our hope that the much-needed international community support to achieve a smooth transition will be availed, to the Somali institutions as well, to enable them to continue stabilizing Somalia after AMISOM,” he stated.
Ambassador Smail Chergui, highlighted the conflicts bedeviling the continent and their impact on people. He called for concerted efforts to find lasting solutions.
“We stand with the families that have lost their loved ones in these conflicts and terrorist attacks,” Ambassador Chergui said.
“It is our responsibility, through the Peace and Security Council to ensure that peace reigns in the continent and to foster development activities which elevate the livelihoods of Africans,” he noted.
The annual Peace and Security conference rallies African members of the UN Security Council, to deliberate and align their activities along a common vision, in line with the AU Peace and Security Council’s objectives.
The conference also brought together AU Special envoys and representatives, who updated the peace and security situations on the continent, which are of interest to the African Union and the UN Security Council.
By Tesfaye Getnet