Friday, April 26, 2013
A number of Somali civil society groups say they are hopeful that
their influence on the upcoming international conference on Somalia in
London will bring about lasting benefits for the country.
Set for May 7th, the London conference on Somalia will be the second
one in the British capital in as many years, presenting an opportunity
to follow-up on issues raised at the first conference in February 2012.
The meeting will focus on security, transparency in financial
management, justice and human rights.
Somalis had no role in chairing previous international conferences,
but this time around, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud will
co-chair the conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, said
Deputy Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunications Abdishakur
The representatives of more than 40 countries and international
organisations that attended the 2012 London conference will be at next
month's meeting, Mire said. The Somali government is pinning its hopes
on the conference leading to political victories, stability and economic
growth for Somalia, he told Sabahi.
Civil society looks to influence decisions:
Civil society groups have put forth a number of recommendations
through which they are looking to influence decisions coming out of the
"The role of civil society groups is advisory, so our recommendation
is for the conference to provide solutions that will positively impact
the country and that are innovative. This can only come from
strengthening the government and giving it strong diplomatic support,"
said Abdirahman Moalim Ablal, head of the School Association for Formal
Education (SAFE), an umbrella organisation for non-profits working in
"As the education community, we hope the conference will do a lot for
education," he told Sabahi. "We do not have adequate security or
transparent politics. Therefore, if the security and politics are
improved, I expect education will be improved. This can result in
providing educational opportunities for many children who are currently
unable to get an education."
Shueyb Abdullahi, head of Somalia Youth, a Mogadishu-based
organisation that aims to advance the interest of youths in the country,
said ultimately the fate of Somalia is in the hands of Somalis who must
play an active role in rebuilding the country and take ownership of
"We plan to participate in the conference and
believe our contribution will be invaluable," he told Sabahi.
"Statehood must come from within, we can only expect assistance from the
outside world, but the Somali government must rely on its own people
and listen to them."
"We hope the international community will continue supporting the
Somali government until it can stand with its own two feet," he added.
The Somalia South-Central Non-State Actors (SOSCENSA) organisation,
whose members plan to attend the London conference, is busy in the
run-up to it with a public awareness campaign on how the conference
could shape the question of Somali statehood.
SOSCENSA, which deals with a range of issues including poverty
reduction, development, good governance, democracy, peace and security,
convened a meeting April 9th-10th in Mogadishu on how the London
conference agenda could advance Somalia's future.
Thirty people representing civil society groups attended the meeting,
including religious scholars, traditional elders, women, police
officers and intellectuals.
"We are urging the international community to directly deal with the
Somali federal government regarding the needs of the Somali people and
to extend diplomatic, political, economic and technical support to the
government," SOSCENSA said in statement directed at London conference
The group also recommended the Somali government facilitate talks
between leaders of different regions in order to resolve disputes if
they decide to form their own regional administrations.
Responsibilities of citizens:
SOSCENSA urged the public to join the government in stabilising the
country and improving security through participating in decision-making,
facilitating talks, extending services, research and awareness
"We also urge the government to give women important roles in the
leadership of government agencies as general directors, general
managers, provincial governors, district commissioners and employment
office directors," SOSCENSA said.
Asli Duale, a member of SOSCENSA, said they are looking for solutions to the challenges ahead.
"We are deeply aware of the problems facing the country and we can
contribute good ideas to finding solutions, and that is why we issued
preliminary recommendations," Duale told Sabahi. "We are asking the
world to help our government in public service infrastructure to improve
the lives of vulnerable people."
"We do not want to pressure anyone," Abdullahi Mohamed, the chairman
of SOSCENSA, told Sabahi. "Our goal is to support the points that will
be discussed in the London conference and we are happy with how things
are being managed."