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Somalia requests UN transition from political mission to development focus following government request

Saturday May 11, 2024

FILE - The UN flag flies in Somalia / UNSOM

Mogadishu (HOL) — The Somali government has formally asked the United Nations to start planning a transition from a political mission to a development-focused UN Country Team, highlighting a strategic shift in the partnership aimed at stabilizing the nation.

In a letter dated May 9, 2024, from Somali Foreign Minister Ahmed Moalim Fiqi to the Security Council, details were provided following discussions between Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. These talks focused on outlining a clear, organized transition to tackle Somalia's long-term development and governance challenges.

At Gaitanis, a spokesperson for UN Somalia emphasized in an interview with VOA journalist Harun Maruf that the UN's commitment to supporting Somalia remains steadfast during this transition period. Gaitanis reiterated that the UN's involvement in Somalia has always been centred around supporting Somali-led initiatives and will continue in various capacities regardless of UNSOM's formal status.

"This transition reflects the progress Somalia has made in peacebuilding, constitutional reforms, and economic development," said Gaitanis. He noted that a strategic review in 2022 recommended starting the planning process for UNSOM to transition responsibilities to the UN Country Team.

The Somali government's correspondence with the Security Council highlighted the need for a structured transition plan. It includes forming a joint technical team to define the modalities and timeline for the changeover. The approach aims to leverage the successes of the UN's past operations while preparing new partnership strategies focused on sustainable development and security enhancements.

The transition is timely, given the global challenges such as international security, climate change, and economic development, which require collaborative solutions between the Somali government and its international partners.

Earlier this week, the Somali government asked the UN to terminate its political mission following "followed “a thorough consideration of our strategic priorities.”

Somalia continues to address instability and threats from the extremist group Al-Shabab, with the support of international allies. The UN mission, established in June 2013, has been vital in aiding peace and reconciliation efforts alongside the African Union peacekeepers. The mission’s mandate encompasses promoting human rights, empowering women, protecting children, and preventing conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence.

With the October 31 deadline for the current UNSOM mandate nearing, the Somali government's proactive steps indicate readiness to move into a new phase of cooperation focused on long-term stability and development.

The transition comes as Somalia advances in its fight against extremism and seeks to enhance its capabilities with international support, including the establishment of military bases in partnership with the United States.

The Somali government’s request marks a commitment to taking control of its developmental and security agenda, setting a model for how international missions can evolve to meet the evolving needs of the countries they assist.


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