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The United Nations and Somalia

Press Release 09-017-E 2009.04.22

(FOR USE OF INFORMATION MEDIA—NOT AN OFFICIAL RECORD)
22 April 20093

Background Note
Somalia donor conference, 23 April 2009, Brussels

Donor Conference

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will chair a donor conference on Somalia, which will be hosted by the European Union on 23 April in Brussels and under the joint auspices of the UN, the African Union, the EU and the League of Arab States.

The objective will be to raise short-term funding for the African Union Assistance Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), as well as for the nascent Somalia security forces and police.

In resolution 1863 (16 January 2009), the Security Council called on the Secretary-General to establish a Trust Fund to provide financial support for African Union forces in Somalia “until a UN peacekeeping operation is deployed and to assist in the re-establishment, training and retention of all-inclusive Somali security forces…”

The Council also asked the Secretary-General to hold a donor conference to solicit contributions to the Trust Fund “as soon as possible.” The resolution states that creation of the Trust Fund does not preclude direct bilateral arrangements in support of AMISOM.

The funds to be requested at the donor conference will be for the short-term support to AMISOM and the Somali security forces. Using budgetary projections from the African Union, the UN is proposing that $166 million be raised – $31 million for the Somalia security forces and $135 million for AMISOM.

Funds for the Somali security forces will include sustainment and stipends for the National Security Forces currently providing security in Mogadishu; this will be delivered by AMISOM. They also include assistance for the civilian police, to complement existing training organized by the UN Development Programme. A critical part of the programme is building the capacity of the Joint Security Committee of Somalia, which is responsible for developing and overseeing the new forces.

As Somali security and police forces are built up over time and are progressively capable of taking responsibility for security in Mogadishu, the Government envisages that more training and equipment will be needed to support them.

The assistance requested for AMISOM includes funding for reimbursement of African Union troops and police, as well as for protective equipment and community outreach projects.

This funding is intended to complement the UN logistic support package to AMISOM authorized under Security Council resolution 1863. The logistic package, which is to be funded from assessed contributions, should be similar to that provided for a UN peacekeeping operation of the same size, including rations, maintenance, accommodation, communications, and transport.

On 7 April, the General Assembly approved the first tranche of the UN logistical support package to AMISOM in the amount of $71.6 million. This will enable the Organization to establish the UN Support Office for AMISOM, and to deliver immediate support in specific areas prior to the roll-out of the full support package in June.

Currently AMISOM has 4,350 troops in Somalia, compared to an authorized strength of 8,000. This is expected to go up to 5,100 in the near future with an additional battalion from Burundi to be deployed. However, this is still short of the originally envisaged 8,000 soldiers.

The political process

Secretary-General Ban has been calling on donor countries and organizations to support the AU and the Somali security forces, while urging parties outside the peace process in Somalia to join the UN-mediated negotiations known as the ‘Djibouti process,’ under way since May 2008 in Djibouti between the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG) and a key opposition movement, the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS).

While the United Nations, through its Nairobi-based Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), has been making efforts over the past few years to create the necessary political and security conditions in Somalia for a stepped-up international engagement, it is now through the Djibouti peace process, mediated by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, that there is a promising chance to finally break the cycle of violence that has plagued the country for the past 19 years.

As part of progress made in the peace process, a new president, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, was elected in January 2009. When taking office in Mogadishu in February, he pledged to preside over an inclusive government of national unity.

In order to create the conditions for such a unity government to function and for a self-sustaining Somalia over the long-term, the United Nations approach is to mobilize both the international community and Somalis themselves to urgently address governance, security and development challenges in all their complexity.

The Brussels donor conference is part of this approach.

Peacekeeping

The conference also coincides with the Secretary-General’s latest update to the Security Council on his ongoing contingency planning for the possible deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation (as requested by the Security Council in resolution 1863 (2009).

A UN assessment mission in January this year noted that there is a need for basic conditions to be in place in order for a UN peacekeeping operation to deploy, including a government of national unity, inclusive beyond those represented in the Djibouti process; establishment of the joint security force in Mogadishu; implementation of a credible ceasefire; lifting of illegal
checkpoints; active outreach to groups that remain outside the Djibouti process; consent to the deployment by all the major parties; and adequate pledges of troops and the required military capacities by Member States.

In his earlier report of 9 March 2009 to the Security Council, the Secretary-General noted that while there were no decisions taken by the Council on such a mission, the Secretariat would continue to plan for all options. In his upcoming report, the Secretary-General provides an update and recommends that the Security Council take an incremental approach to the goal of deploying a UN peacekeeping operation in Somalia, focusing initially on support to AMISOM and Somali security institutions. The full report is to be issued on 22 April and will be available at http://www.un.org/documents/.

Piracy

Members of the Security Council have been unanimous in agreeing on action against the increased pirate attacks off the Somali coast. In resolution 1846 (2008) adopted on 2 December 2008, the Council called on all countries and regional organizations with the necessary capacity to deploy naval ships and military aircraft off the Somali coast to fight rampant piracy. The Council also agreed to uphold and monitor the arms embargo regime it had imposed on Somalia since 1992.

Then on 15 December 2008, in resolution 1851, the Council authorized States and regional organizations cooperating with Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government to undertake all necessary measures “appropriate in Somalia” to interdict those using Somali territory in acts of piracy. The resolution extended counter-piracy efforts to include potential operations on Somali territory and in its airspace. Acting under Chapter VII, the Council called on those States and organizations able to do so to actively participate in defeating piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast by deploying naval vessels and military aircraft, and through seizure and disposition of boats and arms used in the commission of those crimes.

In his 16 March 2009 report to the Security Council on piracy, as requested by resolution 1846, the Secretary-General made it clear that any long- and short-term measures to combat piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia would require an integrated approach that incorporated support of the peace process; strengthening of AMISOM and the Somali security forces; strengthening of legal and maritime institutions; addressing the lack of accountability by apprehending and prosecuting those suspected of piracy; strict compliance with arms embargoes; and peacebuilding efforts to empower local communities.

For more information, contact:

Nick Birnback, Chief, Public Affairs Unit,
Department of Peacekeeping Operations
birnbackn@un.org; 1 917 367-5044

Jared Kotler, Public Information and External Relations,
Department of Political Affairs
kotler@un.org; 1 917 367 5264

Susannah Price, Public Information Officer
United Nations Political Office For Somalia (UNPOS)
Office – 254 20 7621192; Mobile – 254 733 902020
Susannah.Price@unon.org