Federal, Local Leaders in Somalia Must Work Closely to Improve Governance, Counter Terrorism, Address Humanitarian Crisis, Mission Head Tells Security Council
The United Nations top official in Somalia updated Security Council members today on the promising political climate emerging in the African nation while warning of the dire drought-induced humanitarian situation and the ongoing security threats posed by al-Shabaab.
James Swan, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), said he urges federal and state officials in Somalia to collaborate and use the stable political climate to address key national priorities from security to governance to the humanitarian crisis.
“To capitalize on this opportunity, federal and state authorities must collaborate closely to achieve progress on the new Government’s goals, including improving governance and justice, effectively countering al-Shabaab, and responding urgently to the worsening humanitarian crisis,” he said. Since briefing the Council after the 15 May election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the Parliament in June unanimously endorsed the President’s nominee for Prime Minister, Hamza Abdi Barre, and confirmed his Cabinet two months later in August.
Security is a top national priority for the new Somali Administration as al-Shabaab shows increasing boldness. Mr. Swan said effective Somali forces are key to the planned transition from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). “I reiterate the need for the Federal Government and federal member states to collaborate closely to counter al-Shabaab, guided by Somalia’s regional and international human rights commitments,” he said. Turning to the country’s humanitarian situation, he said Somalia is facing a humanitarian catastrophe with about 7.8 million Somalis — nearly half the country’s estimated population — experiencing the worst drought in at least four decades, exacerbated by climate factors.
Fiona Lortan, Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Acting Head of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, also briefed the Council and said the United Nations-African Union partnership “remains vital” to deliver support to Somalia. Insecurity across the country remains a serious concern for ATMIS amidst an increase in attacks by al-Shabaab, including the use of improvised explosive devices, infiltration, ambushes and targeted assassinations. While ATMIS and the Government work out the details of the security transition, more emphasis must be placed on the Mission’s drawdown. This will depend, however, on the Government’s ability to fill gaps left by the withdrawal of ATMIS forces; otherwise, a security vacuum will ensue. She appealed to the Council and all partners to urgently ensure adequate, sustainable and predictable funding for ATMIS during the rest of its mandate. The Mission currently faces a financing gap of $40 to $50 million, which it needs to pay staff salaries and undertake critical programmes to support its mandate.
Annette Weber, Special Representative of the European Union for the Horn of Africa, said al-Shabaab has become the richest and strongest global franchise of Al-Qaida, threatening peace and security, as well as humanitarian efforts in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. She cited the sacrifice of the men and women of the troop-contributing countries of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) — now ATMIS — which have deployed thousands of troops. The European Union remains committed to supporting the continued security presence of ATMIS and has committed €140 million for 2022. But there is no support for “more of the same”. She urged the Somali Government to provide clarity on the Somalia Transition Plan and the National Security Architecture. The Council must acknowledge that the root causes of Somalia’s instability remain unresolved, with the relationship between the Federal Government and federal member states remaining fragile.
At the same time, she said the worst drought in four decades is ravaging Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa, with more than 7 million people — more than half the population — being food insecure and more than 200,000 people facing immediate risk of starvation.
The representative of Somalia noted that since winning the election, President Hassan has taken steps to create an environment of unity and reconciliation among all stakeholders, laying a road map for national priorities — including finalizing the Provisional Constitution, adopting a unified election model and adopting a suitable justice model. He cited the importance of national unity, including improved security and development of the economic sector, pointing towards a 10 September meeting of the National Consultative Council on a detailed road map and plan of action.
The Somali National Army continues to conduct offensive military operations against al-Shabaab, he continued. The country faces a protracted and recurring humanitarian crisis coupled with the threat of flooding, the COVID-19 pandemic and an October-December seasonal forecast indicating yet another below-average rainfall. He emphasized that humanitarian assistance alone cannot provide a sustainable or cost-effective solution to recurring climate shocks. He called for substantial development and climate change mitigation investment to strengthen the nexus between humanitarian and developmental assistance.
Also speaking today were delegates of the United Kingdom, Ireland, India, Ghana (on behalf of Gabon and Kenya), Norway, United Arab Emirates, Albania, Mexico, China, Russian Federation, United States, Brazil and France.
The meeting began at 10:01 a.m. and ended at 11:36 a.m.
JAMES SWAN, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), said after the end of a contentious electoral process in May, the country’s political climate is now more conducive to address key national priorities. “To capitalize on this opportunity, federal and State authorities must collaborate closely to achieve progress on the new Government’s goals, including improving governance and justice, effectively countering al-Shabaab, and responding urgently to the worsening humanitarian crisis,” he said. The United Nations is committed to supporting Somalis in achieving their national priorities. Since briefing the Security Council after the 15 May election of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the President of Somalia, he said the Parliament in June unanimously endorsed the President’s nominee for Prime Minister, Hamza Abdi Barre. In August, the Parliament confirmed his Cabinet. The new Government moved swiftly to present a four-year work programme, which laid out goals and activities across six pillars: security, justice, reconciliation, economic development, social development and foreign relations. At the same time, Parliament formed its committees, including the joint Oversight Committee, which will steer the constitutional review process through Parliament. The United Nations and other international partners are supporting Parliament as it advances its key legislative priorities. Yet, women remain underrepresented in cabinet positions and parliamentary committees, as they make up just 13 per cent of cabinet members and 21 per cent of parliamentary committee members.
He said that President Hassan has stressed the importance of improving relations between the central Government and federal member states to advance national priorities. Since taking office, the President has also visited multiple neighbouring countries and important bilateral partners. He said the new Somali Administration has identified security as its top national priority, at a time when al-Shabaab has shown increased boldness. Its recent activities include targeted assassinations, complex attacks such as that on the Hayat Hotel in August, and large-scale military actions along the border with Ethiopia. Somalia’s efforts towards force generation, integration and coordination are necessary to achieve military gains and address citizens’ protection concerns. Effective Somali forces are key to the planned transition from the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). “I reiterate the need for the Federal Government and federal member states to collaborate closely to counter al-Shabaab, guided by Somalia’s regional and international human rights commitments,” he said. The implementation of security transition tasks, mandated by Council resolution 2628 (2022), is advancing. That includes the request for the Federal Government of Somalia, African Union, European Union and the United Nations to identify relevant, clear and realistic benchmarks for progress. The United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) continues to provide mandated logistical support to ATMIS and, using the United Nations trust fund, to authorized Somali security forces. “I remain deeply concerned by the shortfall in funding available for ATMIS salary stipends and for the Somali security forces trust fund and urge additional donor contributions as a matter of urgency,” he said.
Turning to the country’s humanitarian situation, he said Somalia is facing a humanitarian catastrophe with about 7.8 million Somalis — nearly half the country’s estimated population — experiencing the worst drought in at least four decades, exacerbated by climate factors. “With four consecutive failed rainy seasons, areas of the country face the risk of famine,” he said. With generous donor support, humanitarian organizations since January have quadrupled the number of people reached, with assistance to 5.3 million people. Yet, growing needs and the expectation of a fifth failed rainy season means a scale-up in humanitarian assistance is needed. The ongoing humanitarian crisis has increased the vulnerability of displaced women and children, who historically have faced discrimination and exclusion from services. “I urge the Somali authorities to increase prevention measures for the risk of sexual violence, particularly against women and girls, including by strengthening security at water points and at food distribution sites,” he said.
Turning to the country’s longer-term development agenda, he said Somalia’s debt relief process has moved ahead. In June, the board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved pending reviews, leading to the release of $350 million in needed development funding. Other donors have resumed pending budgetary support to ease the country’s financial pressure and sustain required reform efforts to complete the debt relief process. The United Nations remains committed to continue supporting the Somali Government and its people as they achieve their national goals. The strategic review of UNSOM is well advanced and the review team visited Somalia in August. It held extensive consultations with Government officials and other stakeholders. This will ensure Somali views will inform the upcoming report and recommendations to the Council.
FIONA LORTAN, Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Acting Head of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), briefed the Council that the United Nations-African Union partnership “remains vital” in delivering support to Somalia. On the domestic front, the political process continues to register progress, and President Hassan has adopted a political programme based on reconciliation and conducted important outreach visits to states throughout the country. Additionally, the first meeting of the National Consultative Council reached agreement on key national priorities that will form the basis of the Government’s ambitious programme of work, which was presented to the Federal Parliament in August. Further, a new Council of Ministers has been appointed, selected on merit and representing inclusivity and diversity. She also noted that, within the first 100 days of assuming office, the President conducted several international visits aimed at defining Somalia beyond its security concerns and seeking support for its security transition.
On that point, however, she said that insecurity across the country remains a serious concern for ATMIS amidst an increase in attacks by al-Shabaab, including the use of improvised explosive devices, infiltration, ambushes and targeted assassinations. While the group’s tactics remain largely unchanged, the emerging threat picture is worrying due to its ability to launch simultaneous attacks in different parts of the country. It has an estimated 9,000-12,000 fighters, has begun to use commercial drones, is able to rapidly mobilize fighters and has generated millions of dollars through extortion of the Somali economy. In response, ATMIS continues to conduct joint operations across its mandated sectors and assists the Somali armed forces through air, ground and medical support. Noting that such operations have taken place in the context of spontaneous uprisings by local communities “to end al-Shabaab’s terror over their lives”, she called on the international community to provide emergency and long-term support to newly liberated territories.
She went on to say that, while ATMIS and the Government continue to work on the details of the security transition, more emphasis must be placed on the Mission’s drawdown. This will depend, however, on the Government’s ability to fill the gaps left by the withdrawal of ATMIS forces; otherwise, a security vacuum will ensue. Turning to the issue of financing, she appealed to the Council and all partners to urgently ensure adequate, sustainable and predictable funding for ATMIS for the duration of its mandate. The Mission currently faces a financing gap of $40-50 million, which it needs to pay staff salaries and undertake critical programmes in support of its mandate. On the humanitarian front, she underscored that “famine is knocking at the door of Somalia”, and that its population faces drought, increasing malnutrition and difficulty in accessing safe water, sanitation and proper food. For its part, ATMIS is working to provide needed humanitarian relief, and continues to coordinate with the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to drought-affected areas.
ANNETTE WEBER, Special Representative of the European Union for the Horn of Africa, said al-Shabaab has become the richest and strongest global franchise of Al-Qaida, threatening peace and security, as well as humanitarian efforts in Somalia and the Horn of Africa. The incursion into Ethiopia at the end of July was the most significant since the organization’s inception, followed by a deadly complex attack in Mogadishu three weeks later. Renewed threats have been issued against Kenya, where the group also has a significant presence. Its extortion and taxation go even further, resulting in an alarming operational and financial capacity. She noted that Somalia continues to have one of the highest rates of grave violations against children, including recruitment and use in armed conflict.
She cited the sacrifice of the men and women of the troop-contributing countries of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) — now ATMIS — which have deployed thousands of troops. The European Union has supported the African Union-led missions for 15 years, investing over €2.5 billion, with three peace and security missions deployed to the country. “Ensuring security in Somalia has become a ‘must not fail’ for all of us,” she stated, while asking: “if over a decade of significant investment in peacekeeping missions and the increased capacity of the Somali National Army has resulted in a rolling back of security gains against al-Shabaab, what has gone wrong?” The European Union remains committed to supporting the continued security presence of ATMIS and has committed €140 million for 2022 — but there is no support for “more of the same”. She urged the Somali Government to provide clarity on the Somalia Transition Plan and the National Security Architecture. The Security Council must acknowledge that the root causes of instability in Somalia remain unresolved, with the relationship between the Federal Government and federal member states remaining fragile. There must be progress in building institutions, national, regional and local authorities, ensuring service delivery and building the social contract between citizens and State.
The worst drought in four decades is ravaging Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa, with more than 7 million people — over half the population — being food insecure and over 200,000 at immediate risk of starvation. She said that President Hassan has stated that “Somalia must face the brutal truth that pastoralism, the lifestyle of more than 90 per cent of the population, is no longer sustainable given the changing climate in the region”. Meanwhile, al-Shabaab continues to destroy water infrastructure as a punitive measure against local communities in liberated areas. The European Union recently pledged €633 million for the region and has set up a humanitarian air bridge, which is delivering emergency supplies to hard-to-reach areas. The formation of a new Government presents an opportunity for re-engagement, refocus and alignment of priorities, she noted. Given al-Shabaab is a multilayered threat and can only be successfully engaged through a comprehensive approach including security, military operations and countering financial flows, she called on the international community to rebuild regional consensus and unity of purpose, with the Somalis at the head of the table.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) stressed that urgent action is needed to meet Somalia’s acute humanitarian needs as, after four consecutive failed rainy seasons, the window to prevent famine is closing rapidly. For its part, the United Kingdom has contributed $180 million this financial year to respond to drought in the Horn of Africa, and she called on all partners to do what they can to increase their humanitarian support and prevent famine. Welcoming the high priority the new Government has placed on security and the fight against al-Shabaab, she said her country has provided funding to both ATMIS and the Somalia Trust Fund and encouraged other Member States to do the same so that Somali forces can develop the capacity and capabilities they need to end the threat of al-Shabaab. However, she emphasized that military effort will not be enough on its own, noting that the upcoming mandate renewal for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the relevant sanctions regime will be an opportunity for the Council to set out how these tools can work most effectively, alongside ATMIS, to support Somalia and defeat al-Shabaab.
FERGAL MYTHEN (Ireland) said it is time to return to the core business of government. There is an urgent need to address the challenges of State-building, humanitarian needs, economic development and tackling al-Shabaab. Addressing these challenges will require an inclusive, all-of-society, consensus-based approach. A strong working relationship between the Federal Government and the federal member states is vital. “A return to the animosity of the past helps no one,” he said. Like all countries, Somalia needs to ensure the full, equal and meaningful participation of women throughout society. The number of women appointed to the new Somali Cabinet falls short of the country’s own commitments. Turning to the dire humanitarian emergency unfolding across Somalia, he said reports from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs indicate alarming levels of widespread hunger. Millions of people are being displaced and even more are facing the horror of famine-like conditions. The international community must do everything it can to support the Somali people. He urged the Somali Government to intensify its multifaceted approach to address the threat of al-Shabaab. African Union peacekeepers and the Somali security forces play a crucial role in combating these extremists. Yet military action alone is not enough. “Ultimately, good governance, justice, the protection of human rights, as well as economic development, will be the weapons that defeat al-Shabaab once and for all,” he said.
RAVINDRA RAGUTTAHALLI (India) noted that following elections, a new Government in Somalia has taken concrete shape, and there has been advancement in the empowerment of women — but the security environment remains precarious and worrisome, with terrorism posing an existential threat to the country. Al-Shabaab’s incursions into Ethiopia testify to its expanding scale of operations. Against that backdrop, he stressed that the importance of the phased handover of security responsibilities from ATMIS to Somali security forces will be critical and must be calibrated. It is also crucial to address food security, which afflicts an estimated 45 per cent of the population. Only 67 per cent of the $1.5 billion 2022 humanitarian response fund has been provided, he noted, calling on the international community to “stand by Somalia in its hour of need”. He welcomed initiatives by the Government to implement its transition plan, the work of UNSOS and ATMIS, and noted efforts to develop Somalia’s maritime sector.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), also speaking for Gabon and Kenya, welcomed the convening of the first meeting of the National Consultative Council in June, along with the consensus reached on: implementing the federal system; preserving the constitutional development process; finalizing a national independent judiciary system; and completing the national security architecture necessary for sustaining a focused fight against terrorism. On the security situation, he expressed concern over al-Shabaab’s ability to carry out complex terror attacks within and beyond Somalia, as these attacks illustrate how the group is “determined to destabilize the region by exporting its brand of extremist ideology”. Against that backdrop, he called on Somalia’s international partners and stakeholders to support Government efforts to counter al-Shabaab’s networks and capabilities.
He went on to underscore the importance of the role played by ATMIS’ mandate — particularly in the implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan — and emphasized the need for adequate, sustained and predictable funding for the Mission. Turning to the humanitarian situation, he noted unprecedented levels of drought and appealed to the international community to scale-up relief efforts and urgently address the funding gap in the humanitarian response plan for Somalia. The international community should also support Government efforts — including those to stabilize the country and rebuild strong State structures — through accelerated debt relief, as well as the injection of new funds to remove existing drivers of instability that al-Shabaab has exploited to spread radicalism and
MONA JUUL (Norway) said that political stability and unity are key to progress in economic recovery, development, security-sector reform and the fight against al-Shabaab. Completing the national security architecture is of utmost priority, and relevant, clear and realistic benchmarks for the Somalia Transition Plan and ATMIS must be supported by close cooperation between all levels of Government. Noting the need for progress towards stabilization, she said that justice and security must be delivered by accountable local authorities and that the provision of essential services — including water, basic health care, education and justice — must be rights-based. This will build local resilience, prevent the recruitment of children, strengthen State legitimacy and counteract violent extremist ideology. Adding that efforts towards countering al-Shabaab “must rest on a broader political and development strategy”, she urged a reinvigorated policy dialogue focused on stabilization and reconciliation.
AMEIRAH OBAID MOHAMED OBAID ALHEFEITI (United Arab Emirates) stressed that the people of the Horn of Africa continue to face the brutality and terror of Al-Shabaab’s relentless violence, destroying essential infrastructure and crippling national and regional economic prospects — including through the deployment of sophisticated technology, concealment of its funding sources and the ultimate expansion of its destructive reach. The Council must remain united in its resolve and adopt the necessary regulatory framework to prevent terrorist groups’ access to technology. She stressed that Somalia is currently experiencing the worst drought in its history, which will affect 50 per cent of the population, at a time when more than 6 million people suffer from a lack of sufficient water. She urged the international community to double down on its humanitarian assistance and help relieve vulnerable communities across the country. Since the beginning of 2022, her country has sent around 2,870 tons of aid to support millions of people affected by the drought. Responding to this climate-related challenge will also require that the international community pay particular attention to the harmful ways in which terrorist groups like al-Shabaab exploit the crisis. She stressed the need for stronger collaboration between the Government and key international partners, and for humanitarian actors to be able to reach vulnerable populations and deliver aid relief unhindered.
ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania) called on Somalia’s political leadership to further advance women’s meaningful inclusion in all processes, boost constructive dialogue with states throughout the country and restore trust between citizens and institutions. On the security front, she welcomed the Government’s efforts to prioritize the fight against al-Shabaab and to improve the overall security landscape across Somalia. However, the situation remains extremely volatile, and she called for the implementation of the Somalia Transition Plan, the resumption of discussions on force generation and the phased handover of security responsibilities from ATMIS to Somali security forces. She also urged the Government to tackle continuing human-rights violations and grave violations committed against children. Turning to the humanitarian situation, she expressed concern over the drought emergency, increasing economic pressure and lack of humanitarian access resulting from ongoing conflict, calling on the international community to continue supporting the 2022 humanitarian response plan.
ALICIA GUADALUPE BUENROSTRO MASSIEU (México) said she was very concerned with the tragic reality facing Somalia as the country passes through the worst drought in four decades. Nearly 1 million Somalis have been forced to leave their homes. About 7.1 million people are facing acute food insecurity. Many people might die. It is unacceptable that more than 750 children have lost their lives so far in 2022. The warnings of drought are nothing new, with the forecast of another failed rainy season. The cost of food is increasing, and humanitarian aid has not adapted to meet the scale of needs. There is an imminent risk of starvation. Turning to the security situation, she said the attacks by al-Shabaab present a risk to Somalia and the region. Condemning the attacks, she also said the plundering of humanitarian goods are unacceptable. Combating al-Shabaab requires close cooperation between all groups on the ground. She urged adequate resources for ATMIS and the Somali security forces. Welcoming the priorities set by the President, she urged the Government to take advantage of the present stability and strengthen its relationship with federal member states. She hoped the strategic review of UNSOM will help to fulfil its goals. Mexico will work constructively with other Council members in the renewal of UNSOM’s mandate.
DAI BING (China) welcomed the successful conclusion of elections in May, pointing out that this stable transition of power created a conducive environment in which to address the many challenges Somalia is facing. He also welcomed the convening of the National Consultative Council in June to discuss national development priorities. Turning to security, he noted that al-Shabaab and other terrorist forces continue to launch attacks that pose a serious threat to Somalia and the Horn of Africa. The recent attack on the Hayat Hotel in Mogadishu demonstrates the urgency of counter-terrorism operations. Urging the Government to continue enhancing cooperation with the African Union and other partners so that it can gradually assume responsibility for maintaining national security, he called for sustainable, predictable funding for ATMIS in the meantime to ensure that the salaries of African Union peacekeepers are paid in full. The international community must also increase its assistance to prevent a “humanitarian disaster” in Somalia, he added.
VADIM S. KIRPICHENKO (Russian Federation) cited the completion of the electoral process, including elections to both chambers of the Somali Parliament, the election of the President of the country, the appointment of the Prime Minister and the new Federal Government. He expressed hope that all participants in the political process, including the leadership of the states of Jubaland, Puntland and Somaliland, will continue to work together with Mogadishu to form a sustainable model for federal structure in the country. He cited the presence of ATMIS, one of the most important factors in curbing extremist and other illegal activities in the country, and a guarantee of steadfast movement towards strengthening statehood in the country. He also stressed the importance of the role Somalis themselves play in the discussion of issues relating to the strategic goals, mandate, size, composition and financing of ATMIS. However, he expressed concern about the uptick in activity by al-Shabaab, which controls vast areas of southern and central Somalia, carrying out high-profile attacks with a large number of victims, including terrorist attacks in cities, attacks on positions and bases of ATMIS and the Somali National Army. The Somali Government must enhance the effectiveness of federal security forces, including the national army, so that they can effectively ensure independent control over the security situation throughout the country.
RICHARD M. MILLS, JR., (United States) said Washington, D.C., supports the Somalia leadership as it moves forward to create a better future for its people and stabilize the country. He looked forward to reading the UNSOM strategic review in October. He congratulated Somalia for the formation of its Government and said the United States looks forward to collaborating with it as it works to extend governance and economic opportunities to its people. Even with its progress, the country faces serious challenges, including reconciliation between the national Government and federal member states, completion of the review of the federal Constitution and achieving debt relief. There are security concerns, as shown by the horrific 25 August attack on the Hayat Hotel. The threat of al-Shabaab is very concerning, he said, stressing that the United States is committed to supporting Somali-led efforts to defeat that group. It is critical that sufficient governance and services be provided to the liberated areas as al-Shabaab tries to destroy critical infrastructure, such as water wells. The United States is committed to fight terrorism and provide direct support to ATMIS and Somali security forces. As the single largest donor of humanitarian assistance to Somalia, the United States is committed to helping the people of Somalia. The warnings of a famine are a sobering call to action, and no one country can address this situation on its own. It needs resources to bolster its global food supply. The United States has provided $700 million in assistance in 2022, more than 70 per cent of all contributions this year. He urged other international partners to expand their contributions.
RONALDO COSTA FILHO (Brazil), while noting domestic political progress and significant steps towards the reconfiguration of the presence of international partners in Somalia, said that these advances contrast with the dramatic humanitarian situation facing the country. He expressed concern over reports that Somalia’s historic drought could continue into the autumn and that an estimated 7.1 million people — 45 per cent of the country’s population — are facing acute food insecurity. Further, this crisis of food insecurity is exacerbated by the security situation, which hampers humanitarian access and disrupts the flow of goods and agricultural supplies. Against that backdrop, he spotlighted the importance of economic development, along with negotiations involving IMF and the World Bank aimed at allowing Somalia to be eligible for full debt relief. “Somalia can only be truly peaceful when its citizens are able to earn a decent livelihood,” he stressed.
ISIS MARIE DORIANE JARAUD-DARNAULT (France), Council President for September, spoke in her national capacity to welcome the election of Somalia’s President, the appointment of its Prime Minister and the formation of its Government, along with the Government’s appointment of a special envoy to address the issue of drought. The international community must be mobilized in this regard and, for its part, the European Union will provide €633 million to respond to the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa. Further, the bloc is delivering emergency aid — primarily food and medicine — in areas hard to reach by road, and France is playing its part in this endeavour. Noting that al-Shabaab is exploiting the suffering of Somalia’s people, she welcomed the Government’s determination to continue combating this threat and called on the same to increase its force generation to strengthen the Somali army with support from ATMIS. She added that ATMIS must begin its progressive drawdown this year, pursuant to resolution 2628 (2022), so that Somalia can provide for its own security.
ABUKAR DAKIR OSMAN (Somalia) noted that since winning the election, President Hassan has undertaken steps to create an environment of unity and reconciliation among all stakeholders, laying the road map for national priorities — including finalizing the Provisional Constitution, adopting a unified election model and adopting a suitable justice model. He cited the importance of national unity, including improved security and development of the economic sector, pointing towards a 10 September meeting of the National Consultative Council on a detailed road map and plan of action. The Somali National Army continues to conduct offensive military operations against al-Shabaab, recovering towns in the Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions. However, those defeats have prompted al-Shabaab to attack soft targets and civilian populations including the 3 September killing of 20 civilians. He noted that the number of ATMIS locations and staff will be reduced by 2,000 in the first quarter of 2023.
He further emphasized that the United Nations Trust Fund for the Somali National Army has major structural issues, as evidence by its persistent shortfalls in recent years, and that the constant low level of recruitment of national Somalis in UNSOS remains unsatisfactory — citing discriminatory practices against Somali candidates. United Nations tax exemption food rations in Somali markets remain a concern, as they impact police- and troop-contributing countries in the delivery of their mandates, as well as tarnishing the reputation of the United Nations and impacting Somali traders. He also cited the issue of waste management, with accidental spills still occurring. The country is facing a protracted and recurring humanitarian crisis coupled with the threat of flooding, the COVID-19 pandemic and an October-December seasonal forecast indicating yet another below-average rainfall. He emphasized that humanitarian assistance alone cannot provide a sustainable or cost-effective solution to recurring climate shocks, calling for substantial development and climate change mitigation investment to strengthen the nexus between humanitarian and developmental assistance.