The 22nd meeting of the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia was held from 2-3 July 2012 in Rome under the chairmanship of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Dr Augustine Mahiga, together with the ICG Co-chairs (Norway and the USA).
The Italian Foreign Minister, Giulio Terzi, Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden of the Transitional Federal Parliament of the Republic of Somalia, Prime Minister Dr Abdiweli Mohamed Ali of the Transitional Federal Government of the Republic of Somalia and representatives of Puntland, Galmudug and Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a addressed the meeting.
The ICG reviewed progress on the political track, and reiterated its firm determination that the Transition ends on 20 August 2012 in accordance with the Transitional Federal Charter, Djibouti Agreement, Kampala Accord, Roadmap and subsequent consultative meetings. In particular, the ICG welcomed agreement among the Principals at their meeting in Nairobi on 22 June on a final draft Constitution. This will now go to the National Constituent Assembly for provisional adoption.
The ICG expressed concern over repeatedly missed deadlines and urged the Somali stakeholders to adhere to the latest timelines, including for the opening (12 July) and closing (20 July) of the National Constituent Assembly, selection (15 July) and induction (20 July) of the new Federal Parliament, and election of the Speaker/Deputies (4 August) and President (20 August). The ICG called for the immediate activation of the Elders’ Arbitration Committee, Roadmap Signatories Coordination Office, Technical Facilitation Committee and Technical Selection Committee and for the earliest possible conclusion of the selection process. With regard to the Federal Parliament, the Group welcomed the need for the new body to meet Somali people’s expectations, especially in terms of the quality and commitment of its Members, gender balance, more effective working practices and ability to hold the executive arm of government to account. A joint legislative workplan should be developed between the new Parliament and Government, including with a view to strengthening the legislative framework for the promotion and protection of human rights and transitional justice.
The ICG noted the joint UN/AU/IGAD open letter of 1 May, warning all would-be spoilers that anyone obstructing the peace process would be referred to the IGAD Council of Ministers and possibly also to the UN Monitoring Group with a view to the imposition of sanctions.
The ICG noted progress in many areas of the Roadmap, and called for the remaining tasks to be completed on time. For the time being, the focus is rightly on ending the Transition on schedule. But the Group invited the next Government of Somalia within sixty days of its formation to set out its priorities and associated resource requirements with a view to securing international support. As a first step, the Group agreed to hold a preliminary, high-level discussion on emerging priorities in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
The ICG condemned the recent violent attack against places of worship in Kenya and the kidnapping of aid workers.
The Group offered to assist in building support inside Somalia for respect for all human rights and the rule of law.
The ICG commended recent further military advances by the African Union Mission in Somalia, TFG forces and their allies including Ethiopia in response to continuing aggression by Al Shabaab, and paid tribute to AMISOM troop contributing countries and Somali security forces. The Group reiterated its condolences and support to the families of all those who have lost their lives in the fighting. While acknowledging the improvement by AMISOM in the protection of civilians, the Group called upon all actors to ensure protection of civilians with particular attention to women and children.
The Group also called for unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance by all persons in need.
During the course of the meeting, the ICG witnessed the signature by Hussein Arab Isse (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of the TFG) and Dr Augustine Mahiga (Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia) of a Plan of Action on Children Associated with Armed Forces. The ICG welcomed the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2036, which expanded the operations and support package for AMISOM and raised its troop ceiling. The Group welcomed the new uniformed personnel from Djibouti, Kenya, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The Group also welcomed TFG efforts to unify Somali forces under national command and control.
The Group acknowledged the pressing need for more and better coordinated international assistance for both AMISOM and Somali security forces, especially from new donors. The Group also urged the TFG with support from the United Nations and AMISOM to put in place quickly arrangements for reintegrating former combatants and supporting their dependants as a prelude to full-scale demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration. At the same time, the Group called upon Al Shabaab and all other armed opposition groups constituting terrorist threats to renounce violence and to embrace the peace process.
Over the next few years, Somalia will need to take increased responsibility for its own security including through budgeting and paying for salaries.
The ICG called on the Somali authorities to expedite the development of Somali security forces.
The President of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia reported on recent developments. The ICG recalled the Final Statement of the Dubai Second High Level Public-Private Counter Piracy Conference held on 28 June, which inter alia called for the development of regional and national maritime capacity and for participants to respect relevant international law related to fighting piracy in international waters.
As large parts of south and central Somalia come under the control of the Government, there is a need to provide urgent and substantive support for stabilisation and the development of effective regional, district and local administrations through democratic and popular participation to prevent a power vacuum. This support must continue beyond the Transition. The ICG welcomed the ongoing development by the TFG of a strategy for Reconciliation and Stabilisation, and agreed that it should form the basis of the framework for international coordination. It agreed that partners should better coordinate with the Government their activities in the newly-recovered areas as well as in Mogadishu. The ICG recognised that both national and international partners needed to increase and align their efforts to strengthen credible and legitimate local administrations. The Group also discussed an Italian document on District-Based Peace-Building, which could provide a source of inspiration for future programmes. It noted the importance of restoring dispute resolution mechanisms and promoting local and national reconciliation, including through dialogue, within the framework of stabilisation.
The Group acknowledged the progress made by the regional administrations especially in security and governance, including in Somaliland, Puntland and Galmudug and territories under the administration of Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a. These efforts should continue to be encouraged and supported.
The ICG also agreed on the need to support the comprehensive development of the independent justice sector in Somalia, in particular by increasing support for access to justice for women and vulnerable groups in addition to gender responsive policing, justice and corrections throughout the country based on both formal and informal systems of justice, adherence to international standards for justice and human rights (including in the fight against terrorism) and dialogue throughout the process with Somali civil society. It also agreed to support the re-establishment of justice and rule of law services in the newly-recovered areas.
The ICG welcomed the outcome of three major conferences which have taken place since its last meeting in February. The first, in London, gave fresh impetus to the political process, increased support for AMISOM and Somali security forces, and reinvigorated efforts to tackle piracy and terrorism.
A Mutual Accountability Board, which should help to improve mutual financial transparency and mutual accountability and to combat corruption, now needs to be discussed among all relevant Somali and international stakeholders.
The second, in Istanbul, usefully underscored the importance of reconciliation, institution-building and reconstruction. In particular, the conference highlighted the need for large-scale multi-year funding for infrastructure projects, state-building and uninterrupted delivery of basic services and welcomed the establishment of a multi-donor trust fund for post-Transition financing. The third, in Dubai, will help to improve the coordination of our collective efforts to eradicate piracy by means of a comprehensive approach on land as well as at sea, including capacity-building.
In anticipation of the end of the Transition and in order to make our collective efforts in support of Somalia even more effective, the ICG agreed further to explore a number of improvements to its working methods, including the possible establishment of an inter-sessional working group covering the Political Process and strengthened links with existing bodies dealing with Development, Justice and Security.
The International Contact Group thanked the Government of the Republic of Italy for hosting this meeting, and welcomed an offer from South Africa to host the next meeting in early 2013.
African Union, Belgium, Burundi, Canada, China, Denmark, Djibouti, East African Community, Egypt, Ethiopia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, International Development Law Organisation, Islamic Development Bank, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea (Republic), League of Arab States, Netherlands, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Norway, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia (TFG, TFP, Puntland, Galmudug, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a), South Arica, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States of America and the World Bank.Share on Facebook