October 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 September 2011
Download Complete Forecast: PDF
AFRICA

Somalia

Expected Council Action
In October, the Council is expecting two reports from the Secretary-General:

  • a report on the protection of Somali natural resources and waters and on alleged illegal fishing and dumping off the coast of Somalia, as requested by the Council in resolution 1976; and
  • a report on the general situation with regard to piracy off the coast of Somalia and implementation of the anti-piracy provisions of resolution 1950 which expire in November.

 A briefing by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe followed by consultations is expected.

Additionally, at press time it seemed possible that the Council would consider a draft resolution proposed by Russia on strengthening prosecution of suspected pirates. It seems the resolution would, among other things, demand that Somalia adopt counter-piracy laws and strongly urge all other states to criminalise piracy under their domestic laws. The Council would also express its intention to continue consideration of the possible establishment of specialised anti-piracy courts in Somalia or elsewhere in the region with international participation and support (as initially proposed by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on legal issues related to piracy off the coast of Somalia, Jack Lang).  

Key Recent Developments
A major step forward in the political process was taken on 6 September in Mogadishu with the adoption by all major Somali stakeholders of a road map for ending the transition before August 2012. The road map identifies four priority areas for action: security; constitution; political outreach and reconciliation; and good governance. It also establishes key tasks, including adoption of a new constitution, holding of parliamentary and presidential elections and clear timelines for implementation, while assigning responsibility and identifying available resources and ways to measure compliance.  

On 14 September, the Council was briefed on these developments and on the Secretary-General’s latest report by Special Representative Augustine Mahiga. Mahiga referred to the adoption of the road map as a “milestone in the peace process”, but also warned about the challenges ahead, noting that “the international community must redouble its engagement and strike that most delicate of balances” between inducement and compelling compliance.

Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, Boubacar Gaoussou Diarra, also spoke. Abdiweli stressed that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was doing its best to extend authority to areas vacated by the Islamist rebel group Al Shabaab, but that government forces were overextended and international support was urgently needed. In particular, he called for an increase in the authorised troop strength of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) from 12,000 to 20,000.

On 30 September, the Council adopted resolution 2010 renewing the AMISOM authorisation until 31 October 2012. The resolution:

  • encourages the UN to work with the AU to develop a dedicated AMISOM guard force of appropriate size to provide security for international personnel and also welcomes plans to develop an AMISOM police component; and
  • calls for an expansion of the logistical support package for AMISOM from UN assessed contributions to include catering equipment and training, additional communications equipment, furniture and sanitary and cleaning materials (as proposed by the Secretary-General in a 21 September letter to the Council.)

Additionally, the resolution calls on the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) ” to abide by the terms of the road map” and notes that future Council support to the TFIs will be contingent on its implementation. There is also a new provision calling on the TFIs to intensify outreach to regional administrations and civil society and additional language relating to protection of civilians, in particular with regard to women and children.

The adoption of the AMISOM resolution had initially been scheduled for 16 September but was postponed following a request from the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). In a 13 September communiqué on Somalia, the PSC asked the Security Council to delay adoption until after a planned 23 September mini-summit on Somalia to be held on the margins of the General Assembly in order “to consider further inputs and updates on the situation … including by thoroughly engaging with the AU and giving due consideration to the requests and other elements contained in the present communiqué … as well as by taking into account the conclusions of the planned mini-summit on Somalia.”

More specifically, the PSC requested that the Council authorise an expanded support package for AMISOM from UN assessed contributions “to take into account the shortcomings identified over the past few months.” This would include self-sustenance of troops and reimbursement of contingent-owned equipment (raising AMISOM to UN mission standards). The PSC also called on the Council to support the deployment of formed police units and the creation of a guard force of 850 troops to protect civilian personnel, “it being clearly understood that this force should come in addition to the 12,000” already authorised by the Council.

These requests were reiterated by the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Jean Ping, at the 23 September mini-summit on Somalia.

According to the latest piracy report from the International Maritime Bureau (IMB), Somali pirates were responsible for 60 percent of global piracy attacks during the first half of 2011. While the number of attacks increased to 163 from 100 during the same period in 2010, the number of successful attacks decreased from 27 to 21. International anti-piracy efforts therefore seem to have had some impact. As of 27 September, however, 15 vessels and 277 hostages were still being held by Somali pirates according to IMB. A recent incident, in which Somali pirates were reported to be responsible for the kidnapping of a British national from a tourist resort in Kenya near the Somali border (and the killing of her husband) could indicate a further expansion of their reach.

The humanitarian situation remains acute. On 21 September, 20 aid agencies working in Somalia issued a joint statement focusing attention on humanitarian access. They warned that the situation could get worse and called for a “dramatic change in approach” involving enhanced diplomatic efforts to ensure unhindered access and increased funding. At a 24 September mini-summit on the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa held on the margins of the General Assembly, new pledges amounting to $218 million were made, but $500 million is still needed to meet the overall humanitarian appeal for the region of $2.48 billion.

Human Rights-Related Developments
Shamsul Bari, the UN expert on Somalia who has visited the country twice this year, reported to the Human Rights Council on 15 September. Bari commended Somalia for its commitment to promote and protect human rights even in the midst of war. He recommended that the government strengthen human rights policy by adopting an action plan, improving the administration of justice and providing human rights and international humanitarian law training for the security sector, including the judiciary, police and armed forces. Bari believed that an important confidence-building initiative of the government should be the establishment of a national human rights commission and that efforts should be made to consult with Puntland and Somaliland authorities to draw on their experience.

Key Issues
The timely implementation of the road map will remain a key issue for the Council until the end of the transition. A connected issue is the Council’s role relating to monitoring and compliance and whether the frequency of the current reporting cycle (every four months) will keep it sufficiently informed. (The road map has a tight timeline and there are several important tasks scheduled for completion already in October.)

A continuing key issue is the need to accelerate expansion of the UN presence in Mogadishu to facilitate international support for the implementation of the road map. 

Another key issue is the future of AMISOM and whether the additional support authorised by resolution 2010 will help speed up deployment of the remaining troops. (Djibouti announced this month that it would deploy 850 peacekeepers to AMISOM in October while Uganda said it would send an additional 2,000 troops, but without specifying a timeline.)   There are continuing concerns that warlords may gain control over areas vacated by Al Shabaab in the absence of a sufficient number of adequately equipped TFG and AMISOM forces.

With regard to piracy, a key issue in October is whether further action should be taken at this stage or whether the Council should first consider the Secretary-General’s upcoming reports and wait until November, when the current anti-piracy measures expire. Another question is the added value of Council action as it relates to the road map’s benchmark on “effective maritime security and counter-piracy policy and strategy”, which addresses some key concerns, such as enactment of Somali anti-piracy legislation (due by 18 May 2012).

Key issues also include the humanitarian crisis and in particular obstructions to humanitarian access imposed by Al Shabaab. Additionally, there were reports of TFG forces preventing aid agencies from delivering food to areas controlled by Al Shabaab, citing security concerns.

A final key issue is whether to consider any of the recommendations of the Monitoring Group for the Somalia/Eritrea sanctions regime that have not yet been implemented, such as designating additional individuals for targeted sanctions, including pirate leaders.

Options
Main options for the Council include:

  • adopting a resolution on ways to strengthen prosecution of suspected pirates as proposed by Russia;
  • listening to the briefings scheduled for October, but taking no further action at this stage;
  • requesting monthly briefings on progress in implementing the road map;
  • requesting a further briefing on the humanitarian situation in Somalia in the Council’s informal expert group on protection of civilians (the group last considered Somalia on 1 September in preparation of the AMISOM re-authorisation); and
  • issuing a statement to signal to the TFIs that the Council is closely monitoring implementation of the road map and also to express renewed concern about the humanitarian situation.

Council Dynamics
While recent progress on both the political and security front have created a sense that Somalia is finally moving in the right direction, Council members also seem wary of the many challenges ahead and whether the TFIs will be up to the task. At the same time, most Council members recognise that strong international support, including through an enhanced UN presence in Mogadishu, will be critical for the road map to succeed. The humanitarian situation also continues to be a major cause for concern.

With regard to AMISOM, it seems resolution 2010 did not fully resolve the long standing tensions over how to ensure adequate resources for the mission as it only partially responds to the concerns expressed by the AU. It appears that substantive divisions on AMISOM among Council members were also exacerbated by differences over procedure related to the more general issue of relations with the AU, which have sometimes been strained. South Africa had initially urged that negotiations on the AMISOM resolution not start until after the meeting of the PSC on 13 September in order to allow Council members to first consider any requests emanating from this meeting. (Negotiations started on 12 September.) It was only following a formal request from the PSC that adoption of the resolution was postponed. It appears that this delay allowed for further bilateral consultations between the UK and African Council members resulting in revisions that to some extent satisfied their concerns.

On the issue of piracy, Russia circulated a draft resolution to all Council members in September focusing on prosecution of pirates, but at press time negotiations had not yet begun. Council positions were therefore still unclear.  It appears that a key objective of the draft would be to keep the issue of specialised anti-piracy courts on the Council’s agenda.

The UK is the lead country on Somalia in the Council, while India chairs the Sanctions Committee and Russia has taken the lead on legal issues related to piracy.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolutions

  • S/RES/2010 (30 September 2011) renewed the authorisation of AMISOM until 31 October 2012 and called for the establishment of a special guard force.
  • S/RES/1976 (11 April 2011) welcomed the report of the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Legal Issues Related to Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and requested two reports from the Secretary-General.  
  • S/RES/1950 (23 November 2010) renewed for a period of 12 months the antipiracy measures of previous Council decisions.

Presidential Statement

  • S/PRST/2011/13 (24 June 2011) welcomed the signing of the Kampala Accord.

Latest Secretary-General’s Report

Meeting Records

  • S/PV.6614 (14 September 2011) was the latest open Council meeting on Somalia.
  • S/PV.6560 (21 June 2011) was a meeting on the Secretary-General’s report on specialised Somali anti-piracy courts.

Letter

  • S/2011/591 (21 September 2011) was a letter from the Secretary-General proposing an expanded AMISOM support package and establishment of a dedicated guard force.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Augustine Mahiga (Tanzania)

AMISOM

Maximum authorised strength: 12,000 troops, plus maritime and air components
Strength as of September 2011: about 9,600 Ugandan and Burundian troops
Duration: February 2007 to present. Council authorisation expires on 31 October 2012; AU mandate expires on 17 January 2012.

full forecast