November 2015 Monthly Forecast

Posted 30 October 2015
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AFRICA

Somalia

Expected Council Action

In November, the Council will be briefed on the Secretary-General’s reports on the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and piracy, with participation by UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

The Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution renewing anti-piracy measures. A resolution regarding the UN Support Office for the AU Mission in Somalia (UNSOA) and the Somali National Army (SNA) support package is also a possibility in November. 

Key Recent Developments

On 14 October, Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare briefed the Council on the Secretary-General’s letter of 7 October regarding the strategic review of UNSOA and the feasibility of extending the SNA support package. Khare emphasised that while UNSOA had made a meaningful contribution in Somalia, it remains significantly under-resourced. It has provided operational support not only for its principal client, the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), but also for the SNA and UNSOM, in addition to supporting the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region and the Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group. Khare recommended reducing its client base to three (AMISOM, SNA and UNSOM), changing its name and management structure, refining its mandate and increasing funding by $60 million per year (with an additional $13 million required as a one-off expenditure).  

Operation Jubba Corridor, a joint AMISOM-SNA military offensive against Al-Shabaab, has continued in southern Somalia. On 7 October, the Chairperson of the Commission of the AU, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, appointed Ambassador Francisco Caetano José Madeira (Mozambique) as the new AU Special Representative for Somalia and head of AMISOM. On 19 October, the EU and AU signed an agreement for the EU to provide 165 million euros ($187 million) to cover AMISOM’s operational costs from June through December 2015. 

On 21 October, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, convened a pledging conference with the EU in Brussels to support the voluntary return of refugees to Somalia. There are an estimated 967,000 Somali refugees in neighbouring countries and an additional 1.1 million internally displaced persons in Somalia. The UN Refugee Agency announced that the conference raised $105 million. Meanwhile, a recent report by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization indicates a decline in remittances from the Somali diaspora to families in urban areas, which constitute a core source of funds for Somalis to meet basic needs, during the first six months of 2015.   

Counter-piracy is one area where international efforts have been successful thus far. As reported by the Secretary-General, it has been more than two years since a large commercial vessel has been hijacked and held for ransom by Somali pirates. There has also been a decline in the overall number of incidents caused by Somali-based pirates.  According to the International Maritime Organization, there were 12 in the most recent reporting period compared with 78 in 2007, when piracy was far more prevalent. However, as the Secretary-General notes, the efforts of multinational naval forces and the self-protection measures of the shipping industry continue to be required as the underlying causes of piracy and the latent capabilities of pirates remain a threat.   

Sanctions-Related Developments

On 9 October, the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee held informal consultations to discuss the Monitoring Group’s final reports on Somalia and Eritrea. Regarding Somalia, the Monitoring Group found: corruption continues to impede the statebuilding process; Al-Shabaab’s income from the charcoal trade has been reduced; Al-Shabaab continues to pose a significant security threat in Somalia and the region; there has been an increase in inter-communal conflict which Al-Shabaab has exploited; there remains a need for an adequate regulatory framework on natural resources; government management of arms and ammunition requires further progress; civilians continue to be targeted by all armed groups in violation of human rights and humanitarian law; and constraints remain on  humanitarian access. On Eritrea, the key findings of the Monitoring Group include: there was no evidence found of support by Eritrea for Al-Shabaab, but links to other armed groups in the region persist; and there is a lack of public financial transparency, including with respect to mining revenue.

On 23 October, the Council adopted resolution 2244, renewing the partial lifting of the arms embargo, maritime interdiction of illicit arms imports and illegal charcoal exports, the humanitarian exemption and the mandate of the Monitoring Group. Venezuela, which chairs the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee, abstained, raising an objection to not being consulted further by the penholder during the late stages of negotiations on the draft resolution. In its explanation of vote, Venezuela also raised concerns regarding the content on Eritrea in resolution 2244.

Human Rights-Related Developments

On 2 October, the Human Rights Council adopted without a vote a resolution on assistance to Somalia in the field of human rights. The resolution strongly condemns the serious and systematic violations and abuses perpetrated by Al-Shabaab against members of the civilian population, including women, children, journalists, parliamentarians and human rights defenders. It also, among other things, calls on the government to finalise and adopt a federal Constitution, and to hold credible, transparent and inclusive elections in 2016; and it renews the mandate of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia for one year.

Key Issues

One confirmed issue the Council will address in November concerns Somali piracy. Ongoing challenges include: a lack of national and regional capacity to arrest, prosecute and detain pirates; and the underlying causes of piracy, such as high youth unemployment, the economic impact of illegal fishing and weak national governance.  

The Council may also revisit issues raised in the Secretary-General’s 7 October letter and Khare’s 14 October briefing, particularly the limited resources available to UNSOA and the adverse implications for its support to AMISOM, the SNA and UNSOM. This in turn negatively affects counter-insurgency efforts and the ability to extend the statebuilding project to the federal regions. Related points concern the threat posed by Al-Shabaab in Puntland and the weak institutional capacity of the Somali police. 

Options

With respect to piracy, the most likely option for the Council is to reauthorise for another year the naval counter-piracy measures specified in resolution 2184. The Council could additionally include provisions for increasing the national and regional capacity building for anti-piracy courts and combatting illegal fishing in Somalia.

Regarding UNSOA and the SNA support package, the Council could defer taking action on the matter in November, or it could adopt a resolution drawing upon the recommendations made in the Secretary-General’s 7 October letter to the Council that would:

  • define UNSOA’s clients as AMISOM, UNSOM and the SNA;
  • rename UNSOA to reflect its actual client base and endorse the appointment of a head at the level of Assistant Secretary-General;
  • provide a “single and clear mandate focused on the provision of support to, but operationally separate from, its core clients”;
  • extend the SNA support package to Puntland forces, but preferably through a UN mechanism other than UNSOA; and
  • establish a support package for the Somali National Police, which could potentially be implemented through UNSOA channels.
Council and Wider Dynamics

There is a broad consensus among Council members regarding naval counter-piracy measures for Somalia. Not only are Somalia counter-piracy reauthorisations routinely adopted by consensus, but two-thirds of current Council members are represented directly or indirectly through the EU Naval Forces Somalia (EUNAVFOR) Operation Atalanta, NATO Operation Ocean Shield, the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) Combined Task Force 151 and the national naval deployments of China and Russia.

Regarding the UNSOA strategic review and the Secretary-General’s recommendations to improve its support to AMISOM in particular, these followed an AU-UN joint review of UN peacekeeping benchmarks, the AMISOM troop surge and future military strategy. Considerable common policymaking ground regarding Somalia—both conceptually and politically—has developed between the AU and UN during the last couple of years. How AU-UN relations continue to evolve within this context will depend in part on the next steps taken by the Council to improve UN support for AU forces deployed in Somalia. Perhaps indicative of how the penholder may proceed on this issue in November, on 27 September UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced the UK would deploy 70 troops to assist AMISOM with logistics, engineering and medical aid.     

The UK is the penholder on Somalia, and Venezuela is chair of the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea Sanctions Committee.

UN DOCUMENTS

Security Council Resolutions
23 October 2015 S/RES/2244 This resolution renewed the partial lifting of the arms embargo, maritime interdiction of illicit arms and charcoal, the humanitarian exemption and the mandate of the Monitoring Group.
12 November 2014 S/RES/2184 This was a resolution renewing for one year measures to fight piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia.
Security Council Letter
7 October 2015 S/2015/762 This letter concerned the strategic review of UNSOA and concepts for the extension of the SNA support package.
Security Council Meeting Records
23 October 2015 S/PV.7541 This meeting concerned the adoption of resolution 2244.
14 October 2015 S/PV.7535 This briefing was on the strategic review of UNSOA and an assessment regarding a possible extension of the SNA support package.
Secretary-General’s Reports
12 October 2015 S/2015/776 This report of the Secretary-General was on piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia.
11 September 2015 S/2015/702 This Secretary-General’s Report was on UNSOM.
Sanctions Committee Documents
9 October 2015 S/2015/802 This letter transmitted the final report on Eritrea of the Monitoring Group.
9 October 2015 S/2015/801 This letter transmitted the final report on Somalia of the Monitoring Group.