Expected Council Action
In June, the Chair of the 751 Somalia Sanctions Committee, Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve (Belgium), is expected to brief the Council in consultations.
At press time, the Council was scheduled to renew the mandate of AMISOM on 31 May.
The partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somali security forces, the authorisation for maritime interdiction to enforce the embargo on illicit arms imports and charcoal exports, and humanitarian exemptions to the sanctions regime expire on 15 November. The mandate of the Somalia Panel of Experts expires on 15 December.
Key Recent Developments
On 22 May, Deputy Special Representative Raisedon Zenenga of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) briefed the Council on the latest UNSOM report. Other briefers were AU Special Representative for Somalia and head of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Francisco Caetano Madeira (via video teleconference), and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Ursula Mueller.
In his 15 May report, the Secretary-General conveys his concern about the challenging security environment and the continued impact on humanitarian operations of military operations and clashes among armed groups. The report notes that the Al-Shabaab terrorist group has increased its activities in recent months against security forces and civilians. At the same time, there has been an increase in security operations against Al-Shabaab, degrading its operational capability. According to UNSOM’s Human Rights and Protection Group, between 14 December 2018 and 4 May, 757 civilian casualties were recorded, of which 72 percent were attributed to Al-Shabaab, 9 percent to state security forces and 10 percent to unknown perpetrators, including six civilian casualties attributed to air strikes conducted by unknown aircraft. Humanitarian needs across Somalia remain high, with 4.2 million people requiring aid and protection.
In the briefing, Madeira also spoke about the joint AU-UN review of AMISOM to consider progress on the security transition in Somalia. The review laid down two options for AMISOM’s future configuration, intended to cover the period until the completion of the elections cycle at the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021:
- maintaining the current troop ceiling while allowing for reductions based on progress on the ground, in light of the slow pace of generating capable Somali security forces: or
- progressive reduction of AMISOM’s uniformed personnel ceiling (currently 20,626) by 1,000 or 2,000 troops to take place by the end of February 2020, on the premise that Somalia plans to take over 12 forward operating bases by the end of 2019.
In addition, the review recommends that AMISOM’s police component, now set at a minimum of 1,040 police personnel out of the troop ceiling, be strengthened by two additional formed police units of 160 personnel each, commensurate with any reduction of AMISOM military personnel.
The review notes that, on the one hand, avoiding further prescribed reductions increases the likelihood of continued insufficient progress on the implementation of the Somali transition plan and on building Somali security capacity within projected timelines. On the other hand, a premature reduction in AMISOM troops based on set timelines runs the risk of exposing civilians to harm due to lack of Somali readiness to take over security responsibilities from AMISOM. Madeira urged the Council to endorse the first option provided in the review and avoid further troop reductions at this time.
On 15 May, the Somalia Sanctions Committee met with its Panel of Experts for its mid-term update.
The Council may reiterate previous calls, most recently in resolution 2444 of 14 November 2018, renewing the sanctions regime, for Somalia and other member states to meet their obligations in implementing the sanctions regime, particularly with respect to the arms embargo and charcoal ban, and impose or threaten to impose sanctions on individuals involved in the illicit trade in charcoal.
More broadly on Somalia, a key issue is ensuring that AMISOM retains the capability and means to strengthen and assist the Somali forces so that these forces can progressively take the lead in providing security, while avoiding a premature handover of security responsibilities. Closely related is the need for predictable and sustainable funding for AMISOM and Somali security institutions throughout this process.
The UK is the penholder on Somalia.
UN DOCUMENTS ON SOMALIA
|Security Council Resolutions|
|27 March 2019S/RES/2461||This was a resolution renewing the mandate of UNSOM until 31 March 2020.|
|14 November 2018S/RES/2444||This was a resolution lifting sanctions on Eritrea and extending various elements of the Somalia sanctions regime until 15 November 2019.|
|30 July 2018S/RES/2431||This was a resolution renewing the mandate of AMISOM until 31 May 2019.|
|15 May 2019S/2019/393||This was on Somalia.|
|Security Council Letters|
|10 May 2019S/2019/388||This contained the findings and recommendations of the AU-UN joint review of AMISOM’s mandate.|
|Security Council Meeting Records|
|22 May 2019S/PV.8533||This was a briefing on the situation in Somalia.|