Expected Council Action
In September, the Security Council will hold a briefing, followed by consultations, to discuss the situation in Somalia. Special Representative for Somalia and head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) James Swan and an AU representative are the anticipated briefers.
Key Recent Developments
On 23 May, the Council received a briefing from Swan and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, on the latest situation in Somalia. The meeting took place after Somalia’s electoral process had concluded with the election of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the tenth president of Somalia. He previously served in the same position from 2012 to 2017. Council members welcomed this development and congratulated the newly elected president.
On 26 May, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2632, which extended the mandate of UNSOM until 31 October. It also requested the Secretary-General to undertake a strategic review of the mission in consultation with the Somali government and submit a report by 30 September with recommendations for clearly defined, measurable and realistic benchmarks to track the implementation of the mission’s mandate. Addressing the Security Council after the adoption of the resolution, Ambassador Abukar Dahir Osman, the Permanent Representative of Somalia to the UN, set out his country’s position on the strategic review, underscoring the need to align UN support with national priorities. He also stressed that “the end state must be clear, encompassing a common understanding and a shared vision of the road map for the transition from special political mission to United Nations country team”.
Mohamud, who was inaugurated on 9 June, has identified the following priorities: promoting national reconciliation, strengthening federalism and improving relations between Mogadishu and the regional states, intensifying the fight against Al-Shabaab, finalising the constitutional review process and judicial reform, and addressing the humanitarian situation. Accordingly, he has met twice with regional state leaders since his inauguration and visited Baidoa and Dusmareb, the capitals of South West and Galmudug states, respectively.
On 15 June, Mohamud appointed Hamza Abdi Barre, a Somali politician from the Ogaden branch of the Darod clan, as the prime minister. On 2 August, Barre announced a new cabinet composed of 75 members, including 26 ministers.
Mohamud has vowed to defeat Al-Shabaab, which continues to pose serious security threats. In a defiant move aimed at the new Somali government, Al-Shabaab militants stormed a hotel in Mogadishu on 19 August. The siege, which reportedly lasted more than 30 hours, left 21 people dead and 110 wounded. In July, the group also launched a cross-border attack in the Somali region of Ethiopia in which 17 people, including Ethiopian police officers and civilians, were killed, according to media reports. This attack came at a time when Ethiopia is facing domestic challenges, which seem to have encouraged Al-Shabaab’s regional ambitions.
Somalia is facing its worst drought in four decades, and Mohamud has appointed Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, a Somali politician and leader of the Wadajir Party, as his Special Envoy to mobilise international support for drought response. According to the UN, a failed rainy season, rising food prices and inadequate international assistance have contributed to the severe humanitarian situation, displacing more than a million people and leaving 7.8 million people acutely food insecure.
Since his inauguration, President Mohamud has visited several countries. His first foreign trip took him to Abu Dhabi, a sign of improved relations between Somalia and the United Arab Emirates. He also visited Ankara in a demonstration of his desire to maintain strong relations with Turkey, which has significantly enhanced its diplomatic presence and development support in Somalia over the past decade. Mohamud also visited Somali soldiers undergoing military training in Asmara, Eritrea. These soldiers allegedly participated in the war in Ethiopia, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on Eritrea. As part of his election campaign, Mohamud promised the families of the soldiers that he would bring them back home. He also visited Cairo, Djibouti, Nairobi, and Kampala to cement regional ties, as well as Arusha, to advance Somalia’s bid to join the East African Community.
On 3 June, the 751 Somalia Sanctions Committee held informal consultations to receive a briefing from the Panel of Experts on Somalia on its midterm update, covering the period from 16 December 2021 to 27 April. On 21 June, committee Chair Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason (Ireland) briefed the Security Council on the activities of the committee for the period from 25 February to 21 June.
Pursuant to resolution 2607 of 15 November 2021, the Secretary-General is expected to present a technical assessment of Somalia’s weapons and ammunition management capability no later than 15 September.
Human Rights-Related Developments
During its 51st session, the Human Rights Council is expected to hold an interactive dialogue on 5 October with the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Isha Dyfan, and consider her most recent report (A/HRC/51/65).
Key Issues and Options
The key issue for Council members is the dire humanitarian situation in Somalia and how international support can be mobilised to avert a looming famine. On 19 August, UN Emergency Humanitarian Coordinator Martin Griffith announced his decision to release $10 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support emergency assistance to Somalia. One possible option is to invite him to brief the Council on the humanitarian situation in the country.
The other major issue is how to support the newly elected government of Somalia in implementing its national priorities. In this regard, Council members may draw on the outcome of the UNSOM strategic review due to be submitted by the end of September.
Furthermore, the benchmarks and indicators requested by the Security Council pursuant to resolution 2628 of 31 March, which reconfigured the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) into the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), is an important issue. In consultation with the Somali government, the AU, EU and other donors, the UN is expected to submit by the end of September a proposal for benchmarks and indicators for the effectiveness of ATMIS and the implementation of the Somali Transition Plan and National Security Architecture.
The technical assessment of Somalia’s weapons and ammunition management capability is also a key issue in light of the upcoming negotiations in November to renew the measures imposed under the 751 Somalia sanctions regime.
Council members welcome the progress in Somalia and expect the new government to build on the momentum to promote political stability and accelerate reform. But they also recognise the many challenges facing the country, including the persistent insecurity caused by the terrorist activities of Al-Shabaab. Council members may emphasise the need for progress in implementing the Somali Transition Plan and look forward to the benchmarks and indicators requested by resolution 2628. African members may continue to raise the funding challenge facing ATMIS and appeal for adequate, sustainable and predictable financing in line with the communiqué adopted by the AU Peace and Security Council on 27 July 2022.
UN DOCUMENTS ON SOMALIA
|Security Council Resolutions|
|26 May 2022S/RES/2632||This resolution extended the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) until 31 October 2022.|
|31 March 2022S/RES/2628||This resolution endorsed the decision by the AU Peace and Security Council to reconfigure the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) into the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). The resolution authorises, for the period of one year, AU member states to deploy uniformed personnel in the country to carry out ATMIS’ mandated tasks.|
|15 November 2021S/RES/2607||This resolution renewed for one year the partial lifting of the arms embargo on Somali security forces; the authorisation for maritime interdiction to enforce the embargo on illicit arms imports, charcoal exports, and IED components; and humanitarian exemptions to the regime. The resolution received 13 votes in favour and two abstentions (China and Russia).|
|13 May 2022S/2022/392||This was the Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Somalia covering developments from 1 February to 13 May.|