June 2024 Monthly Forecast



Expected Council Action  

In June, the Security Council will hold a briefing, followed by consultations, to discuss the situation in Somalia. Members were expected to receive the Secretary-General’s 120-day report on the situation in Somalia and the implementation of the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) by 31 May.

The Council is expected to extend the authorisation of the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) in June.

Key Recent Developments

On 30 March, Somalia’s bicameral Federal Parliament approved amendments to the first four chapters of its provisional constitution. Among other things, the amendments introduce a one-person and one-vote election system, replacing the clan-based formula that has traditionally been used to organise elections; provide for direct presidential election; and authorise the President to appoint and dismiss the Prime Minister without parliamentary approval. The changes also provide for a five-year term for constitutional bodies and establish a multi-party system with three national political parties.

Somalia’s constitutional review process has been marked by disagreements among the leaders over forms of government and the electoral model, particularly as it relates to the distribution of power and resources among distinct clans and regions within Somalia. Several Somali leaders, including former Somali Presidents Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, expressed reservations about the recent constitutional amendments, citing a lack of consensus among the political leaders.

On 31 March, Puntland announced its decision to withdraw recognition of and trust in the federal government of Somalia. The statement said that Puntland will act independently until a federal system of governance is established based on consensus, an agreed Somali constitution, and a public referendum in which Puntland participates. Puntland has not participated in the meetings of the National Consultative Council (NCC)—which brings together the leaders of the federal government and the federal member states—since January 2023, when it declared its intention to act independently until the finalisation of a new Somali constitution.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud convened the ninth meeting of the NCC from 14 to 17 May to advance the Somali government’s priorities. In a communiqué adopted following the meeting, the NCC urged the federal government and legislative bodies to fast-track laws and institutions necessary for a one-person and one-vote election; supported the federal government’s efforts in assuming security responsibilities following the departure of ATMIS; and agreed to collectively intensify operations against “terrorist groups”.

Pursuant to resolution 2710 of 15 November 2023, which extended ATMIS’ authorisation until 30 June, Somalia submitted the joint technical assessment evaluating the second phase of ATMIS’ drawdown on 26 March, which was undertaken by the Somali government and the AU. The assessment noted that the Somali security forces (SSF) are likely to struggle in implementing their mandate of ensuring stability and sustaining gains without a substantial increase in force generation. It highlighted the need for ATMIS to address challenges in troop movement and operations, enhancing coordination with the SSF, and acquiring critical force enablers. It underlined the importance of reassessing operational needs, bolstering force protection measures, and re-evaluating the cooperation framework involving ATMIS, the UN Support Office in Somalia, and the SSF. It further cautioned that there is a heightened risk of attacks by Al-Shabaab against forward operating bases (FOBs) using improvised explosive devices, which necessitates proactive measures to address vulnerabilities and enhance security postures to mitigate potential threats effectively.

On 10 April, the Somali government submitted its proposal for post-ATMIS security arrangements to the Council, in line with resolution 2710, which envisions a new AU-led and UN-authorised multilateral mission limited in scope, size, and timeframe and designed to address specific capability gaps. The mission is expected to provide stabilisation support, enable state-building priorities, secure identified strategic population centres and critical infrastructure in the federal capital and federal member states, and provide air support to the SSF. The proposal also called for a UN-mandated mission to provide logistical support to the new AU-led mission and the SSF. Regarding the financing of the mission, the proposal noted that the strategic and operational-level planning for the new mission would build on the necessary requirements to enable access to UN assessed contributions.

In a communiqué released on 3 April, the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) welcomed Somalia’s proposal for post-ATMIS security arrangements and requested the AU Commission to undertake comprehensive and detailed planning based on the situation on the ground. It further stressed the need to ensure adequate, predictable and sustainable financing for the post-ATMIS mission arrangement, including through Council resolution 2719 of 21 December 2023, which provided for the financing of AU-led peace support operations (AUPSOs).

A delegation of the AU’s Peace Support Operations Division (PSOD) led by the head of the PSOD, General Cheikh Dembele, undertook a visit to Somalia to conduct a technical assessment for a post-ATMIS scenario. The delegation visited the FOBs in Xawaadleey and Qoryooley in Middle and Lower Shabelle regions, along with Baidoa, where they held discussions with the President of Somalia’s Southwest state, Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed. Following the visit, it seems that the delegation briefed the AUPSC in an informal meeting held on 21 May on the assessment of their mission and the strategic concept of operations of the post-ATMIS mission.

In a letter circulated to the Council members on 8 May, Somali Foreign Minister Ahmed Moalim Fiqi requested the termination of UNSOM’s mandate and called for the “swift conclusion of the necessary procedures for the termination of the [m]ission by the end of the mandate in October 2024”. Somalia sent another letter, which was circulated to the Council members on 10 May, expressing its readiness to engage with relevant stakeholders in the “preparation of [a] complex transition process within [the] appropriate timeframe”. Referring to a 29 April telephone conversation between President Mohamud and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, the letter said that Somalia had requested the “initiation of a planning process to articulate [a] clear end state toward a transition from a special political mission to a [UN] Country Team”. It further said that the Somali government aims to ensure that the eventual objective of the transition can be achieved through “distinct stages”.

On 15 May, Secretary-General Guterres appointed James Swan as the Acting Special Representative for Somalia and Head of UNSOM. Swan previously held the Special Representative position between 2019 and 2022.  Following his appointment, it appears that Swan held bilateral consultations with some Council members before departing for Mogadishu to discuss the modalities of the transition process with relevant authorities. Swan has replaced Catriona Laing, who served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and Head of UNSOM for one year.

In a 16 May letter to the AUPSC, the Somali government requested a revised timeline for the drawdown of 4,000 ATMIS personnel, foreseen for June, as set out in resolution 2710. The letter seeks a phased drawdown, whereby 2,000 troops would leave Somalia by the end of June. It envisaged that the second batch of troops would exit by September, the exact number of which is expected to be determined by Somalia and the AU, based on the troop requirement for the follow-on mission to ATMIS.

Human Rights-Related Developments

The independent expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, Isha Dyfan, visited Somalia from 7 to 10 May, her third official visit to the country since her appointment in May 2020. In a press conference at the end of her visit, she said that her discussions with Somali government officials focused on the constitutional review process, legislative and institutional developments, the protection of civilians in light of the ATMIS drawdown and “violations of the rights of women and children”. She called on the Somali government to bolster efforts to address the country’s security challenges and strengthen processes to investigate and prosecute cases of sexual and gender-based violence. She said that “[c]ivilians, especially women and children, continue to bear the brunt of deadly attacks carried out by Al-Shabaab”. She noted that “joint military operations by Somali security forces and local clan militias also had an impact on the civilian population and infrastructure”. Dyfan appealed to the international community to continue its assistance towards strengthening Somalia’s federal and state institutions and the justice and security sector.

Dyfan is expected to present a comprehensive report on her visit to the Human Rights Council at its 57th session and to the UN General Assembly at its 79th session this year.

Key Issues and Options

One of the key issues for Council members is the future of UNSOM. In a 16 May letter to Somalia, the Council took note of Somalia’s requests and asked the Secretary-General to ensure that the UN engage promptly with the Somali government to determine the modalities and timeline for the transition. It also requested the Secretary-General to provide the Council with a written update by the end of August.

A related issue is how to continue supporting the Somali government in achieving its national priorities, including the constitutional review process and security sector reform. The increasing tension between the federal government and some federal member states is a matter of concern for several Council members.

The ATMIS drawdown process and the post-ATMIS security arrangements are also key issues for Council members. Members remain concerned about whether Somali security forces will be able to assume security responsibilities from ATMIS personnel by the end of 2024 when the mission is set to complete its drawdown and exit.

The follow-on mission’s funding is expected to be a major issue, as Somalia’s intention seems to be to seek support from UN assessed contributions under resolution 2719. One option for Council members would be to request the UN and the AU to conduct a joint technical assessment to lay out the modalities and options for financing of the follow-on mission before the end of this year.

The persisting insecurity in the country and the ongoing offensive against Al-Shabaab, a terrorist group affiliated with Al-Qaeda, continue to be a major issue for Council members. Al-Shabaab retains the ability to carry out attacks against civilians, civilian infrastructure, and state institutions. Between 23 March and 19 April, Al-Shabaab carried out 26 attacks against Somali security forces in Lower Shabelle and was responsible for six remote explosions, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, a non-governmental organisation that collects conflict-related data.

Council Dynamics

Council members support the Somali government’s priorities and recognise the many challenges facing the country, including the persistent insecurity caused by the terrorist activities of Al-Shabaab. They also support ongoing efforts to fight the group. Some members, however, believe that a security approach will not be sufficient and underscore the need to make progress in governance, justice, and economic reforms. Other Council members emphasise the need for progress in implementing the Somali Transition Plan, including national force generation.

Although Council members seem to agree on continuing security support to Somalia post-ATMIS, views differ on the financing of such efforts. The US is apparently not keen to consider a follow-on mission within the framework of resolution 2719. Some other Council members also apparently share this view. These members seem to believe that there is a lack of clarity on the modalities of implementing resolution 2719, including burden-sharing. It appears that the US has produced a non-paper to explain its position as discussions pick up on possible test cases to be presented for the Council’s consideration under resolution 2719. Apparently, the US preference is to apply the resolution to an entirely new AUPSO with a narrow set of tasks and defined timeline.

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Security Council Resolutions
21 December 2023S/RES/2719 This was a resolution on the financing of African Union (AU)-led peace support operations (AUPSOs).
15 November 2023S/RES/2710 This resolution extended the authorisation of ATMIS until 30 June.
31 October 2023S/RES/2705 This resolution extended the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) for one year.

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