What's In Blue

Adoption of Somalia Resolution

Tomorrow morning, Thursday, 2 May, the Council is scheduled to adopt a resolution creating the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to be deployed by 3 June for an initial period of 12 months.

The draft resolution which is now in blue is in line with resolution 2093 of 6 March, which re-authorised the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and reflects the findings from the technical assessment mission (TAM) transmitted to the Council in the Secretary-General’s letter (S/2013/239) of 19 April, in which he provided recommendations for a future UN political mission.

The components of UNSOM’s mandate include: a) providing ‘good offices’ functions to support peace and reconciliation; b) assisting the government and AMISOM with policy advice on peacebuilding and statebuilding; c) assisting the federal government in coordinating international support; d) helping build government capacity in human rights and the rule of law; and e) human rights investigating and reporting.

There is also a strong emphasis on alignment, integration, and coordination between UNSOM, and partners such as the UN Country Team, the government, the AU and AMISOM, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the EU, and other regional and international actors. This emphasis is also reflected in UNSOM’s organisational structure and internal lines of authority, as outlined in the Secretary-General’s report on the TAM in his letter to the Council of 19 April.

With respect to most of the content covered within the resolution, the negotiations were not particularly contentious. This may be because several of the more controversial issues had been resolved by the Council in adopting resolution 2093, such as the partial lifting of the arms embargo in Somalia, the structural integration of the UN mission, and the status of the UN Support Office for AMISOM.

Reportedly, there were a few issues where Council members had differing positions in negotiations. The addition of a human rights monitoring and reporting mandate was initially resisted by at least one Council member. It was finally agreed that the Mali resolution had set a recent precedent by including a similar component in the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali, and thus, it would also be acceptable for this mission. There was also apparently discussion regarding whether or not to keep a reference to the Somalia Maritime Security Strategy and Kampala Process before it was retained. In an earlier draft of the resolution, there was reportedly language on “flexible staffing” for UNSOM which was removed as at least one Council member saw this as a matter for the 5th Committee and not the Security Council. Also, there was some discussion regarding a reference to the ‘New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States’, which was then modified and moved from an operative paragraph to a preambular paragraph as a few Council members had voiced their concerns with respect to language regarding its implementation.

The draft resolution was put under silence the evening of 30 April until mid-day on 1 May. Apparently, the silence was broken by China who wanted further modification to the language on the ‘New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States’. Following bilateral negotiations the text was revised and the resolution put in blue.

The resolution requests the Secretary-General to report to the Council no later than 2 September 2013 and then on 90 day intervals, particularly regarding progress made on structural integration and the potential political and security implications of geographically expanding the UN presence in Somalia.

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