What's In Blue

Adoption Renewing UN Mission in Somalia

On Tuesday (26 May), the Council is expected to adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) until 7 August. The current mandate of UNSOM expires on 28 May.

While the two previous UNSOM mandates were for a period of one year each, the next UNSOM mandate renewal will be in the form of a technical rollover for a period of just over ten weeks. It seems the purpose of the technical rollover is to allow Council members time to consider the findings of a joint AU-UN report due 30 May, which is likely to have implications for UNSOM’s mandate. As stipulated in resolution 2182, a joint AU-UN assessment mission visited Somalia, as well as held meetings at AU headquarters, from 15-25 April, with three purposes: to assess the situation in Somalia in relation to benchmarks for deploying a UN peacekeeping operation, to review the impact of the temporary surge in the AU Mission in Somalia’s (AMISOM’s) personnel authorised by resolution 2124 and to provide recommendations regarding future military strategy.

When Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of UNSOM, and Maman Sidikou, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia and head of AMISOM, briefed the Council via video teleconference from Addis Ababa on 19 May, the latter provided a preview of the joint AU-UN report. Regarding benchmarks for the deployment of UN peacekeepers, he told Council members that the joint mission found that conditions will not be suitable until the end of 2016 at the earliest. With respect to AMISOM’s troop surge, the report recommends a “structured, targeted reconfiguration” of AMISOM to respond to evolving conflict dynamics with a three-pronged strategy: resuming offensive operations against Al-Shabaab, consolidating and stabilising recovered areas (including establishing a joint AMISOM/UNSOM civilian presence) and securing supply routes to deliver services and humanitarian assistance. Sidikou also stated that working toward these goals would require better support to Somalia’s security forces, an improved logistical support package for AMISOM and new approaches for AMISOM’s police component.

An informal interactive dialogue on AMISOM, with the expected participation of Kay and Sidikou, has been tentatively scheduled for next month. The meeting may be an opportunity for Council members to discuss the findings of the upcoming AU-UN report, particularly regarding the division of labour between UNSOM and AMISOM.

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