What's In Blue

Somalia: Council to renew mandate of UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM)

Tomorrow morning (27 March), the Council is expected to renew the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) for an additional year. Council members met twice to negotiate the text, which went into blue earlier today, after passing silence procedure at noon today.

It appears that there was consensus among Council members that UNSOM ought to maintain its current mandate, and the draft resolution decides to extend until 31 March 2019 UNSOM’s mandate as set out in paragraph 1 of resolution 2158 of 2014. Thus, according to the draft, the mission will retain its current functions with regards to providing strategic support and advice to the Federal Government of Somalia and the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on peacebuilding and state-building in the areas of governance, security sector reform and rule of law, development of a federal system, constitutional review, and coordination of international donor support.

Other key tasks of the mission will be retained. The mission will continue to assist the federal government build its capacity to promote respect for human rights and women’s empowerment, to promote child protection, to prevent conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, and to strengthen justice institutions. UNSOM will further continue to monitor and report on any abuses or violations of human rights or of international humanitarian law committed in Somalia, or any abuses committed against children or women..

While the draft in blue does not call for any substantive changes to the mandate, it adds new language contextualising UNSOM’s work amid current developments on the ground and signalling areas in which the Council is looking forward to further progress by both UNSOM and the Federal Government of Somalia. In this regard, the draft welcomes the development of a Transition Plan–with clear target dates, geographical priorities and an operational readiness assessment–with a view to conducting a conditions-based, gradual handover of security from AMISOM to the Somali Security Forces. This transition includes the Somali Security Forces conducting joint operations with AMISOM in order to become the primary security provider in Somalia. The draft recognises that the coming year should see the swift implementation of critical agreements reached in 2017, particularly the outcomes from the December High Level Meetings in Mogadishu, which agreed a Mutual Accountability Framework setting out political, economic and security priorities for 2018.

The text also underscores the importance of UNSOM’s support to Somalia on preparations for the delivery of inclusive, credible and transparent one person, one vote elections in 2020/2021. This is expected to include a focus on the National Independent Electoral Commission at the national and sub-national level in order for it to fulfil its constitutional mandate, in line with the Somali-led Operational Strategic Plan for 2017-2021, support for the goal of nationwide voter registration by 2019, and coordination of international electoral support to Somalia.

While there was wide consensus concerning the Council’s support to UNSOM, it appears that new language on peripheral issues caused some degree of disagreement. A preambular paragraph on climate change was added that recalls the Council’s July 2011 presidential statement on climate change (S/PRST/2011/15), and recognises the adverse effects of climate change, ecological changes and natural disasters among other factors on the stability of Somalia. These adverse effects include drought, desertification, land degradation and food insecurity. The new paragraph further emphasises the need for adequate risk assessments and risk management strategies by governments and the UN relating to these factors. It seems that one elected member, with some degree of support from a permanent member of the Council, opposed the language. However, the references in the preambular paragraph are retained in the draft in blue.

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