ISS Today: Somalia needs more action, less lip service

ISS Today: Somalia needs more action, less lip service

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Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (C) looks on as he follows the proceedings of a special summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) assembly of heads of state and government on Somalia refugees held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 25 March 2017. Photo: EPA/DANIEL IRUNGUPhoto: Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (C) looks on as he follows the proceedings of a special summit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) assembly of heads of state and government on Somalia refugees held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 25 March 2017. Photo: EPA/DANIEL IRUNGU

To make a real difference, the worthy London Conference outcomes need dedicated action from all partners. By Omar S Mahmood and Meressa K Dessu for ISS TODAY.

Drought, a lack of security and inclusive politics, unemployment and poverty, piracy and the terror group al-Shabaab continue to plague Somalia. And while there has been progress in addressing these challenges, it isn’t enough.

To this end a New Partnership for Somalia (NPS) and a Security Pact were unveiled at the 11 May London Conference where representatives from over 40 organisations and nations gathered to measure progress and reaffirm international commitments in pursuit of a stable and secure Somalia.

The NPS outlines the relationship between the international community and Somalia over the next four years, and the Security Pact sets out a vision for Somalia-led security institutions, building on last month’s agreement between the Somali Federal Government and its Federal Member States (FMS) on the nation’s National Security Architecture.

The main themes at the conference, co-hosted by the Somali government, the UK, the United Nations (UN) and the African Union (AU), were strengthening national security, inclusive stable politics and economic recovery. The drought and risk of famine also played a prominent role, with UN Secretary-General António Guterres calling for an additional $900-million in humanitarian aid.

Somalia has come a long way since 2012, but a review of key areas of progress shows how much further there is to go. The country has, for example, undergone two successful political transitions, but overall participation has been limited. The federalisation process has gained significant momentum with the formation of all the FMS, but this is dampened by border disputes and the emergence of spoilers who feel left out by the process.

Piracy, a major driving force behind the first London Conference, has dropped – but the recent flare-up calls into question the sustainability of these efforts. Economic recovery has occurred, but much of this is diaspora-driven, unregulated and concentrated in urban centres, while unemployment and poverty remain major concerns.