posted on Tue 13 Jun 2017 5:36 PM
Security Council to Renew Mandate of UN Assistance Mission in Somalia

Tomorrow (14 June), the Council will adopt a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) until 31 March 2018. Following fairly straightforward negotiations, the penholder, the UK, put a draft resolution in blue yesterday.

On 23 March, the Council adopted resolution 2346 that rolled over the mandate of UNSOM until 16 June, as it anticipated recommendations from a strategic assessment of the Secretary-General on the UN’s role in Somalia in the post-election period, which were to be taken into consideration before renewing the mandate for another year.

That strategic assessment of the UN presence in Somalia (S/2017/404), requested by resolution 2275, was transmitted to the Council on 5 May. The assessment process was initiated at the end of 2016, and included the deployment of a strategic assessment mission to Somalia and the region from 5 to 15 March, after the completion of the electoral process. It recommended that over the next four years, the UN should focus on three priority areas—federalism and challenges to state-building; security strategy; and strengthening resilience and promoting socioeconomic change—and that the new government should define its own clear priorities, including in the national development plan, that will guide UN support.

Concerning UNSOM, the assessment concluded that its overall concept as a political mission should remain, with its core tasks being to provide good offices and strategic advice on peacebuilding and state-building, to coordinate international support, to build the capacity of federal and state institutions, and to monitor and report violations. However, one of the main recommendations was that the mandate should be adapted to integrate support at the level of federal member states in all areas of the mandate, and that the functions of the mission’s presence at federal and state levels should be clarified.

The draft resolution in blue extends UNSOM’s mandate as set out in paragraph 1 of resolution 2158 (2014). This includes mandating UNSOM to:

  • provide “good offices” functions, supporting the Federal Government of Somalia’s peace and reconciliation process; 
  • support the Federal Government of Somalia, and AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) as appropriate, by providing strategic policy advice on peacebuilding and state-building; 
  • assist the Federal Government of Somalia in coordinating international donor support; to help build the capacity of the Federal Government of Somalia in addressing issues of human rights and justice; and 
  • monitor, help investigate and report to the Council on, and help prevent, human rights abuses. 

Taking note of the strategic assessment, the draft in blue requests UNSOM to implement its mandate at both the national and regional levels including through maintaining and further strengthening its presence in all federal member states, subject to UN security requirements and as the security situation allows, in order to provide strategic policy advice on the political process, reconciliation, peacebuilding, state-building and security sector reform.

The draft resolution also includes some new language contextualising UNSOM’s work in light of recent developments. It requests that the mission provide strategic advice in support of a comprehensive approach to security in line with the Security Pact and New Partnership for Somalia, in order to support their implementation. Both documents were adopted at the 11 May London Conference on Somalia. In the Security Pact, Somalia’s leaders committed to taking a lead on providing security, while the international community acknowledged the need to commit more support, including through better-coordinated mentoring, training and capacity-building of police and military forces. In the New Partnership for Somalia, states recommitted to working together and holding each other accountable in order to deliver the vital support and reforms that Somalia needs over the next four years.

The draft in blue further requests that UNSOM, along with international partners, support the Federal Government of Somalia to implement Somalia’s National Strategy and Action Plan for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism in order to strengthen Somalia’s capacity to prevent and counter terrorism.

Recalling the conclusions of the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict (S/AC.51/2017/2), the draft resolution includes new language, proposed by Sweden, which strongly condemns all violations and abuses committed against children in armed conflict in Somalia, calls on the Federal Government of Somalia to implement fully the Convention of the Rights of the Child of 1989 and the Action Plans signed in 2012, and underscores the need to strengthen the legal and operational framework for the protection of children, including by ratification of or accession to its optional protocols.

The straightforward nature of the negotiations reflects the widespread support among Council members for Somalia’s state-building efforts and the work of UNSOM. This has also been demonstrated by unified messages conveyed during the Council’s visit to Somalia in May 2016 and the uncontentious adoption of several recent outcomes on Somalia.