Somalia conference opens with appeal for aid drive

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Somalia conference opens with appeal for aid drive

Postby TheblueNwhite » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:29 am

Somalia needs a global reconstruction effort to back up ongoing stabilisation efforts and stop the Horn of Africa's 20-year descent into chaos, leaders said at the start of a meeting in Turkey.

Representatives from 54 countries gathered in Istanbul to find a path towards a better future for the country for which the term "failed state" was coined two decades ago.

"After a long period of instability and conflict, we now have ahead of us an opportunity for genuine peace and security," Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said at the opening of the Second Istanbul Conference on Somalia.

The capital Mogadishu -- where pro-government forces have largely driven out Islamist insurgents -- was now open for business, he said as he called for a broad international reconstruction effort.

The two-day conference -- which follows a London meeting in February --kicked off with discussions among senior officials, experts and businessmen on four key issues: water, energy, roads and sustainability.

On Friday, the conference will turn its attention to the political dimension of aid to Somalia, with the participation of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

"Somalia's future is in the hands of Somalia," Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali told the conference.

The country was ready for long-term development, he said, urging "multiple donors to set up a trust fund for Somalia."

One major objective of the conference will be to outline the future of Somalia by setting goals for 2015, according to the Turkish foreign ministry.

The mandate of Somalia's transitional institutions is to expire in August and the current administration is racing against time to reclaim control of the territory before it dissolves.

Lawmakers have struggled to meet the targets set by a "roadmap" signed by Somalia's disparate leaders for the formation of a government by August 20 to replace the weak transitional body in Mogadishu.

Under the agreement, the latest among more than a dozen attempts to resolve the bloody civil war, lawmakers must agree on a system of government for Somalia's fragmented regional -- and often rival --administrations.

The Istanbul meeting comes as government troops backed by the AU force and anti-Islamist militia attempt to wrest control of Somalia back from the Shebab, an insurgent group that has declared its allegiance to Al Qaeda.

Forces from Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti are fighting with the AU contingent, while neighbours Kenya and Ethiopia have also sent troops across the border in a bid to flush out the Shebab.

During Somalia's devastating drought last year, Turkey launched a major diplomatic, economic and humanitarian push and become one of a very few nations to set up an embassy in the capital.

It was opened following a visit in August by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the first major non-African leader to visit the Somali capital in almost 20 years. Direct flights between Somalia and Turkey started in March.

A stream of Turkish aid workers have been sent to Mogadishu, with some even bringing their families to a city that has been dubbed the most dangerous in the world.

In his high-profile 2011 visit, Erdogan stressed that the international community's response to Somalia was a "test for civilisation and contemporary values."

Turkey has gathered 300 million dollars of funds, both from private and public initiatives, to help Somalia, a Turkish diplomat told AFP on the sidelines of the conference.

Turkey also brought into the conference 300 Somali "elders," representing all voices -- apart from the Shebab -- to discuss with the world the future of Somalia, according to the diplomat.

Somalia has had no effective central authority since the 1991 ouster of former president Mohamed Siad Barre touched off a bloody cycle of clashes between rival factions.

Since then, the country has been variously governed by ruthless warlords and militia groups in mini-fiefdoms, becoming the epitome of a failed state.
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Re: Somalia conference opens with appeal for aid drive

Postby TheblueNwhite » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:36 am

Only Somali formulas can solve Somalia’s problems
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Re: Somalia conference opens with appeal for aid drive

Postby TheblueNwhite » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:37 am

Turkish Deputy PM Calls for New UN Mission in Somalia

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag on Thursday urged the United Nations to establish a new mission in Somalia.

"It is high time to bring about a new and stronger United Nations mission in Somalia. And for starters, the UN can initiate immediately a strategic review of its activities in the country," Bozgad told the second edition of the Istanbul Conference on Somalia on "Preparing a Future for Somalia: Targets for 2015."

Bozdag said a comprehensive strategy was needed to help Somalia to increase capacity for resilience that included multi-sector investments in development, infrastructure projects, political reconciliation and boosted security.

"Turkey's policy toward Somalia incorporates these dimensions and it argues for a simultaneous handling and solution of all problematic aspects. Only such a multi-dimensional strategy can produce lasting solutions in Somalia," Bozdag said.

Bozdag said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Somalia last year raised a fresh international awareness, adding that the opening of Turkish embassy in Mogadishu and direct flights by the Turkish Airlines to the Somali capital had made major contribution to help the country "integrate with the international community."

Bozdag said achieving security, political stability and unity through dialogue and reconciliation as well as food security, economic development, end of piracy, and providing health and education services constituted the biggest challenges Somalia faced, which he said could only be solved by effective and strong state mechanisms.

"Somali people and the Somali diaspora should be able to produce solutions on their own in line with their culture, history and their facts," Bozdag added.

"And all the members of the international community have an obligation to keep light of hope alive in Somalia which was kindled for the first time in 20 years," he said.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Anadolu Agency
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Re: Somalia conference opens with appeal for aid drive

Postby TheblueNwhite » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:41 am

Opening of the Istanbul conference II on Somalia.

UN Special Representative for Somalia, Dr Augustine Mahiga

Your Excellency Prime Minister, Your Excellency Deputy Prime Minister, Ambassadors, and distinguished guests.

We last met in this timeless and beautiful city for the first Istanbul Conference on Somalia. We are delighted to return for this important second Istanbul Conference. I would like to thank the Turkish Government for once again hosting us and for its continuing commitment to Somalia and the Somali people.

We are here to renew our commitment and support to the people of Somalia. Today at this unique gathering with the Somali and international private sector, donors, Somali authorities, the UN and civil society we aim to promote a step change in development across Somalia.

Alongside the focus of Istanbul II on recovery and development, we are supporting Somalis to end the political transition. We welcome the achievements of the Transitional Federal Institutions to date and regional administrations in establishing areas of stability in Somalia and the agreements reached in the Consultative meeting in Addis Ababa on 23rd May 2012. These achievements will be discussed tomorrow.

Together with partners, the UN is working to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to the Somali people. With a strong concerted effort, including from our Turkish hosts, Somalia has just emerged from the worst humanitarian crisis in decades. The Somali people have shown how remarkably resilient they are but we have also witnessed how easily shocks can disrupt the lives and livelihoods of even the strongest Somali families and communities.

The four Partnership Forums being held today will set priorities for resilience, energy, water and roads. Once identified, these priorities will have to be implemented. Structured public-private dialogue will be needed to underpin the development of viable regulatory frameworks.

Somali people need sustained long term investments. A paradigm shift in international assistance will allow partners of Somalia build the resilience of Somali households, communities and local institutions against crises in the 2

medium and long-term. This will take real partnerships, strategic vision and integrated multi-sectoral approaches and reliable multi-year funding.
To move onto a new development trajectory, we need to invest in Somalia’s considerable potential in both productive and service sectors. The three Partnership Forums on infrastructure will consider energy, water and roads.
Expanding access to cheaper and sustainable energy is a top priority for Somalia and its partners. Improved access to affordable energy will lift the constraints on economic growth and allow the Somali private sector to expand and flourish.

Efficient use of Somali’s scarce water is essential for the well-being and economic development of the population. Coordinated funding that supports common goals should be agreed.
Investment in the right roads can deliver employment, enable equitable development and bolster the much needed investment in resilience.

Across all the four themes, good governance principles to promote a business conducive environment should be applied by the authorities, the development partners and the private sector. Transparency and accountability by all stakeholders will help build the confidence that large scale investments will translate quickly to improvements in the lives of ordinary Somalis.

The preparations for this second Istanbul conference have been comprehensive. The first Istanbul conference two years ago encouraged the Somali private sector to play a positive role in strengthening peace, stability and development and create business friendly conditions. We continue to seek to foster inclusive business practices which can support the recovery and sustained economic development and will explore innovative approaches – such as investment guarantees and diaspora finance – that can expand the range and scope of private investment in Somalia.

In 2011, the Dubai initiative explored opportunities for investments and the need for suitable regulatory frameworks. A series of Mogadishu technical meetings have tried to translate these efforts into concrete proposals to strengthen and scale up existing Somali capacity in key productive and service sectors such livestock, fisheries, infrastructure, energy and banking. 3

The London Conference in February injected new momentum into the political process; into strengthening AMISOM and helping Somalia develop its own security forces; through helping build stability at local level.
Whilst there have been some substantive achievements in all areas, there is still significant way to go towards equitable economic growth and national stability. Commitments and concrete actions need to be revitalized both from the Somali and the international side.

Istanbul II represents an ideal and powerful occasion in which a renewed international and Somali commitment launch Somalia onto a new development trajectory. The UN stands ready to support the recommendations each Partnership Forum will make today. We are fully confident that the Turkish facilitation will greatly reward the high expectations of the participants.
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Re: Somalia conference opens with appeal for aid drive

Postby TheblueNwhite » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:31 pm

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Re: Somalia conference opens with appeal for aid drive

Postby TheblueNwhite » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:45 pm

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (third from left) and Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser (second from left), President of the sixty-sixth session of the General Assembly, meet with Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed (centre), President of the Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic, in Mogadishu, Somalia (file photo). UN/M. Garten

1 June 2012 –
The end of the transition period in Somalia and the adoption of a new provisional constitution represent an “historic starting point” for the East African country, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, calling on the international community to provide support to the State in its next political phase.

“My message to this conference and the world is this: Commit to long-term assistance for Somalia,” Mr. Ban said in his remarks at the second Istanbul Conference on Somalia, adding that financial resources as well as engagement with the country are essential to help it tackle some of its major challenges, including terrorism, piracy and drought.

Known as Istanbul II, the two-day conference brings together the private sector, donors, Somali authorities, the UN – including the President of the General Assembly, Abdulaziz Al-Nasser – and civil society to focus on the country's recovery and development as well as support for Somalia’s political transition.

After decades of warfare, the Horn of Africa country is undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with its Transitional Federal Institutions currently implementing a roadmap, devised in September last year, that spells out priority measures to be carried out before the current transitional governing arrangements end on 20 August.

Next month, the country will adopt a new provisional constitution and members of parliament will be selected by Somalia’s elders, with assistance from a so-called Technical Selection Committee, to ensure that the nominees meet the criteria set out in an earlier agreement.

“The end of the transition marks the beginning of a new phase in the political process,” Mr. Ban said. “A new phase of inclusive dialogue where all Somali voices should be heard […].”

The Secretary-General praised the country’s leaders for their commitment to ensuring that women hold 30 per cent of all seats in the new institutions, and stressed that the new constitution must reflect international human rights standards.

“In the transition toward a better future of Somalia it is crucially important to ensure that women’s rightful place be established in their society,” he said.

In addition, Mr. Ban emphasized that the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and its successor will have to earn the population’s trust and quickly start delivering security and basic services to avoid a power vacuum that could be exploited by warlords in the country.

The UN chief reiterated the UN’s support to help Somalia establish its own security and justice institutions that can consolidate progress in the long-term, and underscored the need to build the country’s capacity to uphold the law and fight impunity.

“Success in building the security sector and rule of law now and in the future demands far greater engagement from both the Somalis and the international community,” Mr. Ban said. “I urge donors to contribute to this critical effort. In the face of terrorism, piracy and drought, Somalia needs solidarity.”

In his remarks to Istanbul II, General Assembly President Al-Nasser acknowledged the progress made in Somalia’s peace and reconciliation process, emphasizing that much remained to be done before the end of the country’s transition process.

“We still face many challenges – there are continued, widespread grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, especially against the most vulnerable,” Mr. Al-Nasser said. “I would also note that targeting, obstructing or preventing the delivery of humanitarian aid, and any attack on humanitarian personnel, is unacceptable.”

He also flagged the problem of piracy off Somalia’s coastline, and stressed that although there have been signs of improvement on the humanitarian front, that improvement “can only be sustained by continuing the current level of assistance."

In addition, the Assembly President reiterated that the safety and security of peacekeeping personnel – civilian and uniformed – must be a top priority for all involved.

Until last year, most of the Somali capital of Mogadishu was, for several years, riven by a fluid frontline dividing the two sides – fighters belonging to the Al Shabaab movement and troops belonging to the TFG, with the latter supported by the peacekeeping forces of the UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Since the Al Shabaab withdrawal from the capital’s central parts in August 2011, the frontlines were pushed back to the city’s surrounding area.

However, the use of roadside bombs, grenades and suicide bombers is still a regular occurrence, and outbreaks of fighting still take place; and the capital is home to more than 180,000 displaced people in need of humanitarian assistance.

In December 2011, Secretary-General Ban and President Al-Nasser paid a surprise visit to Mogadishu to express the solidarity of the United Nations with the people of Somalia – the first time that a Secretary-General and an Assembly President visited the country together, and the first by a UN chief in nearly two decades.

While on the ground, the two men met with President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and other leaders to discuss the way ahead and how the international community can help the country, which has been torn by factional strife for the past 20 years.

In his closing remarks at the end of the conference on Friday, the Secretary-General thanked all of the countries represented which pledged their support for Somalia’s peace and reconciliation process, noting that the international community has a responsibility to help Somalia achieve its goals.

“I leave you with a simple message: keep your word. Speeches are only useful if they are matched by actions,” he told the gathering. “Pledges are empty if they are not backed by funds."

"Promises are meaningless if they are not kept – let us give great meaning to this Istanbul II Conference by working for our vision of a peaceful and prosperous Somalia,” he added. community can help the country, which has been torn by factional strife for the past 20 years.
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