News / Africa

UN Envoy Optimistic about Somalia

U.N. Special Representative Nicholas Kay briefing the Security Council on Somalia, Sept. 13, 2013.
U.N. Special Representative Nicholas Kay briefing the Security Council on Somalia, Sept. 13, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
The U.N. Special Representative for Somalia says the country is on the “brink of achieving great things” – but warns the situation remains precarious and success is not guaranteed. On Thursday, Nicholas Kay briefed the Security Council for the first time since he assumed the post three months ago.


The Special Representative to the Secretary-General began his briefing by answering the question that he says he hears the most: Is he optimistic about Somalia? The answer, he says, is a “resounding yes.”

“Behind the twists and turns, the crises and the standoffs, Somalia has the foundations for progress. The international community is united behind a credible, legitimate federal government. There are resources available to meet the most immediate needs. There is the political will to compromise and manage disputes without resorting to violence. And the Somali people I have met are tired of war and deprivation, fed up with brinkmanship and predatory politics.”


One of the “key tasks facing Somalia,” he said, is agreement of a final federal constitution.

“The U.N. is supporting a broad process of popular consultations, which should clarify several key areas that remain contentious. A long, hard process of consultation and negotiation lies ahead, which we shall support. On second of September, UNSOM backed the launch of a national political conference entitled Vision 2016, at which the President of Somalia restated his commitment to a new constitution and elections by 2016,” he said.

UNSOM is the U.N. Assistance Mission in Somalia.

The Somali Federal Government has just celebrated its one-year anniversary. Kay says “another key building block” for the country’s stabilization is about to be put in place. The European Union and the Somali government will host some 200 delegates Monday regarding the New Deal Compact. Kay described it as a Somali-led and Somali-owned set of priorities.

Other than politics, much of his focus has been on security. He says UNSOM’s presence in Mogadishu is “to a large extent only possible because of AMISOM” – The African Union Mission in Somalia. It has played the major role in pushing back the Qaeda-linked militant group.

“The military and security dimension of defeating al Shabab in Somalia is by no means over. The Somali national army is ready to do its part and must be properly backed. I call on the Council to ensure more priority is given to strengthening the Somali national security forces and their ability to deploy and sustain joint operations with AMISOM,” said Kay.

While Somalia is no longer called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, it still faces many challenges. Lack of access to insecure areas has led to the spread of polio. Somalia now has at least 160 confirmed cases, half the world’s total.

Kay also said despite some improvements, the food security situation remains precarious.

“For the first time in five years, the number of people in crisis is below one-million, but the number of people on the margin of food insecurity has increased to 2.3-million people. This may be further exacerbated if the lifeline of Somali diaspora remittances is cut by international banks.”

He also addressed the issue of widespread attacks on women and girls in Somalia.

“Sexual violence in Somalia is one of the most serious and urgent human rights challenges facing the government and people. The commitment of both the Somali president and the leadership of AMISOM to a policy of zero-tolerance of sexual abuse is encouraging. However, it is clear that there need to be much more robust systems of investigation and prosecution, including the protection of survivors and witnesses.”

As for piracy, it’s on the decline off the Somali coast. But Kay said the “onshore networks that have profited from it have not been dismantled.”

“Law enforcement and correction systems on land, as well as job opportunities, must be supported so that we treat the root causes of the problem. At a conference hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, a maritime strategy covering security and sustainable resource management was strongly endorsed,” he said.

International naval patrols have prevented many pirate attacks on cargo ships and oil tankers.

There are still about one-million Somali refugees in neighboring countries. However, the U.N. special representative said it is not time for a full-scale repatriation.

He said for Somali to succeed more resources are needed for U.N. staff, national security forces and AMISOM, adding that “failure in Somalia still is a risk”…a risk the world “cannot afford.”

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, US demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Optimist from: everywhere
September 14, 2013 2:10 PM
I would be very happy to know about the findings of the UN Somalia and Eritrea commission, which I believe stated Many Western Nations were involved in exporting armaments, such as UK and US amongst the list. What did the UNSC did about that? The resolution is clear, NO weapons to Somalia.

By the way, Eritrea has been accused of several times and not a shred of evidence has been discovered, as a matter of fact all the accusations turned out to be the reverse, the Eritreans never supplied weapons to Somalis warring factions, but the State Department and UK foreign ministry have been doing that. I wish to know what the UNSC will do to make sure these countries do not violate the very rules they help implement.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid