On 4 December 2017 the President of the Federal Government of Somalia, H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” convened the Somalia Security Conference in Mogadishu with representatives of the Federal Member States of Somalia and the Benadir Regional Administration. The conference was co-convened by the United Nations and African Union, and attended by 29 of Somalia’s friends and partners.
The Somalia Security Conference offered a pivotal opportunity to reflect on the progress made by the Federal Government of Somalia, the Federal Member States, and Benadir Regional Administration supported by the international community, in reforming the security sector.
Somalia continues to face a grievous threat from Al Shabaab who continue to perpetrate atrocities across Somalia. The Conference paid tribute to all those who have lost their lives as a result of these acts and expressed condolences to their families. These attacks serve as a reminder of the grave nature of the threat and of the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to security and to accelerate security sector reform in a unified, determined and comprehensive manner.
Progress since the London Conference: delivering a Comprehensive Approach to Security
Reform of the security sector has been a central priority for the Federal Government of Somalia and its partners, as set out in the landmark political agreement by Somali leaders on the National Security Architecture in April 2017, and the launch of the Security Pact at the London Somalia Conference on 11 May 2017.
The participants recognized that progress has been made possible by the continued bravery and heavy sacrifices made by the AMISOM Troop and Police Contributing Countries in the pursuit of peace, stability and development in Somalia. AMISOM’s presence remains critical in order to allow Somalia to protect the political process, build its security institutions, embed reforms, and take the necessary steps to assume responsibility for security across the country. Somalia remains committed to achieving full Somali ownership of security. All Somalia’s partners once again committed to work in a coordinated and coherent manner through the mechanisms agreed at the London Somalia Conference in order to support Somalia’s Security Sector.
Notable achievements include agreement of the implementation plan for the National Security Architecture, the integration of 2,400 Puntland troops into the SNA, and the completion of the Operational Readiness Assessments as an essential component for ‘right-sizing’ and reforming the Somalia National Army (SNA) and the Somali Police Force. Participants commended this first realistic assessment and looked forward to the assessment of regional and local forces to complete the picture and form the foundation for transition over the coming years.
Some work has been undertaken to inform planning for the transition from AMISOM to Somali security forces and institutions. Four National Security Council meetings have taken place and participants welcomed the decisions made at the National Security Council on 3 December 2017 which approved the National Security Architecture Implementation Plan, State Police Plans, and the Justice and Corrections Model.
Whilst participants welcomed progress made in the implementation of the National Security Architecture since 11 May 2017, they also underlined the challenges identified in the Operational
Readiness Assessment and the need for the Government with the support of International Partners to redouble efforts to address them.
Agreeing the next steps
The participants agreed that the three priorities for immediate action were:
1. Implementation of the National Security Architecture
The Federal Government of Somalia, the Federal Member States and the Benadir Regional Administration agreed to work closely together to accelerate agreement on the political decisions necessary to ensure full implementation of the National Security Architecture. Participants welcomed the agreement reached by the Federal Government of Somalia, Federal Member States and Benadir Regional Administration on 5 November 2017 to enhance security and improve their collaborative relations on constitutional and federal issues. Priority areas for implementation of the National Security Architecture include political agreement on implementation between the Federal Government and Federal Member States and the Benadir Regional Administration, integration of regional forces into Somali security forces and institutions, definition of roles and responsibilities of security forces under civilian oversight, and operationalization of Regional Security Councils with agreed roles and responsibilities in relation to the National Security Council.
2. Conditions based transition plan from AMISOM to Somali security forces
Participants agreed that a transition plan should be immediately developed by the Federal Government of Somalia, together with the Federal Member States and with the support of the African Union, United Nations, European Union and other international partners. They agreed that work would begin at once on a realistic, phased, conditions- based transition plan with clear target dates, drawing on the ORA results, to transfer security responsibility from AMISOM to the Somali security forces, using the existing CAS mechanism. As a first step all stakeholders would develop a process to plan for transition by 31 December 2017, with a view to completing a draft transition plan before the Joint Review of AMISOM requested by the Security Council in 2018. This will need close cooperation and partnership between the FGS and FMS, and between the Somali government and AMISOM, in order to ensure clear outcomes.
The transition plan will lay the foundations for activity over the coming months and years and will set out the strategy, priorities, milestones and conditions for transition, including on stabilization and state-building activities as well as military, police and justice plans, in order to ensure a lasting peace. These should be affordable, accountable, and acceptable forces, able to provide security across Somalia. They will require transparent and effective financial and human resources systems in place, and frameworks to ensure human rights compliance as a matter of urgency.
The Federal Government of Somalia, Federal Member States and Benadir Regional Administration committed to continue to lead the implementation of the National Stabilization Strategy to tackle the underlying drivers of conflict and set the conditions for economic growth. Civilian-led stabilization interventions will remain critical to consolidating security gains and extending the legitimacy and credibility of the authorities. All Somali’s leaders agreed to continue to initiate local solutions to prevent recruitment and radicalization to violent extremism and enable effective human rights protection, conflict resolution, including through local governance structures and civil society. They recognized the roles of youth, women and local reconciliation efforts to prevent further recruitment and radicalization and will prevent and counter violent extremism and terrorism as a durable, sustainable and long term solution.
AMISOM will continue to support the transition through the priority tasks set out in resolution 2372. These include among others, securing main supply routes, securing key population centres, to mentor and assist Somali security forces, both military and police, in close collaboration with UNSOM and in line with the National Security Architecture; further degrading Al Shabaab, and implementing the transition process. They committed to continuing joint AMISOM-SNA efforts in executing these tasks.
3. Continued international support to build the capacity of Somali security forces and institutions targeted in line with needs emerging from progress on the above priorities.
As agreed in the Security Pact based on the principle of mutual accountability, international partners reiterated their commitment to provide sustainable, political and material support to Somalia’s security reform. We agreed it was essential to support the capacity building of Somali security forces, in accordance with implementation of the National Security Architecture. We also agreed that it is crucial to put in place a realistic, phased transition plan from AMISOM to Somali security forces. They committed to ensure that assistance is distributed across the Comprehensive Approach to Security in order to embed military and police activities, tackle the underlying drivers of conflict and violent extremism and set the conditions for economic growth. International partners committed to support the transition plan through the Comprehensive Approach to Security, including by exploring options for sustainable, predictable funding for AMISOM in a spirit of burden sharing.
Participants welcomed the concerted efforts of the Federal Government of Somalia to take the lead role for security in Somalia, and to assume greater financial responsibility for its security forces, and in turn to strengthen domestic revenues and public financial management.
The next Security Conference will be held alongside the next Somali Partnership Forum in 2018 in order to assess progress and set the priorities for the next phase.