At a briefing for ambassadors in New York, Catriona Laing, the UN Special Representative for Somalia, characterized the nation as being at a pivotal point.
In 2017, there was a significant rise in civilian deaths, which continued last year. Regrettably, initial data suggests a similar pattern in 2023, with a total of 1,289 civilian casualties reported thus far.
The effort to combat Al-Shabaab in central Somalia encountered challenges, but the national army and allied clan militias successfully regained control of a considerable amount of land at first.
Ms. Laing stated that Al-Shabaab has been using more 107mm rockets, especially in Mogadishu, in response to their own difficulties. Additionally, the group has carried out strategic assaults on prominent Somali political figures.
The topic of Women, Peace and Security focuses on the importance of including women in conflict resolution and peace building efforts. It recognizes the critical role that women play in promoting and maintaining peaceful societies.
The Special Representative, who leads the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), emphasized the importance of working together with the Government through a joint program focused on women’s participation in promoting peace.
Some actions that could be taken to promote peace and gender equality are empowering women to be involved in peace negotiations, providing training to increase the representation of women in government, and improving laws to address sexual violence.
Ms. Laing stated that she recently had the opportunity to meet with brave female leaders from Somalia. During the meeting, she learned about their groundbreaking efforts to promote women’s involvement in important areas such as politics and addressing climate change.
The current state of affairs in the nation continues to be a source of great concern, as approximately four million individuals are experiencing food insecurity and around 1.2 million have been forced to leave their homes, according to the UN representative.
The conditions could worsen as a result of increased Deyr rainfall and the impact of El Niño, resulting in floods that may force hundreds of thousands more people into a state of food insecurity.
Ms. Laing emphasized the importance of addressing the underlying issues of the crisis and incorporating climate adaptation. She also urged for the allocation of resources towards the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, which is currently facing significant lack of funding.
The Special Representative also acknowledged advancements in Somalia’s efforts to achieve the completion point of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) by December. This progress was highlighted by the recent passing of the national Audit Bill.
The Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program, a joint effort by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), aims to assist less affluent nations in handling their debt obligations and allocating adequate funds for essential services and progress.