I thank SRSG Swan and SRCC Madeira for their insightful briefings. I also thank Ambassador Skoog for sharing the perspectives of the European Union.
Let me highlight some key issues:
First, despite recent progress in the electoral process, we are concerned about its slow pace and the threats to its credibility. We also condemn Al Shabab’s attacks and threats against election workers and candidates. The economic reform program agreed with the IMF will be severely off track unless a new government is formed early this year. If so, international development finance to Somalia, including from the World Bank, could be reduced significantly. This will have a detrimental effect on efforts to build peace, stability, and development in Somalia.
Norway strongly supports the work of Somali women’s political rights activists to advocate for the 30% women’s quota. And we are concerned that the Lower House elections thus far fall short of 2016 results. We strongly urge those responsible- at all levels- to redouble their efforts in the final stage of the electoral process. Once elected, women parliamentarians need to be empowered and supported.
Second, the protection situation is deeply worrying. Al Shabaab remains the largest perpetrator of civilian causalities. However, state forces are responsible for several civilian casualties. We urge the Somali authorities to investigate and prosecute sexual violence and grave violations against children in line with previous commitments.
Third, as noted in the Secretary General’s report, the current drought represents a grave threat to large parts of the Somali population. Climate shocks and conflict have displaced 2,9 million people, facing significant protection risks. Addressing droughts and other climate-related security risks, will require durable and sustainable interventions across the humanitarian-development-peacebuilding nexus, combined with long term stabilization and development.
Fourth, the security situation remains of great concern. We note the delays in implementing the Somali Transition Plan. Efforts towards security sector reform must intensify after the elections. Building and supporting accountable local government and their ability to deliver basic services to the population, is key to achieving justice and security in Somalia. It prevents governance vacuums that could be filled by Al Shabaab.
In close coordination with authorities at federal and district levels, Norway has for almost a decade supported practical stabilization efforts throughout Somalia.
We believe these efforts contribute to security, reconciliation, and economic development, and that stabilization efforts should be given higher priority, be well resourced, coordinated and aligned with realities on the ground.
Finally, we welcome progress towards a reconfigured AMISOM in the recent discussions between the AU Commission and the Federal Government of Somalia and look forward to the joint UN-AU proposal.