Mogadishu, 26 June 2019 – Top officials of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the representatives of Somalia’s civil society have agreed to work together to enable the peacekeeping mission achieve its key objectives under the renewed mandate.
The agreement was reached during day-long discussions, which took place in the Somali capital, yesterday.
The meeting, attended by senior officials of the civilian, military and police components, took the civil society representative through AMISOM’s renewed mandate, which was adopted by the United Nations Security Council late last month.
“The civil society are the representatives of the people, the eyes and ears of the Somali people; therefore, there is need to have a structured formal engagement with the civil society,” said AMISOM’s Head of Protection, Human Rights and Gender Unit, Kareem Adebayo.
Under the new UN Security Resolution 2472/2019, AMISOM is required to drawdown its troops by 1,000 by February 2020, conduct gradual handover to Somali security forces, secure main supply routes, reduce the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and conduct targeted offensive operations that support the transition plan, among other deliverables.
Mr. Adebayo said AMISOM will maintain close working relations with Somalia’s civil society by organising monthly technical meetings as well as quarterly strategic consultations which will involve senior officials of the Mission.
“We will use meetings like these ones to identify specific thematic issues that arise from activities in Somalia and see how we can use the civil society organisations to bridge gaps that arise,” he added.
The civil society is a key player in peacebuilding in the country and AMISOM plans to work closely with local non-governmental organisations in implementing key activities and programmes under the Somalia Transition Plan.
Speaking at the same function, Acting AMISOM Police Commissioner, Rex Dundun, said there was need for synergy between AMISOM and civil society organisations for the benefit of the people of Somalia who yearn for lasting peace and security.
His sentiments were echoed by AMISOM’s Senior Civil Affairs Officer in charge of Stabilisation and Early Recovery Programme, Dr. Opiyo Ododa, who noted that strong relations with the civil society will enable the Mission’s programmes, aimed at uplifting lives, reach the larger Somali population.
“Our intent is to work together with the civil society in Somalia in peacebuilding initiatives to enable the Mission to reach as many people as possible,” noted Dr. Ododa.
The Chairperson of Women, Education and Voicing Entrepreneurship (WEAVE), Asli Ismail Duale, said the meeting discussed issues that need to be addressed in order to strengthen the working relations between AMISOM and the civil society in Somalia.
“Without AMISOM we would not have achieved what we have today, hence it is time for AMISOM and the civil society to work together,” observed Ms. Duale.
The chairperson of the Somali Non-State Actors (SONSA), Osman Muhidin Moalim, also expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting, saying the input of the civil society is crucial, especially during the transition period and even after AMISOM exits in 2021.
“The civil society will have to play a major role in peacebuilding during the transition period and even after AMISOM exits,” said Mr. Moalim.
The engagement meeting was also attended by the AMISOM Head of Political Affairs, Babatunde Taiwo, AMISOM Police Coordinator for Operations, Ali Gwambal, and AMISOM Police, Reforms, Restructuring and Development Coordinator, Maxwell Chikunguru.
Yesterday’s meeting is a follow-on from an earlier one chaired by the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, which took place last April.