UN Security Council Open Debate on Somalia: Statement by MP Pekka Haavisto, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa and Sudan of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, New York, 5 March 2012
Honorable Chairman Mr. Henry Bellingham, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, dear participants,
The European Union has already spoken and I associate myself fully with its statement.
Finland is an active member of the International Contact Group for Somalia and we participated last week on a high level to the London conference. Finland has been actively supporting UNPOS and TFG, e.g. through supporting the training of the TFG security forces. In addition, Finland has been participating with a military vessel to anti-piracy activities on the Somalian coast. In Finland we have a big Somali diaspora, which is also seeking a peaceful solution to the crisis in Somalia in a constructive manner. We have also been supporting the process of including elders and traditional leaders to the peace dialogue.
Finland wishes to thank the UK for organizing the recently held Somalia conference in London. It was a very timely one and produced positive results:
First, it highlighted that Somalia has to be brought back to the agenda of the international community and was successful in doing so.
Secondly, due to the improved security and humanitarian situation in Somalia the overall message of London was that it is possible to work for completing the transition period by the end of August and to support reconciliation and development in relatively safe areas. An additional funding mechanism, the so called Local Stability Fund was created to facilitate actions in these fields. We believe that it can be a useful tool for countries who do not have a possibility to establish bilateral presence in Somalia but who would like to contribute to further development there. The mechanism can also be seen to be in line with the EU’s joint programming.
Thirdly, London conference also boosted Security Council’s decision on strengthening the AMISOM from 12 000 troops to nearly 18 000. This made it possible to include the Kenyan forces in AMISOM. However, additional funds will be needed and - as we heard - the EU has already announced a new contribution of 100 million euros. We hope more and new donors will join in.
Fourthly, focus on root causes of the conflict in Somalia was underlined and complementary proposals presented to intensify work on tackling piracy and terrorism.
Finland welcomes all these points and that it is possible to assist Somalia in a constructive and concrete way despite the challenges in security in many parts of the country. For Finland, it is clear that the future of Somalia is in the hands of Somalis.
We welcome the Garowe process in advancing a new constitution and parliamentary reforms. These are key building blocks for Somalia in and after the completion of the transition period. It is crucial that the Garowe principles are agreed among the Somalis. It is positive that they are supported by the UN and other partners.
The Garowe principles emphasize the role of the recognized traditional elders in the process towards a post transition parliamentary structure. The support of Finland to United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) has focused on utilizing Somali Elders and Religious Leaders as constructive contributors in furthering peace. Finland is willing to consider further support to this work.
It is positive that 30 % of the Somalis adopting provisionally the constitution should be women. Gender issues and underlining equal opportunities for all have been an essential part of Finland’s development policy for a long time.
It is obvious that both the new constitution as well as the process leading to parliamentary reforms need to be made clear to ordinary Somalis and anchored among them. Therefore, public awareness raising, education and information are called for. We ask ourselves could Somalis living in diaspora be also involved in this work. We believe that in addition to their important remittances to Somalia, the diaspora has an important role to play. The Somali diaspora in Finland supports various development activities in Somalia with complementary financing from the Finnish Government.
Gradual building up of Somalia’s own security forces is essential when rebuilding Somalia as a nation after two decades of nonfunctioning state structures. Finland has been participating in the European Union Training Mission, which trains security personnel for the TFG, since its beginning. We have made available altogether 11 trainers for the EUTM.
After the end of the transition, there will still be a great need to continue the reconciliation and peace work. The peace process has to be inclusive and all who want to build Somalia and distance themselves from terrorism should be welcomed to contribute to rebuild the nation. This opportunity should specifically be open to women and youth who often are excluded from these processes.
Finland values the UN and various countries who have established their presence and operations in Mogadishu despite the obvious security challenges. Only by operating from inside Somalia the international community can fully earn the trust of the Somali people.