Somalia:Goodbye UNPOS in new UNSOM


Somalilandsun – The UN Security Council passed a

unanimous resolution 2102 (2013) establishing the United Nations Assistance Mission inSomalia (UNSOM).

The new mission will replace the UnitedNations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) which will complete its mandate on 3 June 2013.

What is UNSOM’s role?

UNSOM’s core role will be to act as an enabler, helping to create and galvanize the political and strategic environment in which stabilization and peacebuilding can proceed, including by leveraging other parts of the UN system and international partners. UNSOM will support the Federal Government of Somalia’s agenda of peace, security and nation-building and will help move the country forward towards free and fair elections in four years time. It will exercise its mandate guided by the principles of Somali ownership, flexibility, collaboration and partnerships. In close cooperation with key partners such as the African Union and the InterGovernmental Authority for Development, it will also fulfill the Government’s wish for “a single UN door to knock on” and be guided by the President’s Six Pillar Policy and the Busan Principles for Aid Effectiveness.

What is the mandate of UNSOM?

UNSOM’s mandate is: provision of policy advice to the Federal Government and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on peacebuilding and state-building in the areas of: governance, security sector reform and rule of law (including the disengagement of combatants), development of a federal system (including preparations for elections in 2016), and coordination of international donor support.

UNSOM will also help build the Federal Government’s capacity to promote respect for human rights and women’s empowerment, promote child protection, prevent conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, and strengthen justice institutions. Further, it will monitor, help investigate and report to the Council on any abuses or violations of human rights or of international humanitarian law committed in Somalia, or any abuses committed against children or women.

What are the areas of focus for UNSOM?

The mission will have four key areas of focus:

a) Good offices: support reconciliation efforts, assist with mediation and facilitation in support of the Government to deliver core political tasks, such as the development of a federal system, the constitutional review process and subsequent referendum on the constitution; and preparations for elections in 2016;

b) Rule of law and security sector: support to the Government’s priority objectives of transforming and building Somalia’s security and justice institutions by providing technical advice and align

security sector reform, rule of law (including police, justice and corrections), disengagement of combatants, disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, maritime security and mine action;

c) Human rights: promote awareness and respect for human rights with a focus to women’s empowerment, child protection and prevention of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence; strengthen Somalia’s justice and human rights institutions; monitor, investigate, prevent and report on any abuses or violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed in Somalia; support the Government to review, develop, implement necessary legislation in compliance with international human rights standards.



d) Coordination of international assistance: support the Government’s efforts to coordinate donor support, in particular on security sector assistance and maritime security, stability and recovery, public finance management and capacity development, working with bilateral and multilateral partners through the New Deal framework.

Who is the head of UNSOM?

On 29 April 2013, the Secretary-General appointed Mr. Nicholas Kay, (UK) an experienced diplomat with extensive African experience as his Special Representative for Somalia and head of UNSOM. Mr. Kay will lead the alignment of UN country team activities with the priorities of UNSOM and coordinate UN activities with the Federal Government, as well as the African Union, AMISOM, IGAD, European Union and other regional, bilateral and multilateral partners. Mr. Kay succeeds Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga, a Tanzanian diplomat, who has served as Special Representative for Somalia for the last three years and will complete his assignment on 3 June 2013.

Where is UNSOM based?

UNSOM’s headquarters will be in Mogadishu with offices deployed across Somalia as requested by the Federal Government and as security conditions permit. The mission will establish a presence in Mogadishu, Hargeisa and Garowe during its initial phase while a presence will be established in Baidoa and Beletweyne taking into account security and logistical conditions.

When will UNSOM be launched and how long will it be in place?

The Security Council established UNSOM on 3 June 2013 for an initial period of 12 months. The Secretary-General will keep the Council informed of the implementation of UNSOM’s mandate, including steps to ensure the presence of a structurally integrated mission by January 2014. The first report will be delivered by 2 September 2013 and every 90 days thereafter. The Security Council will review UNSOM’s mandate by 30 April 2014.

Is UNSOM a peacekeeping mission?

UNSOM is a political mission led by the Department of Political Affairs within the UN Secretariat. However, the UN will look to develop benchmarks for a possible future deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission, in line with relevant UN Security Resolutions. The main goal remains for Somalis to provide security to their people, without outside assistance, AMISOM remains a critical part of these efforts.

What is the role of UNSOM vis-à-vis AMISOM?

The UN Security Council in its resolution 2093 (2013) emphasized the need for the United Nations to work in a coordinated manner with AMISOM. UNSOM will strengthen the strategic partnership between the UN and the African Union/AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Both organizations have a role to play in supporting Somalia’s peacebuilding. As soon as UNSOM is established, the two organizations will work on parameters for practical partnership on the ground.

What is the role of UNSOM vis-à-vis the UN agencies?

On 1 January 2014, the post of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator will be established and structurally integrated into UNSOM. All relevant UNITED NATIONS ASSISTANCE MISSION IN SOMALIA (UNSOM)


activities of the UN Country Team will then be fully coordinated with UNSOM in order to ensure that we operate as One UN in delivering assistance to Somalia. Following integration, it will remain an imperative to ensure humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence of humanitarian assistance. UNSOM will also work closely with the UN Country Team and development partners to promote coordination of stabilization and recovery efforts in the newly recovered areas; maritime security issues; economic drivers of conflict and capacity development. UNSOM will rely on UN Country Team to bring programmatic support to its political and strategic advice, while ensuring that humanitarian space is protected.

What is the role of UNSOM vis-à-vis UNSOA?

On 3 June 2013, UNSOA will be integrated within the framework of UNSOM. The Director of UNSOA will report to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on logistical support to UNSOM and on policy or political questions arising while s/he will continue to report to the Department of Field Support on the delivery of the AMISOM logistical support package.

Why is UNPOS being dissolved?

The end of the Transitional period in Somalia ushered in a new political era in Somalia. Established in 1995, the role of UNPOS was to provide good offices and mediation support leading up to the establishment of legitimate government in Mogadishu. When the new President was sworn in ending the Transitional Period, the work of the Political Office came to an end.

The Security Council agreed (UNSCR 2093, 6 March 2013) with the recommendation of the Secretary-General that UNPOS has fulfilled its mandate and that it should be dissolved and replaced by a new expanded political mission as soon as possible. The Secretary-General’s recommendation came after a comprehensive UN Strategic Review where all interlocutors urged the UN to step up its presence in Somalia to consolidate security gains and invest in the country’s future through comprehensive support to Somali-owned peacebuilding.

Why is UNSOM different from UNPOS?

UNPOS’ key role was providing good offices, promoting political dialogue and facilitating the establishment of a legitimate, broad-based and representative government. In concert with this responsibility, UNPOS was instrumental in assisting both the Transitional and Federal Government of Somalia with strategic advice, aid coordination, training and capacity development of the nascent Somali security sector institutions. After the Presidential elections in September 2012, Somalia entered a new political era with its first legitimate and transparently selected government since 1990. The mission will continue to be led by the UN Department of Political Affairs in New York but it will provide a framework for a holistic but more targeted UN engagement capable of directly supporting the fragile institutions of the new Somali state and facilitating the democratization process, including the adoption of Somalia’s draft Constitution and free and fair national elections in four years time.

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