New York, 24 September 2014 – Somalia’s peace process is “gathering momentum” amid political progress and improving security, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today, while also warning that there was “much work still ahead” for the Horn of Africa country.
Speaking at the High-Level Meeting on Somalia, held on the margins of the General Assembly debate in New York, the Secretary-General voiced optimism that the country was on track to achieving political and national stability through the Somali Federal Government’s “Vision 2016” plan for a political transformation.
“There is no time to lose if elections are to take place in 2016,” Mr. Ban declared. “I urge all Somalia’s political institutions to keep this process on track.”
In addition to facilitating Somalia’s political transition, Mr. Ban also underscored the need for national reconciliation, stating that it remained “crucial” in the country’s ongoing recovery from conflict.
“I welcome the efforts of the emerging interim regional administrations, together with the Federal Government, to convene inclusive reconciliation conferences,” he stated, adding that “the participation of women at all levels in these processes and in Somalia’s institutions is an imperative.”
Mr. Ban acknowledged, however, that political progress would depend on “security, rule of law, and the respect of fundamental rights,” especially as operations against Al-Shabaab to recover territories seized by the militant group continue.
Moreover, the Secretary-General voiced concern about the precarious humanitarian situation in the country, stating that without more aid, much of the progress achieved so far risked being reversed.
“I remain extremely worried about the humanitarian situation. Malnutrition rates are again on the rise. If we do not increase humanitarian support, all other gains could be jeopardized,” he said.
In order to prevent a slip in Somalia’s progress, the Secretary-General unveiled a UN partnership with the World Bank on an initiative “to promote resilience and economic development in the Horn of Africa.”
“There is much work still ahead,” Mr. Ban concluded. “I appeal to the international community to continue its support to Somalia so that its people can reap the dividends of peace.”