Opening remarks by H.E. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General, the UN

Istanbul, 1 June 2012



I congratulate Prime Minister Erdogan for making Somalia a priority.

As he just introduced himself, he visited Mogadishu last year with his family, cabinet members and their families. It was a strong show of solidarity with the Somali people.

Turkey has an impressive track record of working with Somalis. Turkey’s diplomats are in Mogadishu. Turkey has built roads, hospitals and schools … giving hope and help.

At the time of the 2010 Istanbul Conference, Somalia was one of the world’s most intractable crises.

That meeting was a turning point. By last December, conditions improved enough for me to make the first visit by a Secretary-General in nearly two decades.

This February, at the London Conference chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron, I shared my vision for a productive and peaceful Somalia. I’d like to commend and thank the British Government for their leadership which led to the second Somalia conference in Istanbul. I called for steps to improve security … advance the political process … and boost assistance for recovery, reconstruction and development.

Today we carry this vision forward.

My message to this Conference and the world is this: Commit to long-term assistance for Somalia.

Somalis have moved to complete the Roadmap for Ending the Transition. Somali leaders have confirmed that the transition will end on August 20th.
Right now, elders from Somali clans are meeting in Mogadishu to select the Constituent Assembly. Its members – men and women – will adopt a new interim Constitution and select a new Parliament.

The provisional Constitution will be an historic starting point.

I congratulate Somali leaders for bringing their country so far. I especially applaud their groundbreaking commitment to ensure that women hold 30 per cent of all seats in the new institutions.

The end of the transition marks the beginning of a new phase in the political process … a new phase of inclusive dialogue where all Somali voices should be heard.

The Constitution will have to be finalized based on the full spectrum of views. It must reflect international human rights standards. It should be put to a referendum open to all Somalis. And all Somalis, regardless of gender, clan or political affiliation, should be able to take part in elections.

Let me emphasize again as the Secretary-General of the United Nations the importance of applying the decision for 30 per cent inclusion of women in bodies to be established to end the transition and to be enshrined in the constitution to be adopted. In the transition toward a better future of Somalia it is crucially important to ensure that women’s rightful place be established in their society.

            I pay tribute to the Somalis who are building this new future. They have the UN’s full support.

            Alongside these important steps, we are aware of the challenges.

            Last month, the Ministry for Constitutional Affairs and Reconciliation organized a conference devoted to freedom of expression. The Somali President rightly committed to ending impunity for violence against journalists.

            Just one week later, radio broadcaster Mr. Ahmed Addow Anshuur was shot to death – the sixth journalist to be killed in Somalia in just five months.

The enemies of peace want to silence brave Somalis who fight for truth.

We cannot let this happen.

Journalists must be able to work without fear. I welcome the continued commitment of Somali leaders and urge them to keep human rights at the centre of the political process. I call on the authorities to investigate such crimes, especially targeted assassinations, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

The Transitional Federal Government and its successor will have to earn the population’s trust … and quickly start delivering the security and basic services that Somalis expect and deserve.

This is especially true for areas recovered from Al Shabaab terrorists. We urgently need assistance to avoid any power vacuums that warlords might exploit.

This is more than a question of “quick wins.” Somalia needs to develop its economy over the long-term.

The international community is united. The United Nations will lead in helping to achieve peace, stability and prosperity.

Our Political Office in Mogadishu, UNPOS, lead by Special Representative Mahiga, is relocating more staff inside the country. I commend the leadership of Special Representative Mahiga and his staff for their hard work and I encourage other partners who are present here today to join us there.

            I pay tribute to the extraordinary sacrifices of the African Union, AMISOM and troop-contributing countries. I offer condolences to the families of fallen soldiers. They braved danger so that Somalia could enjoy peace.

            At the same time, we have to recognize that international forces are never a long-term solution.

Somalia needs its own strong and trustworthy security and justice institutions to consolidate progress, secure borders and protect people.

Somalia also needs to build its capacity to uphold the rule of law, and address the pervasive culture of impunity.

This will also help tackle piracy and promote stability across the entire sub-region.

That is why the United Nations will support the African Union’s work to identify specific requirements for Somali security forces operating alongside AMISOM.

Success in building the security sector and rule of law now and in the future demands far greater engagement from both the Somalis and the international community.

I urge donors to contribute to this critical effort.

            In the face of terrorism, piracy and drought, Somalia needs solidarity.

            Somalia has a private sector that can help rebuild the country. 

Somalia’s women and youth, if given the opportunity, can transform the nation.

But partners have to step up and do their part.

We need a comprehensive investment plan that involves all actors.

I ask you to consider how to contribute long-term, predictable support for Somalia.

I congratulate Somalia for embracing the Busan “New Deal” on fragile and conflict-affected States put forward last November at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, which was held in Busan, Korea. This will help focus on five key ingredients for stability: legitimate politics, justice, security, economic foundations and revenues and services.

I urge the TFG and its successor to forge a new, more effective and accountable framework for development.  The aim must be to build resilience and break the cycle of emergencies.

International cooperation is essential. Nations are working together to stop piracy in the Gulf of Aden. AMISOM proves the value of cooperation between the UN, the AU and Member States. The World Bank is engaged.  Here in this room we have partners who can join forces to make a major difference for Somalia’s future.

Today I ask all of you to make this happen – in memory of those Somalis who have died, and in service to those who deserve to live in peace and prosperity for generations to come.

Thank you for your leadership and commitment.