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Opening Remarks by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay High-Level Partnership Forum-Somali Development & Reconstruction Facility Steering Committee

Storyline:National News

Your Excellency Mr President, the co-chair, Your Excellency Mr Prime Minister, Honourable Ministers, Members of Parliament, distinguished representatives from the Puntland, the Interim Jubba Administration, Benadir, Galmadug and civil society.

I want to add my welcome to all our partners, Somali and international.

I am particularly pleased to see high level representatives from Puntland and the Interim Jubba Administration, and I welcome their commitment to participate in the Copenhagen High-Level Partnership Forum.

Overall Somalia, I still maintain, is moving in the right direction. Whatever the difficulties we face today, and the President and Prime Minister have alluded to them, Somalia is in a better state today as a result of our collective efforts than it has been in a generation, and we should not lose sight of that.

This progress has been the result of partnership.  

Partnership between Somalis and the international community. The joint SNA-AMISOM offensive has successfully created space for political and economic progress. International economic investment is significant and growing. And the work of the Financial Governance Committee is crucial in improving public financial management and building donor confidence.

But the most important partnership has been between the Somalis. The Somali-led state formation process has delivered concrete results. I hope that we will soon be able to welcome the Interim South West Administration and an Interim Central Regions Administration. These and other Somali-led successes have been the result of a partnership between His Excellency the President and Prime Minister. For almost a year, their collective leadership has given Somalis and international partners faith and confidence in the Federal Government and in Somalia’s political future.

But we stand at a watershed moment. As we look forward to Copenhagen we need unity, stability and delivery. The cycle of political instability and bureaucratic paralysis that plagued previous administrations should not continue.  It risks undermining the progress achieved by our collective efforts and by the SNA and AMISOM.  And it endangers the achievement of Vision 2016, which is the centre-piece of the entire “New Deal” Compact process.

We all need to do better.  Whether we talk about political stability or economic development, what we shall achieve depends on what we put in.  The Compact remains the best framework to do this.  International partners need to live up to the partnership principles, and their commitments in the Compact.  But we also need to recognise that this is less likely to happen in a politically unstable environment.  

On behalf of the UN and many international partners in this room today, I appeal to the political leadership of this country to find a way to manage their differences. These are not normal times. They call for extraordinary measures. The next six months will determine whether Somalia achieves its goals in Vision 2016. The key state-building laws, commissions and processes need to be established. This is make or break. There is no time to lose.

I therefore appeal to the President and Prime Minister to commit to working jointly on these challenges, in a structured and formal political “joint venture”. This is not a time for dogmatic interpretation of texts. This is a time to rise above differences and unite in a common enterprise. Both political realities and constitutional niceties need to be recognised. I appeal to you to agree special measures to govern your relations and working practices, which will allow delivery of key tasks in the coming six months: the tasks that you have both referred to and elaborated on, a long list of Commissions and laws. By that time the National Independent Election Commission will be up and running and planning for elections will be on course; the Boundaries and Federation Commission will be operating and future federal member states being established; the national consultation on the Constitution will be underway and the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission well and truly functioning. In short the foundation stones will be laid for the future Somalia, the Somalia of 2016 and beyond. This is the challenge to be met. Failure now will be a failure in the eyes of the world and, more importantly, a shattering of the hopes and dreams of millions of Somalis.

We have a tough road ahead of us.  But the fact that we have come so far by working together should inspire us to go further.  We have a collective responsibility to stay the course for the sake of Somalia’s future and for regional and international security and stability.  I hope today that we will make concrete progress in preparation for the Copenhagen High Level Partnership Forum.  Unity, stability and delivery should be our watchwords. We should demonstrate today the spirit of partnership and commitment to the common interest that will, I hope, see Somalia through this current difficult moment.

We have only a week to decide whether Copenhagen will be a moment of profound and sad reflection, or a celebration of difficulties overcome.  As the President and the Prime Minister have said, this will be a Somali-owned choice.