2017 London Partnership Represents Somalia’s Master Plan


After 12 years of sluggish transitions, from 2000 to 2012, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) was unusually granted the status of permanent government to join the g7+ group of fragile countries encouraged to implement the New Deal for International Engagement in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries.

As of this year. 20 countries are members of the g7+ group. These countries share the fragility situations which indicate the inability of their governments to provide vital services to the majority of their citizens and to have effective control over their territories.

A Compact between each fragile country and the International Development Partners (DP) is the instrument used for the implementation of the New Deal based on five Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Goals (PSGs), and ten FOCUS and TRUST principles.

The first Somali Compact of three years (2014-2016) covering all Somalia, including Somaliland, was announced at Brussels, Belgium on September 16, 2013. Its overarching objective was to create “a new beginning for a sovereign, secure, democratic, united and federal Somalia at peace with itself and the world, and for the benefit of its people.”

The 58 milestones identified for accomplishing that objective were detailed in annex 1 of the Compact under the title, “Results Matrix of Somali Peace and Statebuilding Goals from 2014-2016.”

Furthermore, the International Community crafted “Vision 2016: Framework for Action” to keep the focus of the Somali leaders on three principal tasks: Constitutional Review and implementation; Completion of the Federal System; and Democratization (2016 free and fair multiparty political election). Under each principal task, there were multiple sub tasks.

The negative fallout from the mismanagement of the implementation of these tasks constitutes serious setbacks on the political, security, and economic development of the country.

In April 2017, month before London Somalia Conference on May 11, the UK based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) published an “An Independent Review of the Somali Compact 2014-2016.” Beyond the review of the Compact, the report strongly emphasized the necessity for new Compact. It also highlighted the advantages of new Compact over the 2017-2019 National Development Plan (NDP).

From the outset, the report notes that the FGS of President Hassan Sheikh had the opportunity to draw on 10 years of experiences from Compacts in other post conflict countries but unfortunately it did not avail.

This challenges the claim made in the NDP which says, “For nearly three years, Somalia became the only country in the world to have fully implemented the new deal program.”

The major reason mentioned for the failures of the Compact was the absence of many ingredients needed for its success. The Private sector and civil society actors, major stakeholders of the Compact were denied real participation for contribution and accountability.

The Somali leaders deliberately ignored the reality that Somalia did not have and still does not have almost all the nine indicators for successful Compact in fragile states.

Some of the nine indicators are: (1) reliable fragility assessment of the country to develop a context fitting Compact; (2) country owned and country led plan dependent on comprehensive political settlement and basic security; (3) satisfactory level of national capacity to manage and implement the Compact; (4) good understanding and support of the Compact by the executive and legislative leaders and by other Somali stakeholders; (5) country institutions that can attract the confidence of the DP in managing donor aid as envisaged in the New Deal. The initial target was to channel 15% of the international funds through country institutions.

In assessing the NDP, the ODI report argues that “[The NDP] has not yet sought to identify which priorities across all the sectors, could be afforded over the next few years.” It also points out the lack of synergy between the NDP and several strategy sectors –Education, Health, Security Plans (Police, Military, and NSS), Humanitarian Response Strategy, Wadajr Framework, IMF Staff Monitoring Program (SMP), the Security and Justice Sector Public Expenditure Review (SJS-PER), the World Bank Somali Economic Update, and National Strategy and Action plan for Preventing and Countering violent extremism (P/CVE).

The advantage of the Compact over the NDP is that the Compact emphasizes the interdependence between the “high priority interventions” in the political, security, and development areas agreed by the Somali Government and the International community. The donors’ financial assistance – the lifeline of the Somali State- supports the Compact policy programs.

London Somalia conference on May 11, 2017 issued New Partnership for Somalia (NPS) underpinned by Security Pact (SP), Diaspora and Civil Society Contribution, and Public-Private Cooperation Agreement. All these documents contain political statements, goals, principles, priorities, commitments, and frameworks for mutual accountability between Somalia (excluding Somaliland) and DP. They represent the master plan (roadmap) for the FGS in the next 4 years.

Table 2 of the NPS lists the shared themes: Political settlement; Security; Rule of law and human rights; Rights of women and girls; Youth empowerment; Financial and economic management; Growth, economic recovery, and resilience; Inclusions and regulation. Each theme has shared goals and objectives. The oversight responsibility for the implementation of NPS is vested in the office of the Prime Minister. The roles of the President and Federal Parliament are not clear.

The Somali leaders are reminded the indispensable adherence to the rule of law, to sound, transparent and accountable management of the public finance, and to professional security forces for creating sovereign, legitimate, prosperous and stable state of Somalia. Presently, African Union forces (AMISOM) are responsible for the security of the FGS. The handover of the security responsibilities to the Somali security institutions and forces is condition based decision accepted by the UN Security Council.

While the Federal Government has to deal with many governance issues, it is critical that it addresses systematically, effectively and efficiently the complex issues of implementation management of the NPS. The Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Somalia (UNSOM), issued public information popularizing the outcomes of May 2017 London Conference on Somalia by answering 9 questions.

The answer related to the Comprehensive Approach to Security (CAS) reveals the following three milestones and respective timelines:
2017-2018: Political agreements and strengthening links between the FGS and Federal Member States (FMSs).

2018-2021 Securing Somalia’s people as they vote in full election.
By 2027: Sustainable and reformed Somalis Security Institutions financed by domestic resources.
The SP pre-approved the Somali National Security Architecture Agreement recently submitted to the Federal Parliament for legislation.

The agreement approved in April 2017 by the Somali National Security Council revolutionizes the security institutions and forces and decrees their federalization while the embryonic territorial or political federation remains on shaky ground. The relation between the federal government and the Presidents of the Federal Member States is based on “Separate but federal Paradigm.” The provisional constitution has been teared up. Somalia cannot be modelled on the experiences of Bosnia Herzegovina or Iraq.

The relevant structures of the NPS and SP are High Level Partnership Forum (HLPF), the Security Conference, the National Security Council, the Somali Development and Reconstruction Facility (SDRF), the Financial Governance Committee (FGC) and CAS Executive Group, and International Security Advisory Team (ISAT). The working arrangement between international partners and government institutions poses serious challenges to building national institutions.

The NPS has far reaching impact on the governance structures and decision making process of the FGS described in the provisional constitution. Therefore, it is imperative that the Somali leaders dedicate time, energy, and resources to understanding the nuts and bolts of the NPS in order to avoid the disastrous legacy of the first Compact.

To minimize the disabling process against the strengthening of the country system of governance, Somalia needs integrated national public administration that is able to respond to the burdensome work of statebuiling process with the support of the international community.

The adoption of permanent constitution consolidates national political settlement that creates bonds between state and society and is the steppingstone for the emergence of effective Somali State. Peaceful, free and fair one person and vote political election in 2020 is one of the yardsticks for the success of the NPS.

The extremely abusive and corrupt experience of 2016 electoral process heralds violent election in 2020. Change of past political culture of corruption, disregard of the rule of law and good governance, is crucial for long term stability and accelerated progress in Somalia.

Mr. Mohamud M Uluso