The United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative and Head of UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), Ambassador Mahiga, on Monday (December 31st) called for "uninterrupted international support" for Somalia to consolidate and advance the gains of the past year.
In his "year-end" letter to the people of Somalia and the international community, Ambassador Mahiga said "a safe, secure and prosperous Somalia at peace with itself and its neighbors seems more like a reasonable aspiration than a distant dream" for the first time in a generation. He emphasized that "the road to stabilization will not be easy".
He said that Somalia remained a state in need of support from the international community, adding that this would "need to re-invest comprehensively and generously if it is to capitalize on its massive investment of time and resources". Ambassador Mahiga noted that the peace process in Somalia, after several failed previous attempts to end the Transition, had succeeded over the past year because "the process was inclusive, transparent, legitimate, participatory and Somalia-owned".
He expressed his belief that the New Year would be "full of promise and hope" for Somalia. He noted that his office and half of its staff had relocated to Somalia during the year and was working alongside key Somali partners in a variety of sectors. He said UNPOS was in the process of bring all its remaining staff members to Somalia in coming weeks and called on other members of the international community "to come to Mogadishu".
Ambassador Mahiga said that UNPOS would be completing a major strategic review shortly to ensure full alignment of its policies and programs with the goals and aims of the new Somali government. It had, he said, closely cooperated with key regional interlocutors to ensure a unified and coordinated approach during the last year. Among its activities had been the establishment of a "joint framework" for the AU and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to ensure "close collaboration on issues affecting the Somali peace process."
Ambassador Mahiga noted that this had "harmonized international and regional response to challenges within Somalia [and] played a critical role in enabling the international community to speak with one voice in support of the process".