Mogadishu, Somalia — In recognition of increased peace and progress in Somalia, UN Under Secretary-General and United Nations Development Programme Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan visited Mogadishu yesterday to meet with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, civil society representatives and police recruits at the police training academy. She also met with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for the United Nations Political Office for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, and UNDP staff in Somalia.
Ms Grynspan officially congratulated President Mohamud and the new federal government on behalf of UNDP and confirmed the development agency's commitment to working with the government to ensure that the peaceful transition - witnessed in 2012 - leads to a more stable Somalia.
"This is an incredibly exciting moment in Somalia's history. For the first time in two decades there is a real opportunity to build lasting peace. UNDP is privileged to be working closely with the new federal government during this time to support in shaping a new future for this war-torn nation," Ms Grynspan said.
Strengthening institutions, particularly the police and justice sectors, is top priority for UNDP's support to Somalia in 2013 and beyond. This will be aligned with the President's Six Pillar Policy which identifies security and strengthening the rule of law as an immediate priority.
President Mohamud expressed his gratitude to UNDP for its increased engagement in Mogadishu and urged the organization to continue its capacity building support to government institutions. He said this was essential in creating a government that is more accountable to all of its citizens. UNDP's Somalia country office is in the process of relocation to Mogadishu from Nairobi, Kenya, where it has been based since 1994.
Greater protection of human rights, including improving protection of journalists and victims of sexual and gender-based violence, was also a common priority for the government and UNDP. Ms Grynspan outlined UNDP's commitment to work with the government on these issues.
"Strengthening rule of law in Somalia is a long term process. Somalia is emerging from two decades of conflict; institutions have suffered and even at some points ceased to function. The political transition presents the most significant opportunity in twenty years to rebuild these institutions and ensure that Somali citizens' basic needs and human rights are protected," Ms Grynspan said.
"It is crucial that the international community, including UNDP, commit to long term support to the citizens of Somalia to strengthen these institutions under the guiding principles of human rights and accountability."
Ms Grynspan met with police recruits at the Mogadishu Police Training Academy and stressed the important role of the police in defending human rights and strengthening security. Ms Grynspan commended the Police Advisory Committee, who monitor policing and people in police detention in Mogadishu, for the vital role they play in providing oversight to rule of law in Somalia.
Ms Grynspan also met with representatives from civil society organisations working with UNDP in Somalia. Representatives stressed the importance of upholding human rights, focusing on capacity building and in particular highlighted the development needs of women and young people. Youth need to be empowered in the political, social and economic spheres - to both reduce the risk of them turning to activities such as piracy, militancy and crime, and increase opportunities for sustainable employment for young people in Somalia.
Communications Specialist, Aimee Brown:
Mogadishu: +252 616 108 572
Nairobi: +254 731 859 413