8 October 2017

Somalia: Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism Boosted With Security Agreement

Photo: Radio Dalsan
Somali militants (file photo).

Somali federal and state authorities, together with the international community, agreed on a support and coordination mechanism to put in operation the national strategy to prevent and counter violent extremism.

The strategy - also referred to as 'Strand 4' - is part of the National Security Architecture (NSA), which was endorsed by Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and the presidents of the federal member states last April.

The NSA, through the Comprehensive Approach to Security Strand 4, aims to tackle violent extremism and address wide-ranging issues causing conflict and insecurity in Somalia.

The strategy was launched in Mogadishu at an event co-chaired by the Somali Deputy Prime Minister, Mahdi Mohamed Guled, and the Swedish Ambassador to Somalia, Andreas von Uexküll.

The meeting was also attended by top Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) officials, representatives of federal member states, UN officials - including the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia, Michael Keating - and members of the diplomatic corps.

Mr. Guled hailed the launch as a milestone in the country's efforts to prevent and counter violent extremism in order to help attain a sustainable peace for the country.

"We came together today to launch strand 4 of the Comprehensive Approach to Security. We are thankful to the UK government for organizing the famous London Conference which was successful and provided a platform for Somalia to present a number of issues including the Comprehensive Approach to Security and its strands," Mr. Guled stated at the event.

Strand 4 is co-chaired by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Swedish Embassy. Its objective is for conflicts to be addressed politically, as opposed to through violence.

The Deputy Prime Minister and the Swedish Ambassador signed the terms of reference spelling out the roles, responsibilities, managerial and operational procedures of Strand 4, elements that are crucial to put in operation the Somali National Strategy and Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, launched in September 2016.

Ambassador von Uexküll observed that violent extremism is widespread, affecting not only Somalia but also many other countries and called for concerted efforts in tackling this phenomenon.

"Coordination among various stakeholders as well as ensuring that we are not working in silos will be crucial. We also need to connect our work on human rights, security, rule of law and justice. Sustainable solutions can only be achieved if we address our efforts for youth, inclusion and economic recovery," he added.

On his part, Mr. Keating lauded the launch while emphasizing the need to address the drivers of violent extremism and calling for a multi-pronged approach to effectively tackle insecurity.

"Insecurity requires a genuinely comprehensive approach and where addressing violent extremism is the long term effort that needs to be part of that comprehensive approach. If we only focus on the military aspect on insecurity we will not succeed. I am just thrilled that we have come together to look at how prevention and countering of violent extremism can help address some of these issues," the SRSG said.

It was also agreed at the meeting that key government agencies and federal member states appoint focal point persons to drive the process and come up with a plan of action ahead of the follow-up meeting to the London Conference, scheduled for December.

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