UN committee on peacekeeping operations visits Somalia

5 Dec 2023

UN committee on peacekeeping operations visits Somalia

Mogadishu – A delegation from the UN General Assembly’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34), recently visited Somalia to gain first-hand knowledge of how the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS), provides logistical support to the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and the Somali Security Forces (SSF).

The 20-member delegation, with diverse Member State representation, was led by Canadian Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Richard Arbeiter, who is the chairperson of the working group of the C-34.

Ambassador Arbeiter said the two-day field visit to Somalia was an opportunity for the C-34 delegation to experience first-hand how closely UNSOS works with ATMIS and the Federal Government to serve the people of Somalia.

“We learned how important the logistics component is, how it is a critical enabler to ATMIS and in turn to the government of Somalia in meeting the objectives it has set for itself in its drive to improve the situation for Somalis.” said Ambassador Arbeiter.

The delegation visited several of the UNSOS support facilities, including a Joint Operations Centre, a medical facility, a water treatment plant, and the air operation center that provides aviation support and coordinates medical and casualty evacuations for ATMIS and the Somali Security Forces.

The delegation also held consultations with the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Somalia, Catriona Laing, Head of ATMIS, Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, and ATMIS Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Sam Okiding and with Somalia’s federal Minister of Defence, Mohamed Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur and the federal State Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ali Mohamed Omar.

During the meeting with ATMIS officials, Ambassador Souef hailed the close working relationship, from the principal level to the joint operational coordination centers, between ATMIS, UNSOS and the Federal Government of Somalia.

The Head of UNSOS, Assistant Secretary-General Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, echoed the remarks, commending the teamwork, and unity of purpose, at all levels of UNSOS, ATMIS and the Federal Government of Somalia.

“It is my wish that, C-34, as member states, reflect on what it has taken the African Union and the support of the United Nations to get us from where we were in 2007 to where we are now, and what can we do not to lose the outcome the gains we have made, and how can we ensure that as we exit, Somalia will remain safe, secure and progressive” said ASG Kacyira.

At the conclusion of the field visit, Ambassador Arbeiter said the findings from their engagements with various stakeholders will help the committee make recommendations on how peacekeeping operations can be improved.

“We do not deliver specific recommendations on individual mandates, but we try to understand how the system as a whole needs to evolve to support the people on the ground in implementing the mandates they receive from the Security Council,” he said.

Ambassador Arbeiter also appreciated the effectiveness of UNSOS as a model in a complex environment challenged with both terrorism and climate change and in this regard commended the resilience of Somalia and echoed the need for more support from the International Community.

In 2009, the UN Security Council established the United Nations Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA). In 2015, UNSOA was renamed United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) to reflect the expanded mandate of support to Somali Security Forces (SSF) and the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

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