MOGADISHU - Somalia and the international partners have resolved to continue supporting security transition involving Mogadishu taking over lead responsibility for the country's security from African Union peacekeeping forces.
The two sides said in a communique issued on Monday evening after a day-long Somalia Partners Forum (SPF) meeting also resolved to reconfigure the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in order to better counter al-Shabab threats and accelerate security transition.
"International partners recognized Somalia's achievements and ongoing progress in implementing security sector reforms, recovering territory from al-Shabab, ongoing review of the Somali Transition Plan (STP)," they said.
Participants noted that Somalia had made significant progress on economic development, notably the historic achievement of reaching Decision Point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative in March.
This, they said, brought a sign of the increasing confidence in public financial management and revenue generation of the government and restored Somalia's access to regular concessional financing that brought the country one step closer to debt relief.
"With international support, Somalia remains committed to implementing key financial and economic reforms, increasing transparency and accountability, including the transfer of funds from the Federal Government to the Member States, seeking membership of the World Trade Organization, promoting equitable inclusive economic growth, and seeking enhanced regional economic integration as a means to greater prosperity," it stated.
The partners also agreed to support Somalia in the development of national approach on the impact of climate change on human security, public policy, prioritizing youth empowerment and employment generation, building resilience through social protection, strengthening the government's ability to deliver services to the population, addressing the harmful effects of COVID-19 and enhancing government legitimacy.
Both Somalia and international partners said that continued inclusive dialogue to build on the consensus-based agreement is necessary to ensure the timely implementation of credible and acceptable elections in order to preserve the Somali tradition of a peaceful transfer of power.
According to the communique, Somalia committed to approving non-contentious changes to the Provision Constitution before the end of the current political cycle.
The partners agreed to support Somalia on this and other commitments, such as the continuation of the national reconciliation process with the representation of all sections of Somali society, particularly women.
The topics covered during the meeting included the country's elections, the fight against al-Shabab and security transition planned for 2021, economic development and more.
Elections figured prominently in the remarks of Somalia's Prime Minister Mohamed Roble, who also chaired the SPF, which drew representatives from the country's federal member states as well as international partners.
Referring to the decision not to proceed with "one person, one vote" elections for the current electoral cycle, Roble said that particular model of voting was an aspiration of all Somalis and he pledged early preparations for them in the next cycle, involving dialogue with Federal Member States.
He said the government has already embarked on a process to draft a roadmap for universal suffrage elections to take place in 2024/2025.
"The process will require engagement with a range of key stakeholders including our Federal Member States, civil society, political parties, to ensure inclusive and credible elections in the future," he said.
In his remarks to the SPF, delivered via video link, James Swan, UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia called for dialogue to solve Somalia's challenges with the current elections, and highlighted the need for a practical roadmap with clear benchmarks that would lead to "one person, one vote" elections in the next electoral cycle. Enditem