The Second Istanbul Conference on Somalia, under the theme “Preparing Somalia’s Future: Goals for 2015,” took place on 31st May and 1st June 2012. Maintaining the multi-dimensional and multi-layered approach of the first Istanbul Conference in 2010 on Somalia, it was attended by high level representatives from 57 countries and 11 international and regional organizations, as well as by the TFG leadership, the regional administrations, and representatives from wide-ranging segments of Somali society, including youth, women, business community, elders, religious leaders and the Diaspora.
The Istanbul conference has brought together representatives from 54 countries. DHA Photo
The Conference reaffirmed its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia. It agreed that for genuine peace to take hold in Somalia, Somali people should seek dialogue, reconciliation and political cooperation including in establishing inclusive, accountable and legitimate governance. The Conference is grateful for the wide-scale and strong Somali participation, including women, in this Conference, and the powerful and meaningful messages they have pronounced.
The Conference noted that at this critical period in Somalia’s history, the security, political, social and economic achievements of the past year have given Somalis and the international community a renewed hope for the future. Somalia has made considerable progress towards achieving stability, security and reconciliation: this opportunity should not be missed. The Conference emphasized that August 2012 is the beginning of a new phase of peace-building, in which all Somalis would contribute to peace and have their voices heard.
The Conference highlighted that primary responsibility for establishing a political solution in the country lies with Somalis. The role of the international community is to support Somalis to provide leadership and ownership in rebuilding a functioning state and local governments that can provide security, ensure the rule of law and respect for human rights, provide basic social services and create an enabling environment that allows for economic opportunity for all its citizens.
It reconfirmed the importance of the London Conference that constituted a milestone in gathering the international momentum on Somalia, and pledged to ensure a continued coherent and cooperative international approach.
The Conference reiterated that the transitional period will come to an end in August 2012 in accordance with the Kampala Accord, the Roadmap, the Garowe I and II Principles, the Galkayo Agreement and re-affirmed commitment made by the Signatories to the Roadmap through the Addis Ababa Communique. It called for the timely implementation of these decisions and delivery of pledged funds. The Conference commended the convening of the Traditional Elders in Mogadishu who are carrying out their task of selecting the members of the Constituent Assembly and the new Parliament. It welcomed their efforts to ensure that women meaningfully participate in the process and constitute 30% of the Constituent Assembly and the new Parliament and the role of women is enshrined in the constitution.
The Conference welcomed the intention that the Constituent Assembly adopts the provisional constitution of Somalia. It highlighted the importance of Somali ownership of the constitution through a public debate and future adoption through a referendum. The Conference also commended the ongoing public consultations and civic education process in order to allow the Somali people to have their voices heard and participate in the political process. The Conference urged the Roadmap signatories to expand this effort to include newly recovered areas.
The Conference expressed the firm expectation that the selection process of the leaner and more representative Federal Parliament is completed in a fair and transparent way without any hindrance and that the elections for the positions of Speaker (and Deputies), and President by the new Parliament are carried out smoothly by 20 August 2012.
The Participants reiterated their firmness in not allowing internal and external actors or groups to disrupt the smooth implementation of the end of the Transition. In this context, they commended the joint AU-IGAD-UN letter of May 2012 to such potential actors in Somalia. They agreed to consider appropriate follow-up action against those judged to be blocking progress in the political process.
10. The Conference reiterated the crucial need for the international community to support dialogue that Somaliland and the TFG have agreed to pursue.
11. The Participants looked forward to the beginning of a new political dispensation, with a new Parliament and Government, and emphasized the importance of those institutions coming to fruition through a more representative, transparent and legitimate process.
12. In keeping with the London Communique, the Conference reiterated that respect for human rights must be at the heart of the peace process. It welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Transitional Federal Government and the United Nations on 11 May 2012, and called on the Somali authorities to follow through with their commitment to uphold human rights and the rule of law, and put an end to the culture of violence and impunity, and bring about accountability. The Conference called for all parties to commit themselves to transitional justice mechanisms in the Post-Transition period.
13. The Conference emphasized that in the post-Transition period, the new political dispensation in Somalia must begin with a new program aimed at re-establishing of state and local institutions and administrative structures, based on and complementary to the current Roadmap including the newly recovered areas.
14. The Conference noted need to adjust international support to the political structures in Somalia and called on the UN to review the shape of its future engagement in Somalia.
Security and Justice
15. The Conference agreed on the need to revitalize funding arrangements. The Conference took note of the proposal for the establishment of a new “Rebuilding and Restructuring Fund for the Somali Security Sector” initiated by Turkey to offer additional support to the Somali security forces.
16. The Conference recognized the need for the international community to continue to support the re-establishment of a professional, inclusive, disciplined and well-equipped security apparatus, including the Somali national army, police, navy, coastguard and intelligence agencies, as well as mechanisms to ensure civilian oversight of the security sector. The Conference emphasized the urgency to approve and implement the National Security and Stabilization Plan and the need to bring all Somali forces under a unified command. In this context, it recognized the significant contributions that the EU, including through the EU Training Mission, the US and Italy are providing in support of the Somali security sector institutions. The Conference encouraged broader support to these institutions.
17. The Conference commended the ongoing support of the international community for AMISOM, particularly by the United Nations, the European Union, IGAD member-states and the US and other bilateral partners. The Conference called on new donors to provide financial support to AMISOM troops including salaries, entitlements, reimbursement of contingent-owned equipment (COE), and enabling assets.
18. The Conference praised the efforts of the African Union through AMISOM and particularly those of Uganda and Burundi who have made troop contributions to AMISOM, and looking forward to the completion of troop deployments from Djibouti, Sierra Leone and Kenya. Today AMISOM, alongside its Somali Security Force allies is the main military instrument in ensuring security and stability in Somalia. We emphasized that the TFG and AMISOM have to be strongly supported by the international community at this critical juncture to meet objectives.
19. The Conference agreed that insecurity in Somalia, including sustained inter clan conflict, persistent violence, illegal charcoal trading, misappropriation of funds, piracy, kidnapping, terrorism and human rights abuses and violations, is exacerbated by the crisis emanating from the deficiency of the state structures and institutions in large parts of the country. It condemned all acts of violence against civilians, including journalists, and humanitarian workers in violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law.
20. The Conference reiterated its commitment to coordinate its efforts in support to the security and justice sectors through a re-invigorated Joint Security Committee and its technical working groups and looked forward to discussing proposals in this regard.
21. The Conference reiterated the need for effective rule of law institutions. The Conference stressed the importance of a broad consultative process in developing a plan to strengthen justice and correctional institutions and called for the establishment of a task force consisting of the TFG and international partners.
22. The Conference rejected all forms of terrorism, violations of human rights and violent extremism which endanger the lives of the Somali people, as well as regional and international peace. The Somali population has suffered a great deal at the hands of violent extremists and participants agreed to work together to help build capacity to confront the root causes of terrorism, tackle terrorism in the region, and disrupt their travel to and from Somalia. It agreed to work with the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum and other international and regional bodies to deliver this important work.
23. It condemned the use of child soldiers and sexual violence by the combatant sides. The Conference also deplored the recent attacks against journalists. Those who are responsible must be held to account. The Conference called on all Somalis to renounce unlawful acts of violence, to operate within a constitutional framework and to support the ongoing political process. Those who refuse to do so, and instead engage in or support violence and crime, should be dissuaded, isolated, or otherwise prevented from derailing the Roadmap and the process of Somali reconciliation and state-building. The Conference resolved to develop further a programme to support those who renounce violence.
24. The Conference reiterated that the problem of piracy off the coast of Somalia requires a comprehensive approach on land as well as at sea that addresses the root causes of the phenomenon and combines development, capacity-building, rule of law, deterrence and prosecution on the basis of UNSC Resolution 2020 (2011) and full compliance of international law. It called for the reinforcement of Somali-owned judicial capacities. The Conference looks forward to discussing the issue of piracy in depth and at length during the UAE’s Second High Level Piracy Conference “A Regional Response to Maritime Piracy: Enhancing Public Private Partnership and strengthening global engagement to be held in Dubai on 27-28 June 2012 and the International Piracy Conference to be held in Perth, Australia on 15-17 July, 2012. The Conference further supports the ongoing work of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, including its forthcoming 12th Plenary Meeting to be held in New York on 25 July 2012.
25. The Conference recognized that the Somali leaders with the support of the international community face a huge challenge in ensuring a stable and secure environment in the recovered areas as soon as possible. A power vacuum must not be allowed to develop in those areas.
26. We took note of the work undertaken by the TFG and local governance structures to promote stabilization and reconciliation in the newly recovered regions in Somalia. We welcomed the establishment of the National Policy for Reconciliation and Stabilization in these areas and noted the need for continued political cooperation, through a transparent and inclusive process that facilitates the development of effective governance and stability. The Conference further takes note of the TFG national reconciliation and stabilization plan for the newly recovered areas and urges regional and international partners, including AU, IGAD and the UN to support this comprehensive plan.
27. The Conference called upon the international community to consider further ways and means of stabilizing and securing emerging areas of stability and sustaining these through governance programs. The Stability Fund established at the London Conference shall serve this purpose and thus should be supported.
Economic Development and Recovery
28. The Conference recognized the continued fragility of the humanitarian situation. With international support in the summer of 2011, Somalia was able to overcome the famine and avoid further exacerbation of the humanitarian crisis. However, more than 2.5 million Somalis remain in crisis and the risk of a further deterioration persists. The Conference called for immediate, unhindered access to all populations in need, respecting agreed humanitarian principles.
29. The Conference recognized the primary role of the Somali authorities as well as the important role of the international community in assisting Somalis in strengthening resilience. The Conference welcomed the Partnership Forum’s efforts to build consensus on preventive and preemptive policies in this regard, and pledged to continue the dialogue.
30. The Conference underlined the importance of finding durable solutions for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs). It stressed in particular that protection of civilians in accordance with international humanitarian and refugee law must be maintained at all times by all parties.
31. The Conference recognized the need for a new phase in the approach to Somalia’s economic recovery.
32. The Conference underscored its belief that without special and equal emphasis on the reconstruction area, work in other spheres would be incomplete. Starting to rebuild Somalia’s infrastructure in Mogadishu and other areas will contribute to Somalis’ confidence in their future and constitute an incentive and encouragement for all segments of Somalia to reconcile.
33. Following the outcomes of the working groups on the first Istanbul Conference on Somalia, participants took note of the discussion of the four Partnership Forums on 31 May, attended by participants from Government, international organizations, donors, civil society and the private sector. It stressed that large-scale multi-year predictable financing was urgently needed both for infrastructure projects and to enhance the resilience of Somali communities. The Conference recognized the importance of harnessing the skills and capacity of the private sector and the Somali diaspora (Please see Annex 1.)
34. The Conference noted the importance of creating the right investment climate and agreed that offering conditional investment guarantees will provide a strong incentive for economic development with equity.
35. The Conference emphasized the importance of encouraging equitable growth to reduce poverty and deprivation in Somalia including through the promotion of inclusive business practices and service provision. Participants agreed on the need for capacity building in the public and private sectors. It was noted that institutional development was needed to ensure government can establish a socially responsible and business-friendly regulatory environment. They recognized the importance of diversification of energy sources, improvements in the quality and scope of the transport infrastructure in a way that supports economic development and investment in urban water supply, rural water supply, water resource management and water governance.
36. The Conference resolved to continue the discussion through further public-private dialogue, supported by the United Nations as well as the Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector in Development.
37. The Conference welcomed ongoing negotiations to establish a mutual accountability regime built around the proposed Joint Financial Management Board (JFMB). It urged the early conclusion of the negotiations establishing the JFMB and noted that the international community remains committed to helping Somalia better regulate its finances and development assistance.
38. The Conference welcomes the establishment of a multi-donor Trust Fund for post-Transition financing.
39. The Conference expected the ICG to be held in Rome on 2-3 July to take stock of the progress made here in Istanbul and give the final impetus to the very last part of the Transition.
40. The Conference commended the UN, the African Union, the IGAD, the EAC, the EU, the OIC and League of Arab States, and other bilateral partners for their relentless efforts in stabilizing Somalia. It welcomed the relocation of UNPOS and encouraged the UN to continue to relocate staff inside Somalia. Donors are encouraged to support this. The Conference also encouraged other organizations and countries to increase their presence in Somalia.