Delivery of Commitments: Time for action
Bristol-UK (DIPLOMAT.SO) – ActForSomalia welcomes the great strides taken by the Government of Somalia to reconnect our country to partners who will further strengthen and contribute to our national progress.
In the last month, the Government of Somalia, led by H.E. the President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, held historic talks with the King of Saudi Arabia and the Prime Minister of India, on the side-lines of the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi. It was clear from both engagements that Somalia was warmly welcomed and its Government’s successes and challenges were noted by the host Governments which pledged further support and cooperation in the areas of security, development and investment in Somalia.
The international understanding of a progressing Somalia, albeit at a slow pace, is informed by the above mentioned successes and renewed international engagement. While this is truly welcome and we applaud the Government of Somalia for its efforts, it must be stressed that without effective follow up on delivery and implementation, these vital multilateral and bilateral engagements will be to no avail. The Somali people deserve translation of agreements into tangible outcomes that change their conditions.
The implementation challenges in Somalia are enormous and at times, overwhelming for a nation which relies heavily on foreign aid and which is at the same time is attempting to create inclusive national Governance structures. These challenges include the lack of institutional strength and a space that is wholly or partially occupied by well-funded International NGOs that continue to challenge government institutions for project planning and implementation at national, regional and local levels. However, despite the implementation challenges, we recognize that Somalia and its leadership continue to demonstrate understanding and improvement on all fronts and this will play a decisive role in ensuring Somalia turns the corner towards Peace, stability and Progress.
An example of the Somali Governments commitment to sustainable development is the ongoing National Development Plan currently undertaken by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. This is the first attempt of such undertaking since 1986 and, when complete, it will comprehensively document the national priorities of Somalia.
While political will, national priority planning and the building of coalitions and partnerships for developmental success is clearly evident in Somalia today, what needs further attention is the follow up, implementation and delivery that follows.
There is no question of the Somali civil servants commitment to their country and its future. Most of them work for pittance that sometimes does not come for months at a time in the most challenging conditions. However, some argue that most civil servants need further training and capacity development to see through projects with partners. However, we believe that the problem is not lack of capacity but one of low utilization of capacity. There are many well-trained Somalis in and outside Somalia who can deliver for Somalia but are mostly not utilized effectively due to institutional constraints.
Meeting the effective use of available human resource and further development is crucial to strengthening bilateral and multilateral relations as well as fully capitalising on all the developmental assistance made available to Somalia by its partners and the international community. The National Development plan prioritises this but in the short term, in order to ensure project follow up, delivery and implementation, it is crucial that a UNIT be established to oversee this crucial role.
Despite the initial interest in 2012 when this new Somali Government was formed, international support for Somali experts has been declining and we urge the International community and Organisations such as IOM to support the Somali civil service by providing further financial assistance for more experts and technical staff to work on the ground and on key policy issues.
We also urge the World Bank and other partners to channel the valuable aid they manage on behalf of the Somali people to improving the financial wellbeing of the poorly paid public servants that are risking their lives daily in their various duties. These brave men and women are on the front line of change in Somalia and they should be provided a living wage and regularly in order to reward their efforts and improve their performance.
Articulating a vision is easier than implementing it and it is the latter that will decide the progress Somalia actually makes. Let’s get going!
Act For Somalia
Act4Somalia is Somali British advisory & Awareness raising Org based in Bristol with a Global Reach to promote Peace, Human Rights and Civic Engagement.