London Somalia Conference: ‘A space for peace and stability’

Parliament house flag post

London Somalia Conference: ‘A space for peace and stability’

Posted 29/02/2012 by Nicole Brangwin

The London Somalia Conference was held on 23 February 2012 showcasing what might be considered to be an ambitious agenda, given the short program dedicated to discussions on the wide-ranging issues plaguing Somalia. The conference was opened by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and addressed by nine keynote speakers that included United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon. Three separate sessions were subsequently held to deal with Somalia’s political process, security, and stability and recovery. The brevity of proceedings does not detract from the significance of the event and the renewed emphasis now garnered by the international community to support Somalia out of transition and into a more permanently stable State. This post follows on from the Parliamentary Library Background Note, ‘A ray of hope’: London Somalia Conference, 23 February 2012.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2036 (2012)

Just prior to the London conference, the UN Security Council voted to expand the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), in line with the African Union’s Peace and Security Council’s recommended Strategic Concept (5 January 2012). UN Security Council Resolution 2036 (2012) increased the authorised strength of uniformed personnel, military and police, from 12 000 to 17 731. This number will include enhanced logistical support, which should allow AMISOM forces to extend their reach to sectors beyond the capital Mogadishu. AMISOM forces still retain authorisation under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to ‘take all necessary measures’ to support the UN mandate.

Resolution 2036 also warned that it would be ‘untenable’ for any further extension of existing transitional governance arrangements to go beyond the scheduled 20 August 2012 deadline (see ‘A ray of hope’: London Somalia Conference, 23 February 2012 for a discussion on transitional governance arrangements and the Roadmap towards a permanent governance framework in Somalia).

Resolution 2036 authorises AMISOM until 31 October 2012 and maintains it as an African mission with forces contributed by African Union (AU) members. At present, AMISOM forces are bolstered by uniformed personnel from Burundi, Uganda and most recently Djibouti. Resolution 2036 also ‘rehatted’ Kenyan forces—originally deployed to Somalia, outside of AMISOM, to fight Al-Shabaab elements—to conduct military operations under the auspices of AMISOM. The Resolution calls on other AU members to contribute forces to AMISOM but it may take some time for troop levels to reach 17 731. The previous authorised strength of 12 000 was adopted on 22 December 2010 (UN Security Council Resolution 1964) but by September 2011 AMISOM still had not reached its full strength, with only 9595 uniformed personnel in country.

Outcomes from the London Somalia Conference

The London Somalia Conference drew representatives from around 40 countries and 12 organisations. Australia was represented by the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Dennis Richardson.

The conference Communiqué was devoid of any real substance and predominantly highlighted the work already being done to assist Somalia. It did, however, reinforce the UN Security Council’s sentiment that no further extensions would be granted to transitional governance arrangements. The emphasis on security appeared to be minimal with no new initiatives being announced. Conference delegates agreed to focus on efforts already being undertaken to support Somali security and justice sectors, based on principles leading to a 'staged, Somali-led, internationally coordinated approach building upon existing structures which works towards an appropriate, accountable, adequate, and affordable security and justice sector'.

Discussions on the issue of piracy resulted in more concrete action which saw the signing of agreements dealing with the transfer and prosecution of suspected Somali pirates to neighbouring countries and eventually back to Somalia. Delegates pledged to continue supporting current maritime initiatives such as the ‘the Djibouti Code of Conduct and the adoption of an Exclusive Economic Zone’ for Somalia. Progress in this area will be assessed in June 2012 at the Piracy Conference in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Other issues discussed at the conference included ongoing support to combat money laundering and terrorist financing, stability and recovery efforts and the ongoing humanitarian crisis, which attracted its own side event to emphasise the importance of continued aid and support to the people of Somalia.

Another conference is scheduled to take place in June 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey to assess the political progress in Somalia and consider proposals to ‘incentivise progress and act against spoilers to the peace process’.

In his opening speech, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, painted a very bleak picture of Somalia over the last two decades. He appealed to the international community to help the Somali people because these problems ‘don’t just affect Somalia. They affect us all’, noting that piracy, kidnapping, extremism and terrorism threaten ‘the security of the whole world’. He acknowledged the international community’s absence from this space in that ‘politicians in the West have too often dismissed the problems of Somalia as simply too difficult and too remote to deal with’ and any assistance has been ‘sporadic and half-hearted’, concluding that ‘that fatalism has failed Somalia’. Cameron hoped that by hosting this conference, real momentum in the right direction will provide an opportunity for positive change in Somalia.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, optimistically asserted that the conference ‘opened a space for peace and stability in Somalia’. The UN’s goal in Somalia, he said, is ‘ultimately... to transfer security responsibilities to the Somalis and establish sustainable, credible and indigenous security institutions in the country’. Although he acknowledged that this will take time, the international community and Somalia ‘must start now’, according to the Secretary-General.

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, strongly expressed the US’s position for a stable government to be established in Somalia by August 2012 and sought assurances from conference delegates not to support any further extension of the transitional government’s mandate. Clinton viewed the efforts to date as an opportunity to ‘build a durable peace for the Somalia people’ and undertook for the US to ‘look for ways to increase’ its involvement in Somalia. She flagged that this might include a ‘more permanent diplomatic presence’ once the security situation improves.

The French representative, Foreign Minister Alain Juppé, stressed the importance of training Somali military personnel through the European Union Training Mission (EUTM), based in Uganda, which recently trained around 1700 Somalis who have since returned to Somalia. An additional 600 recruits are expected to join them soon.

Kenya’s President, Mwai Kibaki, welcomed UN Security Council Resolution 2036 but noted that it did not include a maritime component, which he believes is ‘critical to the eventual success of the campaign in Somalia, as well as the fight against piracy and international terrorism’. Kibaki also emphasised the impact of the humanitarian crisis on Kenya, stating that the ‘size of the Somali displacement... far outweighs our capacity to carry’ and is ‘adversely impacting our political and socio-economic dynamics. It is posing growing and serious security threats to Kenya and the region’. Kibaki called on conference delegates to ‘map out a firm and durable solution’ that will help to repatriate Somali refugees and provide stability to the region.

Thank you for your comment. If it does not require moderation, it will appear shortly.
Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print


Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

Parliamentary Library Logo showing Information Analysis & Advice




refugees asylum immigration Australian foreign policy Parliament elections climate change social security women welfare reform taxation Indigenous Australians Australian Defence Force welfare policy school education higher education private health insurance health financing emissions trading Middle East Senate Australian Bureau of Statistics employment people trafficking Asia statistics illicit drugs gambling health reform federal election 2010 Australian Public Service income management Medicare disability Sport United Nations environment industrial relations constitution transport politics criminal law Afghanistan health forced labour food public service reform aged care aid Australian Sports Anti-Doping Agency World Anti-Doping Agency United States federal budget Carbon Pricing Mechanism dental health international relations governance regulation Fair Work Act voting law enforcement electoral reform OECD Australian Electoral Commission WADA child protection poker machines Australia in the Asian Century steroids National Disability Insurance Scheme detention 43rd Parliament slavery health system leadership domestic violence parliamentary procedure International Women's Day accountability defence capability multiculturalism ASADA Australian Federal Police labour force people smuggling debt New Zealand Australian Crime Commission pharmaceutical benefits scheme political parties coal seam gas Human rights crime China Census election results UK Parliament Papua New Guinea banking corruption pensions children's health Aviation federal election 2013 foreign debt gross debt net debt Senators and Members ALP Newstart Parenting Payment Youth Allowance sea farers United Kingdom energy food labelling Australian economy violence against women vocational education and training military history by-election High Court skilled migration mental health Federal Court terrorist groups science social media Higher Education Loan Program HECS federal state relations youth paid parental leave same sex relationships customs planning doping health risks Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling sex slavery Special Rapporteur Northern Territory Emergency Response social policy ANZUS Rural and regional trade unions Foreign affairs election timetable Indigenous royal commission Productivity firearms public policy Population ADRV terrorism transparency research and development welfare ASIO intelligence community Australian Security Intelligence Organisation carbon tax mining employer employee renewable energy regional unemployment fishing European Union family assistance United Nations Security Council forestry Drugs welfare systems Indonesia children Constitutional reform local government codes of conduct terrorist financing homelessness Parliamentary remuneration money laundering Trafficking in Persons Report social inclusion paternalism environmental law US presidential election nutrition ODA Defence sitting days electoral divisions Southeast Asia administrative law universities TAFE Ireland citizenship asylum seekers early childhood education Canada Financial sector national security fuel disability employment Tasmania integrity standards NATO Australian Secret Intelligence Service sexual abuse World Trade Organization Australia public health housing affordability bulk billing water health policy Governor-General US economy export liquefied natural gas foreign bribery question time speaker superannuation public housing expertise climate Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Pacific Islands reserved seats new psychoactive substances synthetic drugs UNODC carbon markets animal health middle class welfare constitutional recognition of local government referendum consumer laws PISA competition policy US politics language education baby bonus Leaders of the Opposition citizen engagement policymaking Australia Greens servitude Trafficking Protocol forced marriage alcohol entitlements ministries Hung Parliament social citizenship maritime Iran regional students school chaplains federal budget 2011-12 salary Medicare Locals primary care Building the Education Revolution Turkey Syria marine pollution sustainability prisons police deaths in custody electoral margins electoral pendulum electoral redistribution redistribution NSW redistribution WA redistribution ACT electoral boundaries ASEAN Sustainable Development Goals Double dissolution Senators safety vehicles MYEFO Pathology tertiary education Taiwan Xi Ma meeting family violence government financial advisers financial planners Financial System Inquiry Murray Inquiry China; Economic policy; Southeast Asia; Africa housing Speaker; House of Representatives; Parliament High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title ACT Indigenous education Norfolk Island External Territories emissions reduction fund; climate change child care funding refugees immigration asylum procurement Indigenous health e-voting internet voting nsw state elections 44th Parliament 2015 ABS Age Pension Death penalty capital punishment execution Bali nine Bali bombings Trade EU China soft power education Fiji India Disability Support Pension Antarctica Diplomacy by-elections state and territories Bills anti-corruption fraud bribery corporate ownership whistleblower G20 economic reform innovation Members of Parliament Scottish referendum Middle East; national security; terrorism social services Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 online grooming sexual assault of minors ACT Assembly smoking plain packaging tobacco cigarettes Asia; Japan; international relations Work Health and Safety Migration; asylum seekers; regional processing China; United States; international relations fiscal policy Racial Discrimination Act; social policy; human rights; indigenous Australians Foreign policy Israel Palestine asylum refugees immigration political finance donations foreign aid Economics efficiency human rights; Racial Discrimination Act employment law bullying Animal law; food copyright Australian Law Reform Commission industry peace keeping contracts workplace policies same-sex marriage disorderly conduct retirement Parliament House standing orders prime ministers First speech defence budget submarines workers Somalia GDP world heritage political engagement leave loading Trade; tariffs; safeguards; Anti-dumping public interest disclosure whistleblowing Productivity Commission limitation period cancer gene patents genetic testing suspension of standing and sessional orders live exports infant mortality honorary citizen railways disciplinary tribunals standard of proof World Health Organisation arts international students skilled graduate visas temporary employment visas apologies roads Italy national heritage NHMRC anti-dumping Rent Assistance obesity evidence law sacrament of confession international days DFAT UN General Assembly deregulation Regulation Impact Statements small business Breaker Morant regional engagement social determinants of health abortion Members suspension workplace health and safety marine reserves hearing Victoria astronomy resources sector YMCA youth parliament Korea rebate Australian Greens presidential nomination Racial Discrimination Act political parties preselection solar hot water Financial Action Taskforce Horn of Africa peacekeeping piracy Great Barrier Reef Stronger futures political financing political education Social Inclusion Board early childhood National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care Murray-Darling Basin sanctions Norway hospitals republic President Barack Obama Presidential visits qantas counselling Korean peninsula Work Choices biosecurity hendra federalism federation preselection therapeutic goods Therapeutic Goods Administration plebiscites computer games pests suicide nuclear COAG Ministerial Councils floods ADHD stimulant medication advertising electricity extradition conscience votes poverty preventative health rural health coastal erosion Parliamentary Budget Office work-life balance

Show all
Show less
Back to top