Heroism and resilience of Somali people in face of ongoing attacks
Somali people have demonstrated heroism and resilience in the face of ongoing insecurity caused by senseless terrorist is to tax that's according to the u._n.'s most senior representative in the horn of africa country james swan who is the u._n. Secretary general's special representative for somalia was speaking you and headquarters in new york ahead of briefing the security council on wednesday somalia continues to be affected by insecurity caused by terrorists organizations like al-shabaab it will so struggles regularly with drought and his chronically underdeveloped. Mr swan arrived in somalia just two months ago so daniel dickinson began by scheme for his first first impressions. It's been some years since i was last in mogadishu and so overall. I've been impressed by signs of progress signs of life that i've witnessed recently coming back from meetings. I've seen young people playing football in the streets. I've seen <hes> signs of economic activity vity shops even a traffic jam which suggests that the capital is indeed <hes> coming back to life after many years of difficulty that said of course i the security situation remains a concern for all of us but especially for the somali population that has suffered over many years from senseless attacks six civilians. That's right. I mean there's almost a daily threat of attacks in mogadishu. How does that affect somalis who live there while they continue with their lives. Despite these threats they open businesses. They send their children to school. They have weddings. They care for one another. They simply have had to move on and continue with their lives and livelihoods in spite of these threats and i think it's really testimony to their resilience eh to their strength really to their heroism in the face of these senseless terrorist attacks. The mayor of mogadishu was assassinated recent. He's one of those those casualties of the civil unrest. You'd actually met him earlier. In the day you know what was he like. And what impact is that going to have on mogadishu on somalia. Well the mayor known as a engineer. Your resume was a well known political figure and leader in mogadishu and more broadly in somalia he'd he'd held number of senior ministerial and advisory portfolios in multiple governments <hes> he had spent many years abroad in the diaspora and i think he was a an example an impressive example of many somalis who have returned from abroad to help rebuild their country entry to invest their time their energy their expertise and their commitment <hes> <unk> trying to make somalia a better place he was an an example of that <hes> he will be missed but at the same time somalia's shown great strength in overcoming <hes> previous losses <hes> and from. I'm talking to those on his staff. I have no doubt that they will continue his work and seek to build on his earlier accomplishments as they move forward in the future. I i think the image that many people get from the international media is of a country in a continual political crisis. Listen to me. How far is that. There are many important political decisions that need to be made in somalia in the coming months. If national priorities <unk> are going to be achieved in two thousand twenty there are important objectives for twenty twenty <hes> including <hes> organizing national level elections including a continuing to make progress on security operations and broader security sector reform and advancing the the national development agenda including a by obtaining <hes> debt relief that would allow for predictable financing going forward. These are important priorities. He's <hes> they require a political agreement. They require a consensus among main <hes> somali leaders <hes> in order to achieve the success is that we're all hoping for in two thousand twenty so yes there's constant political debate <hes> constant political competition within somalia as within other other countries but what's most important now is that we move ahead with more consensual process <hes> leading into these key goals for twenty twenty but most levels of government still struggle to perform that basic functions. Is there any way that that's going to change in the near future. I've in fact been impressed. <hes> since my return <hes> to somalia and in the two months that i've been <hes> in country i've had the opportunity to visit <hes> all of the federal member states as well as somaliland and overall. I have been impressed by the quality and capability of <hes> the administration's astray shins that i've encountered in these different locations. I think we're seeing a many well educated. <hes> dynamic committed committed <hes> individuals increasingly young leaders who are assuming responsibilities and roles <hes> at the in the administration's both at the national channel level and at the federal member state level so they give me a great optimism really that the country is on the right path and that these individuals are we're going to make a significant further progress in being able to respond to the needs of the somali people. You've mentioned twenty twenty next year. What wysocki year it's a key year partly because of the political cycle in somalia the presidential mandate <hes> is four the years <hes> and so there is to be an election and another transition in twenty twenty or perhaps early twenty twenty one <hes> so <hes> a- as with any period or mandate in government <hes> this is a moment to try to consolidate progress and complete <hes> important goals that have been elaborated since the beginning of the president's term so among those are the importance of completing the electoral process itself this will require adoption of an electoral code before the end of this year <hes> and other technical preparations <hes> including of course identifying and funding the necessary budget twenty twenty. We'll also important for consolidating further progress on the security pretty front <hes> both in expanding on very promising operations that have been undertaken in lower shebele since the beginning of of april <hes> and that are continuing <hes> but also to ensure that other security sector improvements advance this involves not just the military police justice corrections so that <hes> the somali people can live in an environment of greater security and justice us and finally as i mentioned there is an important milestone in the national development agenda related to debt relief the government has has been working very hard on this priority it requires some further <hes> consultation and support with the legislature and with the federal member states <hes> but this would be a key benchmark of accomplishment if somalia's able to meet the requirements for debt relief in two thousand twenty darrell however if <hes> groups operating in the country i'll ship app for one which don't want that progress to be made. Well al-shabaab offers a negative suggestion data for the country's destructive agenda that is seeking to disrupt efforts by a well-meaning somalis and somali leaders to see the country advance. I think it's to the credit of the overall somali population that al-shabaab has been unsuccessful zestful in halting the progress that <hes> that we've seen in recent years and that despite the persistence of terrorist attacks six the national priorities continue to advance and we want to see them further consolidated in the coming year. What role can the u n play a in helping somalia on its path towards a better future i mean do you get the impression when you meet somali leaders that they're confident the u._n. Is doing good work. The united nations family is engaged in a wide range of programming across the full all united nations country team this includes work on women's empowerment it includes work on youth inclusion it includes outreach to civil society groups it includes humanitarian response through the world food program and the food and agriculture organization and unicef coordinated by the office of the coordinator for humanitarian affairs that includes work on cultural and educational issues and an array of other priorities. It also includes important support in the security sector notably through the u._n. Support office for somalia so i think across a wide range of issues the united nations family is contributing in close partnership with somalis. I would ed also of course the united nations assistance mission to somalia plays a role in terms of good offices and efforts is to support political and community reconciliation and to see the national political project including further democratisation <hes> move forward in the country so i think across a broad range of priorities that the somalis themselves have established. We are important contributing partners as you said. You've been working on somalia for <hes> more than a couple of decades. What's the best case outlook for four the country ten years hence. How'd you like to see somalia ten years from now. I think there's a widely shared vision that we would like to see somalia at peace in the country and with its neighbours we'd like to see it governed <hes> peaceably sibley and with stability and with significant public participation through a broadly accepted electoral process we'd like to see it on the path to sustained development <hes> with involvement not only by <hes> development partners but by an active private-sector. That's contributing to the lives and livelihoods of the somali people. I think these objectives are widely shared shared. I think we would like to see those objectives also be inclusive. Inclusive in terms of participation by women participation by young people apple seventy percent of the country is under thirty five years of age seventy percent of the population so the future is now in many ways for somalia so i think that is the objective that is shared vision that is guiding all of us as we try to work in partnership for a better somalia.