From the United Nations Department of Public Information:
Somalia: Steps on a path to fragile peace in a shattered country
Somalia is looking at its best chance for peace in 15 years as the
reconciliation process moves into a new and crucial phase and with UN
poised to ramp up its humanitarian assistance. But rampant insecurity
poses a steep challenge to this endeavour as most international media
give the country a wide berth.
The country that used to dominate coverage a decade ago as a symbol
of a collapsed state has been left out of media limelight lately,
although the nation is facing a crucial challenge. The ongoing
fragile reconciliation process represents Somalis' best hope since
the 1990s of rebuilding their nation in peace. At great risk, a
fledgling government-in-exile, formed through a national conference
involving most of the rival factions, is trying to establish itself
in the country from its base in neighboring Kenya. However, rampant
insecurity, fueled by arms embargo violations and continued factional
violence, poses steep challenges to this endeavour.
The insecurity has also kept the presence of international media to
a minimum at a time when this story needs a bright light from the
outside helping to put all parties on notice that the world is
watching. Greater media exposure can also help to mobilize
humanitarian aid to the country which continues to face drought and
famine in addition to the recent deaths and damage to its coastline
and fishing villages from the recent Indian Ocean Tsunami. Meanwhile,
the United Nations is providing humanitarian and development aid as
best it can under the conditions, while preparing a stepped-up
political presence that could solidify the reconciliation process and
help Somalis establish a working government. The Security Council has
welcomed the establishment of the Transitional Federal Government and
has urged the international community to lend political and economic
- Somalia is the only country in recent history that
has endured such a prolonged period of state collapse.
- During a recent whistle-stop tour of the country,
leaders of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) were
well-received by Somalis, but they dared not even venture into the
capital, Mogadishu, still awash with guns and gangs.
- Somalis continue to suffer from intermittent clan
conflicts and recurrent droughts. The country is home to 400,000
internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 800,000 returnees.
- Although recent rains have provided some respite,
four consecutive years of drought have led to massive livestock
losses. Overall, the drought has resulted in a livelihood crisis,
indebtedness and economic stagnation.
- Somalia consistently ranks among the lowest in the
world on key indicators of human development, amid high mortality and
- According to UN relief officials, top aid priorities
include the delivery of assistance in water and sanitation, health
and education sectors to the most vulnerable groups, including IDPs,
returnees and minorities who represent 20 percent of the population.
For further information
UN Political Office for Somalia, Nairobi:
Babafemi Badejo, Officer-in-Charge, Tel: (tie line): +1 212 963 3085
or 3096; +254 2 622 695; E-mail: email@example.com
UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA):
Haile Menkerios, Director, Africa I Division, Tel: +1 212 963 0239,
Rehana Ahmad-Haque, Desk Officer for Somalia, Tel. +1 212 963 2502,