UK leads efforts to bring stability to Somalia
23 Feb 2012 04:04 PM
A new fund focused on bringing more stability to Somalia has been agreed as part of yesterday London Conference, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has said yesterday.
The international Stability Fund – led by Britain – will help create jobs, agree local peace deals and set up police, courts and basic services in areas where there is less fighting, or which have been recently freed from militant control.
The details come a day ahead of the London Conference which will bring together senior representatives from over 40 governments and global organisations. The gathering is intended to deliver a new international approach to Somalia.
The new 'rapid response' Stability Fund will see the UK unite with several other countries to immediately underpin political and military gains, with projects ranging from setting up markets and reopening of schools and hospitals through to securing water supplies.
The fund will capitalise on improved security to ensure that experts can work with the population to help families in need while rebuilding institutions that had been destroyed by years of fighting, combining both quick-win and long-term projects.
It is hoped that a targeted approach will help piece together a patchwork of areas where a more sustained development effort is possible, with the buy-in of clan and tribal leaders as well as the local community.
The UK will use tomorrow's conference to make clear that without political progress and long-term development, the cycle of insecurity and extreme poverty will not be broken.
The work will be underpinned by a new mechanism to supervise Somali revenues and aid flows in an effort to tackle corruption and financial leakage.
In addition, details of a Joint Financial Management Board are expected to be outlined as part of the London Conference outcomes. The Board will see international donors work with the Somali government to make sure revenue from key assets such as Mogadishu airport and the country's sea ports is used for the good of its people.
Senior government officials and diplomats will jointly scrutinise the use of both Somali revenue and aid, assisted by finance experts.
Speaking as senior delegations from around the world begin to arrive in London, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said:
"We want our wider interventions to be faster and longer-lasting, working with local communities so that decisions are being made by Somalis for Somalis.
"We want to help Somalis find longer-term political solutions, and a key part of tomorrow will be capitalising on recent security progress on the ground."
These new initiatives come three weeks after Britain called on the international community to address failure in Somalia and avoid further years of turmoil.
In a recent visit to Somalia, Mr Mitchell said efforts aimed at tackling instability had failed over the last two decades and a stronger approach was needed.
Britain committed to increasing its own aid efforts focusing on the underlying issues affecting the region over the next three years as part of its ongoing aid programme. Job creation and economic development programmes led by the UK will help create 45,000 jobs by 2015. Unemployment and poverty are believed to play a key part in turning to young men to piracy, crime and extremism.
Follow the latest coverage of the London Conference on Somalia on the Foreign Office website.