On Tuesday morning (October 31)*, the Security Council is expected to vote on a draft resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) for one year, until October 31, 2024.
It seems that the negotiations were long and difficult, leading to substantial revision of the original draft text. The UK, the penholder on Somalia, circulated the initial draft of the resolution on October 17 and convened one round of negotiations on October 20. On Monday (October 23), the penholder circulated a revised draft that was open for comments until Tuesday (October 24). The penholder subsequently placed a second revised draft under the silence procedure until Thursday (October 26). China and Russia broke the silence, after which other members made additional comments. The UK made further changes to the draft resolution and placed a third revised text under a short silence procedure until Friday (October 27) but China and Russia again broke the silence. It appears that the UK subsequently engaged bilaterally with some Council members and directly put a revised draft in blue later on Friday.
The draft resolution in blue retains UNSOM’s core mandated tasks and role, as set out in resolution 2158 of May 29, 2014, and resolution 2592 of August 30, 2021. It requests UNSOM to continue to maintain and strengthen its presence across Somalia, in consultation with the Somali government and Somalia’s federal member states and to continue to strengthen its cooperation with Somalia and the AU. It further recognizes that the political and security context in Somalia will affect UNSOM’s ability to fulfill its mandate.
The draft resolution in blue contains new language recalling the drawdown of personnel of the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which is expected to take place throughout 2024. It requests UNSOM to work closely with the Somali government, the AU, and the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) to collectively address the practical implications of ATMIS’ drawdown, including with regard to the safety and security of UNSOM personnel, and to prepare for continued cooperation following ATMIS’ withdrawal. It appears that the initial draft text called on UNSOM to prepare for cooperation “within existing resources”, language which was opposed by some Council members and was not retained in the draft resolution in blue.*
Text was also added to this year’s resolution regarding the strategic review of UNSOM, which was issued on September 26, 2022. (For background, see our 30 October 2022 What’s in Blue story.) The draft resolution in blue calls for the implementation of the strategic review’s recommendations, including planning to develop a road map for the eventual transition from UNSOM to the UN Country Team, finalizing the UNSOM staffing and configuration review, and working towards a common understanding of an end state.
One of the main points of contention during the negotiations related to language on UNSOM’s support for the resolution of the conflict in Las Anod, a disputed area between Puntland and the self-proclaimed region of Somaliland and the capital of the Sool region. (For background, see the Somalia brief in our October Monthly Forecast and 6 September What’s in Blue story.) The initial draft proposed by the penholder requested UNSOM to continue to provide support and to use its good offices to facilitate the peaceful resolution of the dispute in Las Anod and its surrounding areas. It appears that some Council members—including the A3 members (Gabon, Ghana, and Mozambique), China, and Russia—proposed removing the term “good offices”, noting that the mission has the mandate to assist the Somali government in the peaceful resolution of the conflict. During the Council’s latest meeting on Somalia, held on October 19, China said that “UNSOM should carry out their good offices on the basis of respective ownership of the Somali authorities and safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia”. The UK therefore added language in the draft resolution in blue requesting UNSOM to continue to provide support to efforts undertaken by the Somali government to pursue inter- and intra-clan reconciliation at the local, regional, and national level towards the peaceful resolution of the dispute in Las Anod and the surrounding areas, including through engaging with all parties where necessary.
It appears that preambular language describing the situation in Las Anod also prompted discussion. In her remarks at the October 19 Council meeting, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and head of UNSOM Catriona Laing said that although the situation in Las Anod is calm, the potential for relapse into violence exists. Some members—such as the A3, China, and Russia—maintained that the draft text needs to reflect that the situation is currently calm and stabilizing in light of the Somali government’s efforts. In the draft resolution in blue, the UK included language expressing concern about the situation in Las Anod and surrounding areas, while calling on all parties to continue to exercise restraint and encouraging peaceful dispute resolution. Taking into account the concerns of some of these members, the draft text in blue also welcomes the efforts and initiatives of the Somali government, Ethiopia, and clan elders, while recalling Council members’ 7 June press statement on the situation in Las Anod.
The draft resolution in blue also includes new language in its operative paragraphs encouraging UNSOM to coordinate the UN’s efforts and maximize joint approaches and joint programming in full cooperation with the Somali government and federal member states. This would include, among other things, supporting efforts to take a realistic and incremental approach to advance state-building, to conduct free and fair elections, to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to cooperate with international financial institutions to support the mobilization of economic and development assistance.
In the context of the ongoing military operations against Al-Shabaab, the draft resolution in blue introduces new operative language encouraging UNSOM to support the Somali government and the federal member states in the extension of government authority and to expand its coordination role on stabilization, bringing together donor support and community reconciliation, including in areas newly or recently recovered from Al-Shabaab and fragile areas, while taking into account the specific needs of vulnerable people and local social dynamics. (For background, see the Somalia brief in our October Monthly Forecast.)
During the negotiations, Russia apparently opposed the inclusion of previously agreed language from resolution 2657 of October 31, 2022, which last renewed UNSOM’s mandate, calling on the Somali government to ensure that national legislation pertaining to children and to sexual offenses are compatible with its obligations under international law and commitments on the protection of children and women, respectively. Russia apparently maintained that this language is “intrusive” and requested its removal. Subsequently, the UK included in the draft resolution in blue compromise language calling on the Somali government to ensure that legislation is compatible with its obligations under international law and commitments on the protection of children and women, without specifying the type of legislation.
The draft resolution in blue also includes new operative language pertaining to women, peace, and security (WPS). It encourages the Somali government and the federal member states to deepen cooperation at all levels to advance women’s political, social, and economic empowerment; ensure full, equal, and meaningful participation of women, as well as their involvement and representation at all levels of decision-making; to ensure that women fill at least 30 percent of the seats in both houses of parliament; and to support women’s rights, including their social, cultural, and economic rights through the elimination of poverty, and provision of education, employment, and development opportunities.
Another point of disagreement during the negotiations was over preambular language relating to climate change and climate financing. The initial draft text proposed by the penholder incorporated new language calling on member states to implement the outcomes of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement. It appears that although no member opposed this language, some Council members—including Brazil, China, and Ecuador—sought to include additional language calling for the implementation of climate financing obligations, among other things. Members were apparently unable to reach an agreement on the formulation, however, and the proposed provisions, both on the outcomes of the UNFCC and the Paris Agreement and on climate financing obligations, were not included in the draft resolution in blue.
Several other additions and amendments were made to preambular paragraphs, including language introduced by the penholder expressing deep concern at the serious threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs), explosive remnants of war (ERW), and the proliferation of weapons and ammunition. Text underlining the importance of consolidating the peace and security gains made in Somalia, which was proposed by the A3 members, was also incorporated in the draft resolution in blue.
*Post-script (29 October, 5:45 pm EST): A previous version of this story indicated that the vote will take place on Monday morning (October 30. After the story’s publication, the meeting was postponed to Tuesday morning (October 31) because an emergency meeting on the situation in Gaza was scheduled for Monday afternoon.
**Post-script (30 October, 5:00 pm EST): Following the issuance of the story, the A3 members (Gabon, Ghana, and Mozambique) proposed amendments in the operative paragraph of the draft resolution in blue requesting the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to work closely with the Somali government, the AU, and the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) to address collectively the practical implications of the drawdown of the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). They apparently sought to amend the paragraph by removing the language recalling “the expected drawdown of ATMIS throughout 2024” and the reference to the AU. Instead, they proposed incorporating language specifying ATMIS’ exit by December 2024 and requesting UNSOM to work with the Somali government and UNSOS to ensure continued UN presence in Somalia following ATMIS’ withdrawal. China and Russia supported the A3’s proposal but suggested the deletion of the entire operative paragraph as a way forward. The penholder subsequently deleted the paragraph referencing ATMIS’ drawdown and put the revised draft in blue. Apart from this amendment, the penholder’s draft remains the same as the one placed in blue on Friday (October 27).
***Post-script (October 31): On October 31, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2705, renewing the mandate of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) for one year.
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