Thank you, President Ahmed Abdi Kariye, and your team, for the warm welcome that you have extended to us today.
I am here today with Cesar Arroyo, the Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Somalia, and also Jacqueline Olweya, who is the Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Somalia.
We are very pleased to be in Dhusamareb today. We have come to discuss with the President and his ministers the work of the United Nations in support of Galmudug. This work ranges from support for ongoing reconciliation, security and stabilization efforts to providing humanitarian and development assistance.
Let me offer a few specific examples.
With funding from the Italian government and in collaboration with the Galmudug authorities, the World Food Programme has started construction of a fishing jetty in the Hobyo district, beginning last December.
The project will provide easier access and docking points for fishing boats, with the objective of supporting the local fishing industry and facilitating export once it is finished in the summer of this year.
The project goes beyond construction. With local NGO partners, the World Food Programme is also training the local community in new fishing skills and fishing preservation methods.
The Hobyo jetty project is part of the World Food Programme’s ‘food systems’ approach which involves supporting networks that are needed to produce and transform food, and ensure that it reaches consumers. Investments in food systems improve long-term resilience and self-reliance of communities around Somalia.
This project is in addition to WFP’s core humanitarian programme which provides food, cash or vouchers to some 300,000 needy citizens of Galmudug every month, and we expect that help to be scaled up during the remainder of 2021.
The United Nations Development Programme has been providing technical support with Galmudug’s Ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation in part to help the ministry develop its core functions.
In addition to funding the actual construction of the Ministry’s building, UNDP has supported training of more than 100 government officials on issues related to federalism and inter-governmental relations. The aim of the training is to enable them to constructively engage in discussions between the Federal Government and Federal Member States.
The UN Development Programme’s support has also included facilitating participation of more than 1,000 government officials, civil society representatives, elders, women and youth leaders in reconciliation-related conferences, consultations and workshops. The funding for this support has generously been provided through a Multi Partner Trust Fund from Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the Peace Building Fund.
We hope to be able to undertake further projects like these, and for that reason, we are also here to listen closely to what the Galmudug authorities hope for and expect from the United Nations in 2021 so that we can better work together to meet the needs of the people of Galmudug.
On the political front, the President and I discussed the wider political situation in Somalia, particularly the preparations for elections. In this regard, I again commend President Ahmed Kariye’s efforts in trying to resolve the dispute over the implementation of the electoral plan, and I encouraged him to continue playing a role in maintaining contact between the leaders of the Federal Government and Federal Member States.
We also discussed the importance of resolving outstanding contentious issues so that a credible electoral process can take place across Somalia. Once again, I reiterate the view of international partners that a spirit of consensus and collaboration, putting the good of the country first, is what is needed at this time to ensure Somalia remains on a clear path to peace and stability.
We urge all of Somalia’s leaders to make every effort to engage in dialogue in a collegial spirit so that the national elections are held on the basis of broad consensus, rooted in the September 17th Agreement, and underpinned by transparency, fairness and inclusivity.
Once again, Mr. President, my sincere thanks for your time and hospitality. We look forward to working together with you and your team, and the people of Galmudug, in 2021 to build a better future together.