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Joint Needs Assessment And Its Implications For Somaliland
Cc: Shir guddoonka labada gole ee Somaliland
I write to you with regard to the Joint Needs Assessment initiative which the UN and the World Bank currently are jointly implementing in Somaliland/Somalia the aim of which is to produce the Reconstruction and Development Program (RDP). This document (RDP) is intended to form the basis on which the international assistance is mobilised and coordinated for the period 2006 to 2010. A team of international and Somali experts will prepare a set of priority reconstruction and development initiatives for presentation at the donor conference which is scheduled in 2006 to take place in Rome. Somaliland/Somalia need external support in terms of financial and technical assistance for both the consolidation of peace and in the case of Somaliland for capacity building and for long-term economic development. Hence I welcome this initiative. However, as the controversy the current workshop held in Hargeysa, demonstrate, unless urgent and drastic changes are made to the ways in which the JNA is run and organized it faces a great danger of becoming part of the problem it intends to alleviate.
I read and scrutinized the information provided by the JNA web site, I would to make reference to the world bank country re-engagement note and the EC strategy for aid to Somalia 2002-2007 and having regard to the well documented atrocities, devastation and destruction that the union with south Somalia brought to the lives of majority of the people of Somaliland and the impressive achievements that Somaliland made since it severed link with south Somalia, I am appalled and dismayed by the picture that emerged from my reading of the above reports.
Somaliland has democratically elected representatives (president and vice president, district councils and national parliament). This is what the European Union has said about Somaliland Somaliland has remained peaceful and stable and is making good progress economically, socially and politically. Parliamentary elections took place at the end of September 2005 and passed peacefully and in a free and fair manner. It is these democratically elected representatives that have the mandate to speak on behalf of and represent the interest of the people of Somaliland.
Somaliland was not a party to the protocol which forms that basis of the whole concept of JNA. Information provided on the JNA web site clearly and unequivocally shows that the basis for the JNA was an agreement signed by the prime minister of the jowhar based TFG and the representative of the UN-secretary-General, Ambassador Winston Tubman in February 2005.
Further more, the same site states that it was the TFG that requested the JNA to be undertaken. Hence, the people of Somaliland, their legitimate and democratically elected representative never had the opportunity to have their say on this very important exercise. It goes without saying that World Bank, concerned EU member states and the EU commission have amble evidence on the injustices and atrocities that Somaliland had suffered while its affairs were run from southern Somalia. Barre’s regime [southern] was responsible for the killing of thousands of people from Somaliland. Somaliland was largely neglected during the reign of Siyad Barre [southern], with most public investment concentrated in the South.
The information provided by the JNA web site does not show that Somaliland is represented at the crucial coordination support group (CSG), which oversees the operations of the JNA. The summary of the issues discussed during the support group meeting held on 24/10/05 shows that one of the criteria for the selection of the experts from the Somali Diaspora is that candidates should be acceptable to the TFG (jowhar camp) irrespective of their skills and expertise in their chosen field. Once again the people of Somaliland have been denied the opportunity to contribute and have their say on the all important operational issues of the JNA including the selection of the experts that are carrying out consultation, data collection, analysis and the crystallizing the priority needs of the country. Somaliland was not a participant or even an observer at the peace talks held in Kenya. Therefore, the TFG has no mandate to represent the interest of the people of Somaliland.
Somaliland was not represented when the composition and the structure of the CSG was discussed and agreed in August 2005 in Jowhar. Somaliland is not represented in Joint Planning committee, which has a strategic oversight of the JNA. The transitional federal government has 12 committee members and co-chairs this very important decision making body.
The exclusion of Somaliland representative from the all important committees and the failure to treat Somaliland as a separate entity from southern Somalia amounts to gross blunder and a mistake of gigantic proportions in the part of the Nairobi based UN/World Bank representatives and the countries that provide the funding for this important exercise. Somaliland does not appear to be involved in the initial consultation and discussions where all the important decisions were taken in relation to the content, structure and control mechanisms and the creation of decision-making bodies for JNA. All the agreements and meetings held for JNA relate solely to the dealings that the group running the JNA had with the TFG and their representatives. The documents published on the JNA web site appear to treat Somaliland as a region, which the TFG has a legitimate mandate to represent.
Somaliland has taken a totally different trajectory than the violence, warfare and plunder that Southern Somalia has sadly fallen into. Somaliland has made impressive achievements since it declared its independence in 1991. People of Somaliland had settled internal disputes using grass-root process of solving differences and reaching a consensus and have embarked to rehabilitate and reconstruct their country. Somaliland has successfully demobilised former militia fighters by absorbing them into its national army and the police force. There has been an impressive growth of civil society organizations committed to promoting respect for human rights and the rule of law. Somaliland has vibrant newspapers, which enjoy a freedom rarely seen in the neighbouring countries. These impressive achievements need to be supported not sidelined.
The UN Secretary General’s special representative to Somalia Mr. Francois Lonseny Fall visited Somaliland in November 2005 and paid tribute to the effort the people of Somaliland made in nurturing democracy and enhancing the stability of the country. Ambassador Fall said ‘ Somaliland had succeeded in rising above the conflict that has stifled progress and the peaceful aspiration of the vast majority of the people in southern Somalia for the past 14 years’ However, words alone will not sustain and nurture the achievements that Somaliland made and ignoring what Somaliland has achieved will send the wrong signal to southern Somalia and to the neighbouring countries and might cast doubt on the commitment of the international community in supporting democracy and the rule of law in the war torn countries in the horn of Africa and beyond.
Somaliland acknowledges the support that the international community has been providing to the country. However, I share the serious concern that members of my constituency has raised about the lopsided way that the JNA has been formulated and implemented. I urge members of UN/EU/World Bank based in Nairobi and the donor countries to rectify the situation and treat Somaliland as a separate entity for the purpose of helping the country to articulate its needs and priorities and present the identified priorities to the proposed donor conference.
Mohamed Hussein H. Isse, MP, Sahil Region
House of Parliament
Telephone: 00 2522446787