Mr. President, Honorable Head of States and Governments, Dignitaries and Ladies and Gentlemen,It is a great honor and privilege to address you on this 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.
It is indeed my sincere belief that the General Assembly is vital in galvanizing multilateral efforts and actions for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and promoting inclusivity in all its forms to advance our global agenda for people centered development for common progress and prosperity. We, in this Assembly, more than ever before, must realize and work towards ensuring nobody or nation is left behind in the pursuit of progress and prosperity in this age of interdependence and interconnectivity.
The Government of the Federal Republic of Somalia warmly welcomes this year’s theme for the General Assembly which reminds us all on the importance to double our efforts through greater international cooperation to ensure we, as nations, individually achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of reducing poverty, improving the quality of education, addressing the adverse effects of Climate Change and promoting partnerships and inclusivity in all our actions at home. Partnerships in all their forms are a must if we are to overcome the greatest common challenges of our time, including security, poverty, climate change, and sustainably. In this globalized world, no nation, no matter how wealthy, strong or prepared, can individually stand-alone against the tide of global challenges which requires a common action and coordinated multilateral responses. We must strive to create the conditions for individual fulfillment and common prosperity in line with the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals.
I am grateful to be here with our valuable partners, of whom many are represented in this great Assembly today, for the constructive role they are playing in Somalia’s successful journey to full recovery from a very difficult past. We are also grateful for the role the United Nations has and continues to play in Somalia’s development journey on the ground. We are committed to working with the UN to advance our inclusive national development agenda.
Indeed, Somalia is a great example of the importance and success of the international multilateral system as it has benefitted from the support of both the UN and its member states bilaterally. Somalia’s road to recovery, led by its resilient People and Government has come a very long way has been, yet, we cannot be blind to or remain silent on the discontent with the rising inequality, poverty and divisions caused by unfair globalization which has become dominant in the world today. Without doubt, inclusivity, in all its manifestations, must come to the fore if we are to succeed in galvanizing multilateral efforts for global security, poverty eradication, quality education and climate action alongside the other development priorities that we have committed to in this very Assembly in 2015.
Somalia is also playing a key role in the Horn of Africa’s socio-economic development, and we are confident that the cooperation between the Horn of Africa countries will enhance economic development, political stability, social, cultural connectivity and most importantly security cooperation among the countries in the region. Horn of Africa region offers unrivalled opportunities for economic development and growth for its people if we can further strengthen the political, social and economic ties between our countries and our global partners. Horn of Africa states are not alone in working together towards a better future for their countries and people because we have many friends who are supporting us all along the way for the interest of peace and security in the wider world and we thank them.
While Somalia promotes Economic integration in the region, and encourages its business community to invest in countries in Greater Horn of Africa; we applaud Somali Community’s continues investment in the Republic of Kenya, which indeed contributes to the economic prosperity.
MR. PRESIDENT; FELLOW DELEGATES; LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:
Somalia and Kenya are neighbors on the Indian Ocean Coast of East Africa who enjoy peaceful and friendly relations. We owe much to Kenya for their steadfast support for the Somali people over the years. While our overall relations are excellent, our maritime boundary has never been delimited, and is the subject of disagreement between our two sister States. Bilateral negotiations did not achieve an agreement. In order to obtain a peaceful and equitable settlement, in 2014 and in conformity with international law, Somalia instituted proceedings before the International Court of Justice, the highest legal authority of the United Nations. We are very pleased that the Court found that it had jurisdiction to resolve the dispute and that it scheduled final hearings on the merits of the case for the first week of November this year.
Somalia, as a member State of the United Nations and a party to the Statute of the Court, is committed to seeing this judicial settlement process through to its end. Somalia has pledged to comply with the Court’s final Judgment, and to accept the boundary that is delimited by the Court. As a matter of international law, the Court’s judgment will be binding on Kenya, as well. And we trust that, when that judgment is issued and the boundary is established, a lasting settlement of this longstanding dispute will finally be achieved. In addition, on Sep 3 2019, peace and security council concluded that AU is not empowered to intervene this case before the court.
I would like further to report that at the margins of the 74th United Nation General Assembly in New York, and exactly on Tuesday night September the 24th, 2019, President Sisi of Egypt, who is also the current President of African Union convened and chaired a meeting between me, and President Uhuru of Kenya. The meeting which was very fruitful, we agreed to restore our good brotherly relationship, strengthening the diplomatic and political cooperation. We further agreed to leave the maritime dispute between the two countries to be resolved by the International Court of Justice. Somalia is committed to maintain good relationship with Kenya and to the rest of the countries in the region.
The Somali government is strongly committed to its ambitious and enabling peace building and state building agenda and we are making clear strides towards achieving inclusive politics, strengthening democracy and constructing the very rights based national institutions that are the pillars of strong societies.
I can proudly report that we have held successful regional elections in some Federal Member States in the build up to the planned national Parliamentary and Presidential elections in 2021 and we are determined to facilitate the success of this process through an inclusive Electoral Bill, voter registration and better public awareness of the importance of inclusive politics for national progress.
From all this, it is clear that Somalia is a historical example of reform, resilience and people driven progress and recovery. Today, our national discussions focus on how to deliver inclusive politics, public services, financial and economic reforms, growing the economy, good governance, advancing regional cooperation and how to finally defeat the last poisonous traits of international terrorism with our valuable partners at home and abroad.
Security has been our government’s focus and greatest public expenditure since taking office because everything else, including poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion, depends on it.
We, alongside our international partners, are working tirelessly to rid the last pockets of violent extremism and their terrorist activities from Somalia. This task is by no means easy because of the violent, cowardly and opportunistic guerilla tactics Al-Shabaab terrorist uses including bombing innocent civilians and private businesses. However, with our holistic strategy of de-radicalization, successful military offensives, the recovery of territory from Al-Shabaab and the strengthening of Somalia’s National Army and security capabilities, we are confident that our joint efforts with AMISOM and other international partners will bear fruit for Somalia, its people and for regional and global stability.
We are building a well-trained armed force and rights-based security and accountable security institutions to take over the responsibility of securing Somalia. Our government, in partnership with AMISOM and other key international supporters, is working hard to achieve this through the Transition plan in line with the National Security Architecture.
In this regard, I want to thank the brave Somali security forces – men and women, all the Troop Contributing Countries of the African Union within AMISOM and all our international partners that support the security operations in different and important ways.
By no means are these comprehensive reforms easy but with commitment and absolute determination, we have biometrically registered all the Somali National Army and the human resource audit of the wider security sector in its entirety will be completed shortly. The biometric registration enabled the government to eliminate ghost workers, assess operational readiness of the security personnel and make cost savings that will be used elsewhere to further strengthen security for the Somali people. I am convinced Somali’s successful security sector reforms will provide us with the best possible security apparatuses to safeguard the wellbeing and progress of the Somali people.
Indeed, quality education liberates, empowers, instills hope and unleashes the great dreams, ambitions and innovations that will create a better world for us all. All development anchors on education and, most certainly, galvanizing multilateral efforts for any development anywhere must start with national and international support for education in all its forms.
In Somalia a key symbol of our national recovery has been the enormous expansion of education provision across the public and private sector in all stages of learning. We fully understand the need to encourage, support and build on the existing public-private partnership model of education delivery with strong oversight by the Federal Government.
Despite our difficult past, today the design and delivery of Quality Education and its governance and delivery framework is the most crucial education objectives we set as a government.
This is critical for our young generation to catch up and even perhaps leapfrog in order to compete in a globalized economy and benefit from and contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Given the importance of Quality Education to Somalia’s peace building and state building processes as well as its overall development, our government has embarked on an ambitious reform program which aims to expand access to education for children, adolescents and youth, including, those from marginalized communities, the disabled and girls and women. We are focused very clearly on improving the quality of learning outcomes, especially, at early grade levels, for all learners. We are also committed to increasing enrolment rates, ensuring the market relevance of learning opportunities to sustainably grow the economy, creating much needed jobs and injecting further confidence in our people and country’s prospects.
On a practical note, the Somali Federal Government is in the process of developing an inclusive and relevant National Curriculum alongside rehabilitating old public schools while working hard to establish technical vocational schools and investing in the next generation of teachers and leaders in our schools.
For the 5th year in a row Somalia held the National Exam successfully and, most of our students, including those that had disabilities such as blindness participated and succeeded. We are proud of them all and will continue to improve their learning opportunities and employment prospects through better policies, stronger partnerships, accessible facilities and educational leadership. To strengthen quality education globally, we must all share good practice, transfer successful policies and make the necessary link between education, opportunities and international peace, security and development.
Somalia is very committed to improving the status of the country’s environment and to promoting community resilience for both present and future generations.
Somalia has taken major steps in instituting environmental management authorities to implement changes on a national level. The establishment of the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change within the Office of the Prime Minister, for example, is a step in the right direction and we are confident that this Directorate will effectively lead the development and implementation of environmental regulations and policies. This is evidence of our commitment to climate action for a better, cleaner and inclusively prosperous environment.
Indeed, climate change threatens to increase the frequency and severity of environmental shocks, and Somalia, the country with the longest coastline in Continental Africa, is already experiencing the effects of rising sea levels and a rising average temperature that is exacerbated by the effects of degraded lands and deforestation.
The 2017 drought in Somalia had significant impact on the environment, economy and natural resources sector, with ecosystem losses and damages estimated at an equivalent of more than 600 million US dollars.
The loss in productivity of the natural capital indicates difficult times ahead for the livestock-based Somali economy, more so because as much as 93% of pasture resources have been desiccated in some regions of the country. This has directly and indirectly affected the lives and livelihoods of the 6.2 million persons, about 60% of the population, who depend on pastoralism.
Due to this vulnerability, Somalia’s economy could take much longer to recover, given that it continues to suffer the repetitive occurrence of climate related hazards. The drivers of vulnerability and fragility in Somalia are complex and therefore require comprehensive and long-term solutions for integrating sustainable natural resource management and a global environmental agenda in Somalia’s recovery and National Development Plan. The lessons from our experience is that Climate Action is urgently needed to reverse the catastrophic environmental damage which poses an existential threat to our collective future.
Let me assure you that my government is fully committed to the outcomes of the Paris Agreement and equally, other multilateral environmental agreements which protect our planet and safeguard the future for all. In this regard, we strongly urge the full implementation and enforcement of UN Security Council Resolution 751 which requires all member states to take all necessary measures to prevent the direct and indirect import and export of Charcoal from Somalia. This will not only save the environment but deny international terrorist a source of terror financing which they depend on to hurt the innocent and most vulnerable in our society.
Poverty is one of the greatest pains a people and nation can suffer. The Government of Somalia is working hard with its people to build a more sustainable future free from poverty with strong social protections.
Today, we are on the verge of completing an inclusive Ninth National Development Plan which will guide the national strategic policies and frameworks for eradicating poverty in Somalia. The process of conducting the National Development Plan was inclusive, participatory and it promoted accountability, transparency and common responsibility for future implementation.
Our approach to eradicating poverty is to create economic opportunities for our people and, to do this, we are engaged in an ambitious and successful fiscal and economic reforms program guided by the International Monetary Fund Staff Monitored Program to achieve debt cancellation by early next year through the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC).
According to the IMF, our performance to date has been strong and we have achieved much in a short space of time. We continue to raise domestic revenue, improve national budgeting processes, make our financial system more secure and transparent, while instilling fiscal discipline in our national operations.
We are working closely both bilaterally and multilaterally with all our key partners and stakeholders, including the Somali people and International Financial Institutions, to secure debt cancellation for Somalia. Achieving this will allow Somalia to get access to the valuable and much needed concessionary resources that would complement our national domestic revenue mobilization to cover the cost of eradicating poverty, improving public services, including Quality education and security and, taking effective actions to safeguard our future against the scourge of climate change.
Alongside economic and fiscal reforms, our government has championed a zero-tolerance approach to corruption so that every Dollar is spent on the public good. If we are to eradicate poverty, we cannot afford to lose a cent to corruption. Accordingly, we must always ensure value for money in public expenditure and tackle corruption head on. This is why I signed the historic Anti-Corruption Bill last week and my government is determined to deliver on its content for the people of Somalia.
Let me conclude by reiterating Somalia’s strong support for galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, Quality Education, Climate Action and Inclusion in all its forms. In this globalized age of uncertainty, common threats and opportunities, we must all be in it together to achieve common progress and inclusive prosperity.
Our global journey to Sustainable Development maybe long but every step we take together will be rewarded with stronger societies, a more equitable and connected world and a community of nations strengthened and empowered through this collaboration.
I thank you Mr. President. I thank you all in the Assembly.