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Brussels, 21 May 2010

Commissioner Piebalgs attends High-Level Conference on Somalia in Istanbul

Andris Piebalgs, the European Commissioner for Development, will be in Istanbul on 22nd May to attend the High-level session of the "Political, Security and Reconstruction Conference for Somalia", co-convened by the United Nations and the Governments of Somalia and Turkey. Also attending will be a number of Heads of State and Government, Foreign and Development Ministers, as well as the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon. This event will provide a platform for leaders to discuss the situation in Somalia, in particular security issues and stability in the region, at a time when the political situation is deteriorating. The specific issue of reconstruction will also be addressed with the participation of some civil society representatives and the business community members from both Somalia and the international community.

Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs said: “There is no development without security and no security without development. We have to address the grassroots causes of instability in Somalia to allow a sustainable reconstruction of the country, as well as of the whole region. Cooperation and coordination at international level is key to provide new impetus to the ongoing peace process in Somalia".

This conference is part of an ongoing series. It takes place one year after the Brussels conference on Somalia and a month following the International Contact Group (ICG) on Somalia, which met in Cairo. The conference will not only cover political and security issues but also development and reconstruction activities and rehabilitation of physical infrastructure to strengthen the Somali economy, create employment opportunities and generate revenue.

In more recent years, Somalia has been high on the international agenda due to the humanitarian situation and increasing incidences of piracy off its coast.

The present situation in Somalia poses a threat to itself, to countries in the sub-region and beyond, through potential spill over of terrorism, piracy, illegal trafficking of goods and illegal migration. In the past two years, some progress has been made. The Djibouti Agreement, signed in August 2008, marked a milestone that strengthened the political basis of the "Transitional Federal Institutions", under the leadership of President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed. Cooperation at international level between International Contact Group (ICG) and one on piracy (CGPCS) – needs to be ensured in order to coordinate international efforts to tackle grassroots.

EC Aid to Somalia

The EU is by far the biggest donor to Somalia in terms of development assistance. The European Commission alone is currently supporting 87 projects with an ongoing financial contribution of EUR 180 million. More funds remain available.

Projects are mainly in three sectors:

- Governance and security, including support to institutional building, local governance and decentralisation, electoral and constitution making processes, reconciliation, rule of law, respect of human rights and support to Somali Non State Actors.

- Education, comprising access to primary and secondary education and adult literacy.

- Economic Development and Food Security: support to the agriculture and livestock sectors, food security programmes and early warning systems.

These recent years, humanitarian funding for Somalia from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) has averaged around € 45 million per year. ECHO focus has been in support of health, nutrition, water and sanitation, livestock, food security, in particular to the Internally Displaced. ECHO is also providing assistance to the Somali refugees in Kenya.

The European Commission is also funding the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM): EUR 99.5 million has been committed by the EC to AMISOM since 2007, whilst an additional commitment is presently considered.

As a part of its comprehensive approach to the situation in Somalia, the EU has also launched the European Union Training Mission Somalia (EUTM), which – in close collaboration with Uganda, the United States and the African Union – intends to create the embryo of the future efficient national army of Somalia.

The EU is also at the forefront of the international efforts to fight piracy off the Somali coast with its first ever naval operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta.

More information

Commissioner Piebalgs' website:

Commission's website on Somalia:

Other websites:



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