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EU Commissioner for Development
A New Deal in the way we work with Somalia
Somalia Conference /Brussels
16 September 2013
Minister Suleyman, Minister Qasim, Vice-President Diop, Minister Bach, Honourable Ministers, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,It’s very good to see you all here this morning. I’m especially happy to see such a broad range of Somali actors at today’s conference. There is a strong civil society presence here, along with representatives from the Somalia’s federal government, parliament and regions and international partners, who are here to show their support for rebuilding Somalia.
This important session will address three critical aspects of the Somali Compact with a marked effect on the daily lives of the Somali people: economic foundations, basic social services and revenue.
Against a background of improved security and the establishment of public institutions that can inspire trust, they are the foundation stones on which Somalia’s people can build their hopes and better lives for themselves and their families. And they are the building blocks for a viable state that will ultimately mark Somalia out as a sovereign country.
The EU wants to launch a new approach to the way we work in Somalia. One thing is certain: we cannot continue carrying out cooperation in a “business as usual” manner. As we seek to empower Somalia politically, we must do so by empowering its institutions and its people across the country. To this end, we will have to link together political processes, actions to establish workable security and justice systems, economic growth, and service delivery. This is the strength of the New Deal and I urge everyone here today to embrace the process we have all embarked on alongside Somalia. It’s a process with an aim we can all support: namely seeing a Somali government in place that can carry out its sovereign functions.
We will be hearing how a New Aid architecture for the Compact can enable us to re-focus the huge number of interventions that development actors in Somalia undertake. The EU fully supports the creation of the Somali Reconstruction and Development Facility. I call on all of you here today to seek ways to bring your interventions under this coordination umbrella. It’s clear that only better coordination between actors and their interventions will address the real priorities and needs of the country. This will mean working together with the Somali government, parliament and civil society – something the EU strongly advocates.
Moreover, we are fully committed to the New Deal principles and the new financial framework. The newly created Facility will also pave the way, over time and as public financial management improves, for more ownership of and responsibility for external funds passing into the hands of the Somali Government.
As a lead partner in the New Deal, the EU stands ready to continue providing substantial financial support to Somalia.
In that vein, I am pleased to announce today that the EU will contribute up to 650 million euro for the three years covered by the Compact. This includes funds made available this year, which we will re-orient to meet Compact priorities, plus new funds in the coming 3 years. This funding will contribute to all peace and state-building goals.
In addition, the EU remains committed to supporting AMISOM beyond January 2014 within our budgetary means and on the basis of fair burden-sharing.
The Somali Compact presented here today should guide our cooperation in Somalia, aligning our support behind Somali priorities, which we have all worked hard to identify as those most critical for a better Somalia. And that’s just the start, because the Compact can be applied elsewhere as well: as the first of its kind, it will serve as an example for other situations of fragility, in the spirit of the Busan agreement.
After more than two decades, the Somali people urgently need to see progress in the provision of basic services. They deserve decent healthcare, clean water and a good education like anyone else. And like anyone else, they deserve to be able to develop their skills, get decent jobs and have real hopes for a better future.
Making progress in these areas will require a concerted effort by the government, local authorities and service delivery actors from the development and humanitarian worlds. Building resilient communities needs to be at the forefront of our future interventions. And the work must not stop there. A transparent and well-organised public financial management system is a prerequisite for enhancing reliable internal revenue generation and boosting donor confidence.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As always, the EU will live up to its responsibilities as a reliable and constructive development partner and play its part in taking Somalia forward. But partnership must be at the core of our efforts. We can only succeed in our aims if we work together.
And now I’m looking forward to hearing what our guest speakers and all of you here have to say on these and other issues this morning.
Special thanks must go to Ministers Hassan Suleyman and Qasim for sharing their vision and priorities with us; to Minister Friss Bach, for reminding us of the important context in which we work; and to Vice-President Diop, for outlining a vision and roadmap for the process of debt relief and re-engagement of the financial institutions.
And we should thank in particular those countries and organisations that have confirmed their ongoing commitment and support for the Somali people.
Today we will be taking a significant step forward. But we must keep moving after that. Follow-up is essential. We have to deliver on our promises. Important work lies ahead of us and we must not lose focus.
I would therefore welcome the early establishment of the High-level Partnership Forum as the main platform for policy dialogue and overseeing implementation of the mutual commitments in the Compact. I encourage the Forum to meet before the end of the year.
It is equally important that we pursue the normalisation of the relations between Somalia and the International Financial Institutions. In comparable situations the IFIs fund a considerable share of the costs involved in re-establishing basic services, economic regeneration and development. At this stage we do not have this tool in our toolbox.
Naturally, I am very proud that the EU has been entrusted with the task of acting as lead donor in the New Deal process in Somalia. And there is something else that should make us all immensely proud: it’s the collective effort that has secured a successful outcome for today’s Conference.
For that I thank each and every one of you.