First of all, On behalf of the Federal Government of Somalia, I would like to welcome you all to this high level meeting on Strand 4, Preventing & Countering Violent Extremism (P/CVE), a platform that would bring together and enhance our collective approach and efforts against violent extremism in Somalia.
Let me begun to thank our co-chair HE Andreas von Uexkull, Swedish Ambassador to Somalia for accepting to co-chair Stand 4, this is a clear indication of the commitment and determination of Sweden to galvanize international efforts towards Strand 4.
I would also like to thank UK Government for convening the famous London Conference on May 2017, which produced a Security Pact that Somalia and international partners have agreed a partnership working in addressing security issues more strategically by introducing Comprehensive Approach to Security (CAS).
I would also like to thank Anne-Chris Visser from UNSOM for her commitment and determination towards Strand 4 and all the achievements we have made together so far, she was behind the scene pushing us to the limit. We also need to thank representatives from the European Institute of Peace (EIP) for providing a workshop to the technical working group and assisting federal member states to devise their local action plans.
From the outset, let me express the Federal Government of Somalia’s commitment to security sector reform, linking up to the Comprehensive Approach to Security (CAS). As a result of this, we have begun the implementation of the National Security Architecture constructively through effective cooperation and collaboration between the Federal Government and Federal Member States.
As you can see from the agenda, today is another important day as we aim to adopt our national strategy for preventing violent extremism and devising local action plans that is fit for purpose.
Since the London Conference, we have made important gains. As we have seen on the 7th October 2017 during the launch of Strand 4 and today’s second high level meeting we see the interest from all sides and your presence here shows your full commitment, as this is an important strand in the comprehensive approach to security.
In Somalia we have made important gains in disrupting the activities of Al-Shabaab militarily with the support of our African Union brothers (AMISOM), and displacing the terrorists from most of the regions in South & Central of Somalia. But, while military power is necessary, it is not sufficient on its own to create lasting peace in Somalia.
The National Strategy offers a multi-pronged approach that aims to win the hearts and minds of the people so that we will ultimately have a vibrant and inclusive society that can contribute to bringing peace and stability in Somalia.
The role of Strand 4 is to support operationalizing the National Strategy and Action Plan and facilitate the implementation of the National Strategy that addresses prevention and countering of violent extremism from reconciliation, countering narratives, and implementing a curriculum that promotes peacefulness of Islam. It will also advance the National Defector Programme for former combatants encompassing both low- and high-level defectors.
Another area on which the Strategy will focus is the on-going reconciliation efforts addressing the root causes for citizens joining terrorist groups. Since Somali society is clan-based, Al-Shabaab take advantage of existing grievances within communities (such as marginalised groups, or neglected rural areas). Reconciliation can help communities bolster local resilience against Al- Shaabab and at the same time reinforce Somali traditions, values and cultures.
As we move forward our responsibilities and specific tasks include;
• Identifying priorities for enabling Somali coordination on P/CVE;
• Identifying the gaps/needs in operationalizing of the Somali PCVE strategy;
• Coordinating responsibilities among partners for filling the identified gaps/needs;
• Identifying sources of support to fill gaps/needs;
• Implementing specific PCVE targeted interventions;
• Monitoring progress made in operationalizing of the national strategy and action plans.
Since the issue of P/CVE is a cross cutting issue, we agreed to have a coordination mechanism in order to streamline the efforts and the implementation of the strategy.
We have put together a technical working group consists of focal points from 8 line ministries that have a role to play on Strand 4, together with focal points from Federal member states including Benadir region as well as to representatives from the office of the Defectors Program, Office of the Prime Minister and the office of the President. Office of the Prime Minister will oversea the coordination role from Somalia side, while Sweden will lead the coordination from international partners.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of coordination as we all have a role to play in preventing and countering violent extremism. Because of the enormity of our task we urgently need to develop excellent partnership working and an implementation mechanism, which is locally driven to ensure we are responsive to the local dynamics.
Finally, we have come a long way and laid down strong foundations on preventing and countering violent extremism as we have a comprehensive national strategy and action plan that came though rigorous consultation with stakeholders. Furthermore, we all agree that excellent partnership working is the only way that we can better address the violent extremism.
Having strategies and action plan is the beginning of a long journey that we all need to be together during implementation stages. If we continue the current progress since London conference in May, we can further make advancement to eliminate all threats posed by terrorists groups in Somalia.