Istanbul, 24 May 2010 – Following the closing of the Istanbul Conference on Somalia, the UN Special Representative, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, today said that the three-day meeting was "a major success" which resulted in "important concrete proposals".
"This has been a major breakthrough for both the international community and for the people of Somalia, with over 50 member states, including 20 ministers, participating in this initiative to begin building viable economic structures in Somalia that will sustain peace and stability."
The three day meeting, which ran from 21 – 23 May, was co-convened by the United Nations and the Government of Turkey. In addition to the high level meetings, there were also practical roundtable consultations and discussions which took place between the Somali private sector, members of the international business community and development partners on six priority sectors: telecommunications, transport infrastructure, banking and remittances, livestock, fisheries and alternative energy. The roundtables each concluded with recommendations to advance the ground work laid out in the meetings including establishing sector policies and regulatory frameworks and developing sector-specific capacity building.
The Istanbul Declaration issued at the end of the conference highlighted the need to strengthen the implementation of the Djibouti Agreement. It reaffirmed that "the current hardships and insecurity will require a determined, long-term effort from the Somali Government to promote political cooperation and build strong government institutions" while appealing to those who threaten to undermine the peace process.
The Declaration also acknowledged the contribution of the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and the role of regional organisations, including the Intergovernmental Authority of Development (IGAD) and the League of Arab States (LAS) as well as the Islamic Development Bank. The Bank proposed forming a Task Force to bring together development partners and agencies to "respond to Somalia's critical needs pending the stabilisation of the country." The Task Force will be chaired by Turkey.
"On behalf of the Secretary-General and the United Nations, I would like to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister and the Government of Turkey for hosting the Conference, to members of the private sector, development partners and UN agencies and to the Somali business community and the Diaspora who have the potential to help determine the economic future of their country, and the peace and stability that go hand and hand with it," Mr Ould-Abdallah said.
"I would also like to reiterate that we support the Government and the Parliament and encourage their determination to remain united and focused on priorities."