Opening Speech by SRSG Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah to the Instanbul Conferece

26 May 2010

Opening Speech by SRSG Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah to the Instanbul Conferece

Istanbul, 21 May 2010

HE Ambassador Cevikoz,


Distinguished Delegation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of the Secretary-General of the United Nations I would like to first of all thank the Government of Turkey for its invitation to convene this Istanbul Conference on Somalia with the United Nations
Before going further, I want to seek your understanding for any problems which may arise in connection to organizational matters.

President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed is on his way to Istanbul. His trip has not been easy due to many internal and also external obstacles and challenges.
Mr President
It is important to note that this conference is not a pledging conference. The priority is not to raise funds but to address decisively the nexus: security, governance, development and humanitarian. These sectors are closely interrelated. They should be addressed simultaneously. There is no effective way of addressing successfully one of these areas. We have to act on all these fronts at the same time.
Mr President
It is precisely at this level that this conference can bring in an important added value with a large private sector participation. In my office we have given special attention to the role of the private sector in stabilizing Somalia. During meetings in January and March 2008, June 2009 and today, we have provided the right and legitimate space to businessmen and women to present their views on how to bring peace to their troubled country. Along with the Somali private sector we also have a very significant participation of the international private sector from Asia, Africa, America, the Middle East, Japan etc. We recognize and salute this participation and that of development agencies and the international organizations.
There is agreement on the positive role made by both national and international private sectors in helping Somali people in many areas: livestock, remittances, telecommunications, energy, transportation, banking, fisheries etc.
We are workıng on a document called Principles for an enabling envıronment for responsible business activities in Somalıa. These include suggestions for the Somali authorities, development partners and the UN and the private sector. The Principles are expected to include elements to encourage the development of a flourishıng private sector through, among others, the promotion of transparency and accountability, corporate responsibility and the building of public private partnerships.
Mr President
As a non-pledging conference our conference is meant to be a result orientated. I mean by that a forum to encourage the Government and the Somali private sector to work in partnership to address essential infrastructure. They should seek all possible external support from development partners.
In one of its segments tomorrow, the conference will address political and security issues. The continued threats to stability by weaknesses within the Government, violence by extremists and their foreign allies and piracy constitute a serious danger to Somalia, the region and the international community. These threats should be addressed at all levels: political, economic and military. Here also responses to threats should be simultaneous and credible. I continue to believe that we need to support the Government making it a stronger representative of Somalis and a more able partner to the international community. That support is materialized particularly through the training of Somali forces, with a prominent role played by the EU and other partners.
I would like to emphasize here the importance of the international community working together for Somalia's benefit and being seen to do so. In particular I would like to commend the MOU recently signed between the AU, IGAD and my office.
On piracy, the international maritime presence off the Somali coast is a welcome development. As we all agree that the root causes of piracy are on land, efforts should be made to help local communities. In addition it is useful to consider some sort of payments to a Trust Fund from those fishing off the Somali coast. These payments should help generate new revenues for the Government and other authorities and hence promote stability.
Mr President
Overall the crisis in Somalia concerns Somalis but it is also our problem. A determined effort is needed from the international community to address seriously and decisively the Somali crisis. This support should be matched by responsible government actions.
In concluding, one of the most interesting expectations of this conference is its very venue in Istanbul. The involvement of Turkey as a new and additional partner is most important to enriching our views, approaches and actions.
Thank you