➢ Deputy Prime Minister/Acting PM, Members of Cabinet, Members of Parliament, Ambassadors, heads of development agencies, UN Agencies, distinguished co-chairs, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, all protocols observed.
➢ Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself and bring you Benadir Regional Administration’s (BRA’s) update at the same time. I also share with co-chairs remarks to welcome the new Director of Aid Coordination Unit and at the same time to hugely thank Ahmed Ainte for his contributions to this forum.
➢ First and foremost, I would like to deeply send my sincere condolences to the victims of last Friday’s terrorist attack (45 people died and 36 were injured. My administration was working all night to provide emergency response to the families of the victims, clearing rubles and cleaning streets so that life becomes normal to our citizens.
➢ Mogadishu is the second fastest growing city in the world and has the largest population in the country compared to any other Federal Member State. This city has unique needs, and the burden on this city cannot be taken lightly.
➢ We are tasked to provide services to a population of three million, in a city that faces the highest instances of terrorist attacks. That is coupled with the highest influx of IDP’s, of half a million people, who fled conflict and mainly drought and famine.
➢ The task at hand is immense, but I would not take this role if I did not believe that we can make Mogadishu great again. I grew up in an era where Mogadishu was once one of the safest cities in the world, and life was not so hard.
➢ My vision is a clean and beautiful city where tourists are enticed to come here because of the safety and cleanliness of our capital, with a quality of life that is of the highest standards. Very soon we will witness under my watch, the Mogadishu where you can walk freely and park your car wherever you want, the Mogadishu where you can go out in the evening with your family and enjoy the cool breeze coming from the beach, the Mogadishu where you can sit outside your favorite restaurant sipping your favorite camel tea.
➢ I believe in engaging the public and ensuring that we are representing them accurately. Thus, holding public consultations to gauge their wants and needs is of top priority for me. I believe in a bottom up approach. That is the only way we reach our optimum goal of one person one vote by 2020. Within our first month we did public consultation on elections with all key stakeholders and we began a serious of live debates and discussions with public in order to listen their views, feedback and comments that are vital to our decision making process.
➢ My goal is to improve upon the effectiveness and efficiency of the institutions in place by improving on the Financial Systems already in place at BRA and implementing good governance with accountability and transparency in place. We have already achieved an HR Audit, we pay all of our staff via direct deposit, except a small number that are paid with Somali Shillings. We have our own self-funded PFM system, transparent reporting system on expenditure, and as of yesterday, we have clear departmental structure and ToR’s in place. We can proudly say that we have already met most of the 2018 milestones of the Institutions Pillar. Yesterday I opened a training program to our PFM team and Tomorrow we plan to launch a new program where services are delivered at local district level as we want to be closer to our citizens.
➢ My mission is to deal with security issues in a more comprehensive and strategic manner. For the first month that I am in post, I have had very serious strategic meetings with security apparatus, and agreed to form a partnership agreement so that peace committees as regional, district and neighborhood levels address all the challenges that exist. District Commissioners now have more powers than ever to deal with security as I have negotiated well with security chiefs of the country as well as to security chiefs at Benadir Region.
➢ The stabilization forces in the capital city now operate in a more efficient way as District Commissioners and Security chiefs at district levels plan ahead of each operation so that problematic areas are dealt with consensus arrangements. As part of the partnership agreement we want our security forces to be more accountable and transparent to the public. Therefore, protecting our citizens with dignity and pride is our motive while ensuring that human rights of every citizen are protected. We have also agreed to engage with public in order to listen their concerns and act on it.
➢ Having said this, the challenges are enormous, especially with respect to resources for the security sector that are vital in the fight against extremism. Without adequate equipment and additional financing of the security sector, the little gains that have made will be lost. If we want better quality of life and stronger economy, we need to strongly improve on the security of this city.
At our last SDRF we’ve stressed the need for transport and infrastructure. We commend the ongoing activities especially on the highway linkages of Afgoia and BALCAD sides. Goods and resources will arrive to the capital faster, and vice versa and the economy will see great improvements. We also look forward to the implementation of the “Somalia Urban Resilience and Recovery (SURR) Project Phase 1” and welcome the concept note on drainage and sewage of Mogadishu that will eventually make its way to the SDRF and the Pillar Working Groups.
Internally Displaced People – Humanitarian Situation.
With over 500,000 Internally Displaced Persons, BRA is the largest host of IDPs in all of Somalia. IDPs continue to arrive in the region due to conflicts from neighboring regions. In the last 3 weeks alone, we’ve had influx of nearly 3000 newly displaced families. The conditions across the spectrum are disparaging and most IDP camps are among the worst in the world. In collaboration with partners, we are continuously working to respond to the chronic humanitarian needs.
However, BRA’s vision is to move from chronic humanitarian interventions to focusing on sustainable durable solutions. We want improve human security, living standards and enact sustainable viable solutions for the reintegration and resettlement of IDPs and returnees living within the region.
To achieve stated objectives, BRA is creating a Durable Solutions Unit (DSU) led by our Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Dr Hodan Ali.
DSU’s primary roles will serve as IDP and returnee advocacy, policy development, capacity development and coordination office within BRA.
The goal of the DSU is to reverse the trend of protracted displacement and significantly reduce the number of IDPs currently displaced within the region with a vision of durable solutions.
BRA leadership sees these strategies as the only sustainable long-term durable solutions through which IDPs and returnees will progressively integrate/return and resume normal life. DSU will work with humanitarian and development agencies to pursue strategies and activities to bring displacement to a sustainable end. I ask all partners to fully support us as we develop the capacity if the DSU.
ON the issue of evictions:
The disparaging situation for IDPs is all to commonplace and given the random and sudden evictions by landowners it is easy to see how the events of 29-30 December are inescapable without full cooperation off all relevant actors led by the local government.
IDPs are extremely vulnerable and should there are currently no streamlined mechanisms between aid organizations and local authorities to ensure that the needs of the IDPs are improved.
To learn more on the issue of evictions, and in particular to understand the incidents that have occurred on December 29 -30, which have led to the displacement of over 4000 families, destruction of property and goods, I have appointed a fact finding committee to look at what led to the evictions, what were the gaps in our system that have led to such inhumane and illegal proceedings and what lessons can be learned to prevent from such incidents to occur. The findings of this report will be released next week.
In addition, my administration will be holding consultation forums to better understand the current status of IDPs, needs, HLP issues and how BRA can engage in a durable solutions for IDPs.
➢ Employments, Education and Health
➢ With the support of our donors, BRA has created employment opportunities for over 3,000 youth, and we would like to continue in that path, and strive to create more job opportunities, especially for the vulnerable groups, and the groups that make up the majority of the population (women and youth). However, we worry the lack to continuation of these brilliant programs, as within the next of couple of months all these 3,000 young people will be unemployed.
➢ We would like to see more support to TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training), more Public-Private Partnerships, and enticement of entrepreneurships to boost our economy and increase job opportunities.
➢ In conclusion I would like to stress the need to give Benadir its fair share, especially if we base funding on not only need, but by population, growth rate, and challenges being faced.
➢ Lastly, all implementation should be done at the local level, and Benadir should be implementer of most activities that relate to Humanitarian (IDP’s, Wash etc) and like programs. There are donor supported NGO’s that are engaged in activities that we are not aware of. We need to know from the beginning, and where BRA is not implementer, we need to be involved in the coordination and M&E of them.
Benadir Regional Administration (BRA)