UNSOM Police

UNSOM Police, © UNSOM Police


To this day, violent conflict is present in several parts of the country. Even where conflicts have been settled; the situation often remains fragile and volatile. To turn this fragile state into lasting stability, it remains pivotal for citizens to have confidence in the provision of security and basic services through the state. Through its stabilization engagement, Germany aims to contribute towards establishing a trustful relationship between the Somali people and their state. To this end, Germany is involved in four interlinked focal areas: federalism and electoral support, peacebuilding, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR), as well as security sector reform.

A successful federalization process with popular support plays a crucial role in stabilizing Somalia. During the period of state failure, various political entities and societal structures emerged throughout the country. With the adoption of the 2012 transitional constitution, Somalia decided to develop a federal political system. So far, five “Federal Member States” have been established. They are integrated in the political decision-making process through the Upper House of the federal parliament, as well as through decision-making bodies such as the National Security Council. In order to defeat the jihadist al-Shabaab militia and to establish sustainable state structures, it remains key for the state to be able to provide required public services to the population in a timely manner. Decentralized structures can contribute significantly to meeting this popular demand. Therefore, Germany supports consolidating and strengthening the new Somali federal system, by cooperating with the Somali authorities, the United Nations, as well as with German partners such as the Max-Planck-Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law.

Somalia is currently also preparing for the first federal, universal suffrage (‘one-person, one-vote’) elections since 1969, scheduled to be held at the end of 2020. Countrywide, free, and fair elections would constitute a milestone for Somalia, offering the potential to consolidate the state-building gains made in recent years, while significantly enhancing the legitimacy of government institutions in the eyes of its population. Germany is contributing to Somalia’s electoral process by providing political support and – working through the United Nations – technical assistance to the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC).

Nomadic life in Puntland
Nomadic life in Puntland© Interpeace

In Somalia, as in other post-conflict settings, the recurrence of conflict is likely as long as the root causes and additional drivers of conflict persist. To limit this risk, the Federal Republic of Germany supports dialogue and reconciliation processes in Somalia on different levels. For example, Germany has supported the governments of two neighbouring but conflicting Federal Member States to jointly develop a conflict management strategy. Additionally, Germany supports processes that actively include the local population into state-building processes in a bottom-up-approach. The Berghof Foundation, a Berlin-based organization specialized in peace mediation, is one of the key implementing partners of local dialogue processes Germany has been working with since 2015.

Extending the authority of the state and sustaining peace and stability in Somalia is also dependent on weakening the jihadist al-Shabaab militia that remains in control of large parts of south- and central Somalia. In this regard, the German Federal Foreign Office supports several rehabilitation centres for disengaged al-Shabaab combatants and women formerly associated with the group. These centres provide pre-screened beneficiaries with psycho-social counselling, basic education, including civic and religious components, as well as vocational training. Moreover, these individuals are offered psycho-social and economic support to reintegrate in their communities. This contributes not only to local reconciliation processes but also creates incentives to disengage from al-Shabaab by providing an economic and social perspective especially for young people, who make up the large majority of the Somali population.

Police training
Police training© UNSOM Police

Another prerequisite for consolidating stability and the rule of law, as well as increasing Somalis’ trust in their state, relates to the establishment of accountable and professional police forces. Through the “Joint Police Programme” (JPP), Germany is supporting the Federal and State Police services in implementing the “New Policing Model”, which sets out a federal policing structure for Somalia. Concretely, the JPP provides training, non-lethal equipment, infrastructure, as well as technical and logistical support to the Somali police forces, while relying on the expertise of different UN agencies and the police components of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). As part of the internationally assisted reform of the Somali security sector, Germany also co-chairs the Sub-Working Group on the Police that brings together Somali policing forces on the federal and state level and international Partners.

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