Partnership Principles and Platform

Partnership Principles and Platform Session, Keynote Speech by H.E. Abdusalam H. Omer, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Federal Government of Somalia- Tuesday 23 February 2016

Excellencies, distinguished guests and ladies and gentleman,

Good afternoon to you all. I would like to thank H.E. Kani Torun for the introduction and you all for participating in this important meeting focused on Somalia’s future.

The Partnership Principles are mutual commitments outlined in the Somali Compact made by the government and development partners to improve the effectiveness of aid in Somalia. The importance of these Principles is that whereas the Peace building and State building Goals (PSGs) identify what should be done, the Partnership Principles outline how the government and development partners should work together to achieve the required development results for our countries progress.

Partnership Principles are a step in the right direction as the government and development partners are slowly transforming the way they do business in Somalia. While this new partnership was forged under the Somali Compact, the structures and procedures for coordination and improved aid effectiveness have built a foundation for partnership going forward.

The Partnership Principles are improving the Aid Architecture. Considering that the main coordination structures prior to the Somali Compact focused primarily on humanitarian assistance, I think we can all be proud of the relative speed at which the aid architecture for coordinating political, security and development efforts have been established.

This time last year, the different elements of the Somalia Development Reconstruction Facility (SDRF) were still struggling to even meet on a regular basis. Now, we have regional and federal representatives meeting with development partners on a monthly basis to sector coordination and individual projects in the PSG Working Groups.

In the SDRF Steering Committee meetings, representatives from the states and interim administrations are able to meet with the federal government and development partners to raise their concerns and report back on progress.

In the coming year, we hope to use this aid architecture and the forthcoming National Development Plan (NDP) to elevate the conversation to focus less on individual projects and more on portfolios as a whole to enable better coordination across partners 

 

The Compact

If the SDRF were a ship, the Compact would be our map. While we haven’t always agreed on the designated route, navigating the Compact together has taught us a great deal about how we work together. The Compact set out a broad set of priorities in which the many different stakeholders could see their individual priorities reflected.

Translating these priorities into concrete milestones for progress on the ground was a process of negotiation and consensus building. It taught us all many lessons that are now being applied in the development of the NDP, as the federal government seeks input from regional stakeholders on their priorities to produce a plan that will be significantly more consultative than the Compact.

Our experience with the Compact has also highlighted the importance of planning with development partners, who continue to provide the majority of public services such as health and education in Somalia. However, one of the weaknesses of the Compact was that the priorities were set without considering the available resources, both domestic and international. Our new NDP will need to be grounded in a more realistic understanding of the available financial resources.

Mutual Accountability

My final point is concerns the importance of mutual accountability to make development projects effective in Somalia.

The Partnership Principles spelled out that the Compact focused primarily on what development partners should do differently to improve aid effectiveness. However, through our joint work on Use of Country Systems, the government and development partners have been able to develop a joint roadmap defining mutual commitments by both development partners and government.

Improved partnership entails much more than use of the treasury by development partners or government performance on financial management. The aid effectiveness principles of alignment, transparency, and ownership are all critical elements while upholding political commitments and foundational values (e.g. human rights and gender equity) act as enablers for greater use of country systems.

In conclusion, I’d like to highlight three key lessons:

  • First, we can only improve coordination when we communicate regularly and effectively – the SDRF has provided us with the platform for that communication
  • Second, our joint planning needs to be consultative and realistic, based on a clear prioritization of needs and an understanding of available resources
  • Third, we make more progress together when we identify and track mutual commitments – both by the government and development partners.

It is clear that Somalia is slowly but surely turning the corner towards stability and progress. We must advance and cement our various successes with tangible development, which the Somali people and the state institutions can truly benefit from. The Partnership Principles are certainly changing the narrative on the ground and they certainly have the potential to transform our national aspirations into concreate developmental successes.

Thank you very much for your attention