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The Procedure of the UN Security Council, 4th Edition

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Updated on 17 July 2016

Chapter 8:   SUBSIDIARY BODIES

Section 5(a):   Fact-finding and other missions by Council members to the field

 

Effective demarche by Council members during their May 2016 mission to Somalia

 

The terms of reference for the Security Council mission to the Horn of Africa from 17 to 22 May 2016 included the following objective for the visit to Mogadishu, which would be co-led by the representatives of Egypt and the United Kingdom:  “To reaffirm to the Government of Somalia the expectation of the Security Council that elections will be held in August 2016” (S/2016/456).

 

At the public briefing on the mission, held on 25 May shortly after the Council members returned to New York, the representative of the United Kingdom stated concerning Somalia that

 

“The electoral process is a central part of [the transitional phase] and one that, as the Council,

we have paid a lot of attention to over the years.  However, when we arrived in Mogadishu . . . ,

that process was in deadlock.  The President and the regional Presidents . . . had reached an

agreement on the electoral model earlier in the year, but the Parliament had not been able to

endorse the agreement, leading to a delay in preparations for the August elections.  We therefore

met President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Prime Minister Sharmarke and the regional leaders of Puntland, the South-West administration and Galmudug to express our concern at that delay

and to urge swift adoption of the model. 

 

“The President gave assurances that he would continue to work for the Parliament’s adoption of

the model.  He also said that, if that were not possible, he would use his presidential decree,

which is absolutely within his rights to do, in order to get the model validated and endorsed.  I am

very pleased to say that, shortly after the Council left Mogadishu, in the early hours of Sunday

morning, President Hassan Sheik Mohamud did indeed take the necessary step of issuing a

presidential decree to ensure that there were no extension to the constitutionally mandated

terms of Somalia’s executive and legislative orders.  I think that . . . this is an example of how a

Council visit can make a positive difference, either in terms of preventing things from getting

worse, in terms of preventive diplomacy, or – in this case – as a way of encouraging a country to

do the right thing and actually to move things forward in a positive direction.” (S/PV.7696)

 

On 23 May, the Council President made a statement to the press welcoming the decree issued by the Somali President (UN press release SC/12369).

 

At the wrap-up meeting convened on 31 May 2016 by Egypt at the conclusion of its Council Presidency, six speakers spoke approvingly of the Council’s demarche during its mission to Somalia: 

 

The representative of the Russian Federation commented that “The Council members’ visit to Mogadishu and the negotiations that took place there served to encourage the Head of State to approve the election model.”  The Angolan representative highlighted the tangible result of the mission with respect to the Somali elections.  The Japanese representative affirmed that the issuance of the presidential decree by the Somali President following the Council’s mission “demonstrated the difference the Council can make on the ground when it visits the countries on its agenda.”  In this connection, the United Kingdom spoke of the “positive, tangible influence” of Council missions to the field.  And the representative of Egypt stated that the mission allowed the Council “to send a powerful message to all Somali parties about the importance of building on the achievements made since 2012 and the fact that the Council will not tolerate anything that hinders the political process.” (S/PV.7703)

 

The outcome of the visit to Mogadishu, as well as results from the members’ other interactions during their mission to the Horn of Africa, suggest that such missions increasingly are providing valuable opportunities for the Council members, while in the field, to have a substantive impact regarding issues on the agenda.  This contrasts with the earlier, more limited view of Council missions expressed in the 2010 Note by the President on the Council’s working methods, S/2010/507, which stated merely that “The members of the Security Council underline the value of Security Council missions for understanding and assessing particular conflicts or situations on the agenda of the Council” (para. 66).

 

(This update supplements pages 494 to 498 of the book.)