in 2014, PDRC engaged 400 people from 11 districts in the Second Pillars of Peace mapping exercise. PDRC presented the results to over 140 Puntland stakeholders to discuss, validate, and prioritize challenges and prospects to security and rule of law (Including social reconciliation), democratization and decentralization in Puntland State, Somalia. This was at the recently concluded Second Puntland Stakeholders Meeting held at the Puntland conference hall in February 2015. PDRC will publish and share/disseminate the validated results to inform the interventions of Puntland’s stakeholders.
Garowe (February, 2015): A three-day stakeholder’s meeting entitled the ‘Second Puntland Stakeholder’s Meeting (PSM II) was concluded in Garowe, the administrative capital of Puntland State of Somalia. The PSM II was organized and hosted by the Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC) in partnership with International Peacebuilding Alliance (Interpeace).
Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali and Puntland stakeholders – including director generals from the concerned ministries, eight regional governors, eleven district mayors, representatives from the judiciary and the security sector, the civil society, and international organizations including representatives from Interpeace Somali programme, UNSOM, IOM, and the Academy for Peace and Development in Somaliland – attended conference.
PDRC Acting Executive Director, Mr. Ali Farah said, “The purpose of our meeting today is to present results obtained from the 2nd Pillars of Peace mapping exercise and engage Puntland stakeholders in validating and prioritizing the identified challenges as well as to recommend areas of focus for Puntland stakeholders’ future interventions.”
In his opening statement, Puntland President, HE Mr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (Gaas) wished the PSM II efforts to produce actionable results that would help contribute to the government’s endeavors in the future. The President emphasized the importance of PDRC’s scope of mapping and acknowledged the challenges preventing the implementation of activities in these three areas. He said that the three areas mapped by PDRC were important pillars for the government and that better understanding and unity from all stakeholders was needed to address these challenges.
Following the opening remarks and speeches, PDRC researchers presented the challenges and opportunities within the three research themes, and screened documentary films on each theme that allowed mapping participants to speak for themselves and gave a sense for the mapping process in action. Puntland stakeholders actively participated and substantially contributed in plenary sessions, group work and analysis of the challenges and opportunities, ultimately validating and prioritizing these challenges.
According to the validations made by Puntland stakeholders the prioritized challenges were as follows; in security and rule of law – limited institutional capacity, insecure borders, weak relationship between the police and communities, extremism and Illegal Unregulated and Un-eported (IUU) fishing; in decentralization – the low institutional capacity of the local government, limited public participation, low districts income, un-demarcated district borders, increased number of districts, and poor state and local government relations . In the democratization pillar – Political Reconciliation, Public Political Education, Regional/District Demarcation, absence of Voter Registration, Public Disarmament and the absence of Constitutional Court were prioritized, thence the ownership of the programme implementation will be transferred to representatives of the stakeholders.
At the conclusion of the meeting PDRC research team presented to the stakeholders the participatory formulation of criteria for selecting steering committees that will guide and practically implement the immediate interventions of the above challenges while PDRC and partners will play the role of facilitators in future work on security and rule of law, democratization, and decentralization pillars.
It was time for the closing remarks but Puntland stakeholders wanted the Puntland vice-president Mr. Abdihakim Abdullahi to watch the security and rule of law film that the PSM participants had watched earlier. The VP and his entourage watched the film on challenges to security and rule of law.
In his closing statement, Interpeace Somalia country director Mr. Ulf Terlinden congratulated PDRC and stakeholders and told them “Your deliberations have laid the foundations for the work of PDRC and its steering committees for the coming years.’’
Mr. Terlinden concluded “….as Interpeace we are committed to support this critical work for the sake of a peaceful Puntland and Somalia.”
In his closing remarks, the raditional Chief Yasin speaking On behalf of the participants had conveyed a message of solidarity to the Puntland government and the international stakeholders in addressing the validated challenges.
The outspoken chief promised ‘’As usual, we endeavor to support you with our strength, wealth, and resources in improving security, democratization, and decentralization in Puntland State, Somalia”.
In conclusion, VP Abdihakim said that joint self-help initiatives were required to address the challenges. The Puntland Vice-President officially closed the meeting after expressing his appreciations to PDRC, Interpeace and other international NGO’s for their continued support to Puntland State.