By Dr. Ali Said Faqi
Tuesday November 28, 2023
Challenging the stereotype associated its tumultuous past, Somalia is now championing for a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The last time Somalia served as a non-permeant member in the UNSC was 1971-1972. Given the significant time gap since Somalia's last term, the opportune moment has arrived to actively pursue a seat within the UNSC. This is a significant opportunity for Somalia to demonstrate its commitment to global peace and security, and it is essential for the country to develop effective strategies to secure this seat.
The UNSC is arguably the most powerful organ of the United Nations, responsible for maintaining international peace and security. As a non-permanent member of the UNSC, Somalia has the opportunity to bring its perspective to the global stage and contribute to the decision-making processes that shape the world.
The government should articulate a clear and compelling vision for its role on the Security Council, including its priorities and objectives. In order to win a non-permanent seat in the UNSC, Somalia should draft a compelling vision that demonstrates its commitment to the principles of the UN Charter and its ability to contribute positively to the work of the Security Council. Our vision should include promoting peace and security, resolving conflicts, and addressing global challenges that are of particular relevance to the African continent. Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are affected by conflicts and political instability. Somalia must offer its extensive three-decade long experience to the discussion. Somalia's vision for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC should also include addressing the specific challenges facing the African continent. As a nonpermanent member of the UNSC, Somalia should advocate for the interests of African nations and work to ensure that the Security Council's decisions adequately consider the perspectives and concerns of African countries. Somalia has a unique perspective on conflict resolution, given its own experiences with civil war and the ongoing struggle against militant groups such as Al-Shabaab. By sharing its insights and participating in the work of the UNSC, Somalia can make a meaningful contribution to the international community's efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts.
Likewise, Somalia should also highlight its commitment to addressing global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, and humanitarian crises. Somalia has been severely affected by terrorism and has also experienced the devastating impact of climate change, making these issues particularly relevant to its interests.
How to win?
In order to effectively communicate its vision for a non-permanent seat in the UNSC, Somalia should engage in extensive diplomatic outreach and advocacy efforts. This would entail building alliances with other UN member states, as well as actively participating in UN meetings and multilateral forums to advocate for its candidacy. Somalia should also collaborate closely with regional blocs, such as the African Union, the Arab League, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to garner support for Somalia's candidacy. It must engage in diplomatic efforts to secure endorsements and votes from countries within these regional groups.
Additionally, Somalia should prioritize its efforts to demonstrate its commitment to upholding the principles of the UN Charter. It is also important for Somalia to align its foreign policy with the priorities and goals of the UN.
We should also launch an effective public diplomacy campaign to raise awareness and garner support for Somalia's candidacy. We need to utilize traditional and social media platforms, organize public events, and engage with civil society organizations, think tanks, and academic institutions to promote the campaign.
Appointing a special envoy
While our diplomats in New York are dedicated and hardworking individuals, the extensive activities involved in the campaign require additional support. The government should appoint a special envoy to lobby for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC), having a dedicated representative can be beneficial in several ways. A special envoy will solely focus on advocating for the country's candidacy for the UNSC, ensuring that lobbying efforts receive the necessary attention and resources. This allows for a more targeted and strategic approach to garnering support from member states. Together with our esteemed Ambassador, the envoy can effectively navigate the complexities of diplomatic negotiations, build relationships with key stakeholders, and present the country's case in a persuasive manner. The special envoy’s role in traveling around the globe and building network is critical for garnering support for Somalia’s candidacy. He/she will engage with diplomats, policymakers, and influential individuals, facilitate dialogue, cooperation, and create a supportive environment for our campaign efforts.
Campaigning for a UNSC seat typically involves lobbying, diplomacy and awareness campaign. All of these activities require financial resources. Allocating sufficient financial resources is critical to support the expanded diplomatic team, funding advocacy initiatives, cover travel expenses, produce promotional materials, and organize events related to the campaign. As the Somali government may not have enough financial resources in order to support this endeavor, fundraising initiatives from Somali businesspeople can play a pivotal role in strengthening the government's bid. The financial contributions of the Somali businesspeople can bolster the Somali government's bid for non-permanent member in the UNSC by providing the necessary resources for effective lobbying, diplomacy, and awareness campaigns. Likewise, the Somali diaspora, renowned for their patriotic spirit and commitment to their homeland's development could provide a significant avenue for fundraising efforts.
Strengthening the Diplomatic Team in New York
In New York we have a team of qualified diplomats led by our esteemed Ambassador H.E. Abukar Osman Baale. Despite the limited resources, Ambassador Abukar has represented Somalia with utmost dignity and respect. Through his diplomatic skills and commitment, he is effectively advocating for Somalia’s interest in the international stage. Ambassador Abukar’s dedication and professionalism has been instrumental in projecting a positive image of Somalia and garnering support for our candidacy.
As we strive to secure the bid to the UNSC, there is a need for an immense engagement with diplomats in New York. Therefore, it becomes imperative to supplement our team with seasoned diplomats who can effectively alleviate the workload and contribute to our triumphant endeavor. It may be necessary sending experienced diplomats, and individuals with extensive knowledge of Somalia's political, economic, and security landscape. We need to foster and maintain strong relationships with other UN member states, particularly those with influence in the UNSC. This is immense work and as eluded earlier involves engaging in regular consultations, organizing bilateral or multilateral meetings, and participating in diplomatic events and forums to highlight Somalia’s clear vision and seek endorsements.
Winning a seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) would be a significant milestone for Somalia, propelling the nation back into the international spotlight and opening doors to numerous opportunities. As a country that has been grappling with internal conflicts, terrorism, and developmental challenges for years, securing a position on the UNSC would not only symbolize Somalia's progress but also offer a platform to address its pressing concerns on a global scale. I appeal to all Somalis to rally behind Somalia's bid, supporting its efforts to secure this influential position and actively engage in shaping a brighter future for the nation and the world as a whole.
Dr. Ali Said Faqi