UN Political Office for Somalia

A farewell to UNPOS. A multimedia slideshow retracing the key moments of support to the Somali peace process.

The United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) will complete its mandate on 3 June 2013 after 18 years of continuous support to the peace and reconciliation efforts in the war-torn country. UNPOS has worked to advance the peace process in many international and local arenas and successfully facilitated the completion of the political transition in 2012. UNPOS, led most recently by the UN Special Representative, Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga, supported the adoption of a provisional constitution, the selection of Somalia’s first representative Parliament in a generation, paving the way for popular elections in 2016. A new political mission with a new mandate, UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) will be launched on 3 June 2013 to support statebuilding and peacebuilding with a focus on good governance, security sector reform, rule of law, human rights and coordination of international assistance.

'Transition to Transformation: The Political Process in Somalia' is a 30” documentary charting the end of Somalia's Transitional Government and the establishment of a newly elected Parliament, President & Speaker.
For the past two decades civil war, famine and radical insurgencies have left Somalia in ruins. Its transitional government held little to no power and was for many years exiled in neighboring Kenya.
In June 2011 Somalia’s political fate was decided at a crisis meeting in Kampala: in just over a year a new representative government was to be established, a draft constitution approved and a new President and Speaker elected. It seemed like an impossible task.
In this film we explore Somalia’s political journey during a remarkable year. A journey marked by violence, political in-fighting, tense negotiations and fraught diplomacy.
This is Somalia’s journey from transition to transformation.

Featuring special interviews with…
Dr Augustine Mahiga, UN Special Representative & Head of the UN Political Office for Somalia
Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, Former Prime Minister of Somalia
Abdi Hosh Jibril, Minister of Constitution & Reconciliation 2010-2012
Halima Ibrahim, Co-Chair Technical Selection Committee

These cowardly and senseless acts of violence will not undermine the remarkable progress Somalia has made in the past months… I call on all parties to renounce violence and contribute positively to peace and stability
Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga condemning the suicide car bomb attack in Mogadishu, 5 May 2013. Read full statement:
Mogadishu, 4 May 2014 - “Maritime Piracy: Its implication on the Somali youth and socio-economic development in Somalia” discussed today in Mogadishu at the first town hall meeting organised by the Somali Anti-Piracy Information Centre

Mogadishu, 4 May 2014 - “Maritime Piracy: Its implication on the Somali youth and socio-economic development in Somalia” discussed today in Mogadishu at the first town hall meeting organised by the Somali Anti-Piracy Information Centre

The dramatic decline in pirate attacks is clear evidence of years of hard work by United Nations Member States, international and regional organizations, and actors in the shipping industry…The international community should continue to support the efforts of Somalia and States in the region to strengthen their maritime law enforcement capacities and their rule of law sector
Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun addressing the Board of the Trust Fund to Support Initiatives of States Countering Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, 30 April 2013. Read press release: http://bit.ly/131K95H
The Secretary-General recalls with deep appreciation the fact that Mr. Mahiga’s contributions had laid the foundation on which the Federal Government of Somalia with the help of the international community, can now further engage on peacebuilding and the consolidation of security and development initiatives in the country.
Secretary-General’s Spokesperson paying tribute to SRSG Mahiga for his dedicated work in the country, 29 April 2013. Read full statement: http://bit.ly/12q1mST
Secretary-General appoints Nicholas Kay of United Kingdom as Special Representative in Somalia

New York, 29 April 2013 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced the appointment of Nicholas Kay (United Kingdom) as his Special Representative for Somalia.

Mr. Kay succeeds Augustine Mahiga, who will complete his assignment on 3 June 2013. The Secretary-General is grateful for his dedicated service for the last three years. His exemplary leadership in helping to steer the end of the eight-year political transition in the summer of 2012 is particularly noteworthy. The Secretary-General recalls with deep appreciation the fact that Mr. Mahiga’s contributions had laid the foundation on which the Federal Government of Somalia with the help of the international community, can now further engage on peacebuilding and the consolidation of security and development initiatives in the country.

Mr. Kay is currently the Africa Director at the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), a position he has held since 2012. Prior to this, he served as Ambassador to the Republic of the Democratic of the Congo (DRC) and the Sudan from 2007 to 2010 and 2010 to 2012 respectively. He was also the United Kingdom’s Regional Coordinator for Southern Afghanistan and Head of the Provincial Reconstruction Team for Helmand Province from 2006 to 2007. 

In his earlier career with the FCO, Mr. Kay served in policy and country positions in London as well as overseas in Spain and Cuba. He also worked for fourteen years as an English language teacher in Brazil, Cyprus, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and within the United Kingdom.

Born in 1958, Mr. Kay is married with two daughters and a son.

“I condemn yet another appalling attack on Somali journalists and call on the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice”. SRSG Mahiga said.
Taken from SRSG Mahiga’s Statement on killing of journalist Mohamed Ibrahim Rageh who was shot and killed in Mogadishu on 21 April 2013. Read full statement: http://bit.ly/14J8Xms
UN Special Representative for Somalia’s Statement on Multiple Deadly Attacks in Mogadishu

Mogadishu, 14 April 2013 - The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia, Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga, is shocked and outraged by today’s deadly attacks in Mogadishu.

While the number of the dead is still unclear, initial reports indicate that many innocent civilians were killed including women and at least one child. Many more were injured in the blasts, which occurred in multiple locations including at the Regional Court House.

“I join the government and the people of Somalia in condemning these senseless acts of terror”, said SRSG Mahiga, “Somalia is making remarkable progress toward stabilization and these great strides will not be overshadowed by the desperate acts of these cowardly terrorists.”

“My thoughts are with families and friends of those killed and injured in the attacks. The international community will continue to support the Federal government in their efforts to ensure a safe and secure Somalia for all its citizens,” the SRSG said.

Mine Action in Mogadishu

By Hodan Osman, Liaison Officer for UNMAS


A member of an EOD team wears protective headwear during a demonstration held by the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) in Mogadishu, Somalia, on April 4. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team partook in a number of excercises, as part of the International Day of Mine Awareness, in order to draw attention to the large number of mines, unexploded ordnances (UXOs), and explosive remnants of war (ERWs) that still exist in the country.  Photo Credit:  AU UN IST PHOTO / TOBIN JONES.

It may have been the excitement of seeing Mogadishu for the first time or apprehension about starting a new job in what is reputed to be one of the most dangerous cities in the world, that meant that I could not sleep the night before heading to Mogadishu.  It is a city I have only read about in newspapers peddling stories about war and famine.  But I have also heard about a very different Mogadishu from my parents and grandparents, a Mogadishu that was thriving before chaos descended.  The Mogadishu depicted on postcards, a once picturesque and cosmopolitan city with vibrant trade, universities, beachfront hotels and white villas.

In my short time here I have learned not to attempt to reconcile these images of a past Mogadishu with the horrors of the civil war, but rather to focus on building a Mogadishu that will be.  I mentally reassemble the broken pieces of buildings, clear the rubble, remove the plastic bags from the barren tree branches and restore the lights and I root for this jigsaw city that could be. There is a sense of hopefulness and excitement about change in Somalia that beams through every conversation and meeting I have had with both government and non government actors in Somalia. Every meeting and discussion takes place against this backdrop of hope and collective need for change. It is intoxicating.

It is an exciting time to be in Somalia, as the Liaison Officer for UNMAS, working to negate the explosive threat to Somalis and creating conditions for access and recovery.  Although the core of our work is focused on humanitarian mine action and supporting the Somali security sector as well as AMISOM on explosive management, our reach is much broader and has a greater impact.

To be able to respond to a single call about a possible explosive threat in Mogadishu, we would need to have established training and mentoring for the Somali police not only on the technical aspect of handling the explosive ordinance,  but on all of the logistical and administrative functions required to coordinate and report on the response. We would have raised the awareness of local communities so that they are able to recognise and report potential explosive threats and a level of trust would have been established between the police and communities, as communities become willing to discuss explosive threats and other security and safety issues.

The successful removal of explosive threats would result in further cementing the relationship between the government and communities, as the government is and will be seen as providing a valuable public service. The area will be safe to use once more, allowing local businesses to continue flourishing and for children to play in a safe environment. These are the list of activities leading up to and supporting the Somali Police team’s response to calls.

It is this type of residual and spiraling impact from a series of smaller activities that will lead to greater change in Somalia. The process of the Somali police responding to a single call is demonstrating a key thread for stabilisation – a Somali police force supported by the Somali government providing essential services to Somali communities. This is the change we are all working towards and its optimism is evident and exchanged in every transaction, conversation, school lesson, coffee shop, government meeting and gathering in the streets of a Mogadishu that will be. Today, we are celebrating this as part of International Mine Awareness Day in Mogadishu.