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Norway to support stabilisation in Somalia

By Norway - Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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OSLO, Norway, February 23, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Norway is to donate NOK 11 million to a new fund for Somalia. The international Stability Fund will improve the lives of Somalis by supporting local efforts to promote reconciliation.

“We would like to help bring about greater stability in Somalia by supporting development and the establishment of functioning authorities at the local level. People need to have access to health services and education,” said Minister of the Environment and International Development Erik Solheim.

Mr. Solheim announced Norway's allocation to the new fund at the international London Somalia Conference today.

“Ensuring stability at the local level is one of the keys to achieving progress in Somalia. Local peace agreements must give real and tangible benefits for people on the ground. The new fund will help to build local communities that are more resilient,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

The fund can respond rapidly when required. The fact that the local authorities will have ownership of the fund will make it easier for the money to be channeled safely to those who need it most. This is also the case for areas in southern Somalia that are in the process of being freed from al-Shabaab control, following military incursions from Kenyan and Ethiopian troops.

“Women must be involved in peace building efforts in Somalia. The authorities simply cannot afford to overlook the competence and contributions of half of the population during this critical phase. We will remind them of this,” Mr. Solheim said.

The projects that will be given funding must have broad representation and be spread out geographically.

Solheim visited Mogadishu a few days ago. See photos here.

For the first year, the fund will total just over NOK 90 million. In addition to Norway, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United Arab Emirates are allocating money to the fund. The fund will be used for both short-term projects that can give rapid results, and more long-term efforts to promote stabilization and the ability of local communities to manage on their own.

If all goes to plan, the first payment from the fund will be made during the summer.