Report of the Chairperson of the commission on the follow-up of the relevant provisions of Communiqué PSC/PR/COMM. (DXXI) on the situation in Somalia
1. This report is submitted pursuant to paragraph 13 of communiqué PSC/PR/COMM. (DXXI) adopted by Council at its 521st meeting held on 30 June 2015 on the Joint African Union (AU)-United Nations (UN) Mission to review the benchmarks for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping operation and assess the operations of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
2. Council will recall that, at its 521st meeting, it endorsed the recommendations made by the Joint AU-UN Mission, in order for AMISOM to implement, over the next 18 months, a security strategy aimed at creating a more conducive environment for the pursuit of the political process in Somalia, in particular:
(i) the extension of the surge in AMISOM strength and of the non-lethal support package for the Somali National Army (SNA) until the end of 2016, as authorized by Security Council resolution 2124 (2013) of 12 November 2013;
(ii) the gradual, structured and targeted reconfiguration, within the authorized ceiling, of AMISOM uniformed personnel, including: (a) the enhancement of the AMISOM police component, (b) the deployment of requisite capabilities such as quick reaction and special forces, to enable AMISOM to become more agile and to facilitate cross-sectoral operations, and (c) the streamlining of AMISOM command and control under the overall direction of the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission and Head of Mission;
(iii) the provision of a more effective and flexible logistical support through the enhancement of the UN Support Office for AMISOM (UNSOA), in order to address the gaps identified in the provision of logistical support to frontline AMISOM and SNA troops; and
(iv) the extension to the Puntland forces of the non-lethal support provided by UNSOA to the SNA;
3. Council requested the Commission, working closely with the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), the Troop and Police Contributing Countries (T/PCCs), the UN and other relevant international stakeholders, to revise the AMISOM concept of operations (CONOPS), in order to take into account the findings and recommendations of the Joint AU-UN Mission. It also urged the UN Security Council to consider the report of the Joint Mission and to endorse its recommendations, in order to pave the way for their speedy and effective implementation.
4. On 28 July 2015, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2232 (2015). In that resolution, the Security Council, welcoming the report of the Joint Mission, agreed with the Secretary-General that conditions in Somalia are not appropriate for the deployment of a UN peacekeeping mission until the end of 2016, at the earliest; decided to authorize the Member States of the AU to maintain the deployment of AMISOM for a maximum level of 22,126 uniformed personnel, and as part of an overall exit strategy, after which a decrease in AMISOM force will be considered; and requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide a logistical support package for AMISOM.
5. The Security Council further requested that, in line with the recommendations of the Joint Mission, the AU undertake a structured and targeted reconfiguration of the Mission to enable a surge in its efficiency, in particular by strengthening command and control structures and enhancing cross-sector operations, examining sector boundaries, generating a dedicated special forces capability, ensuring that all force enablers and multipliers operate under the authority of the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the Commission, taking into account progress achieved in offensive operations against al-Shabaab and other terrorist organizations, by gradually, and in a limited manner, and where appropriate, reconfiguring AMISOM uniformed personnel in favor of police personnel within the authorized AMISOM ceiling. In this regard, the Security Council welcomed the intention of the AU to develop a new CONOPS for AMISOM, and requested the AU to develop this CONOPS in close collaboration with the UN, by 30 October 2015.
6. Furthermore, the Security Council agreed with the Secretary-General that there have been gaps in the integrated provision of logistical support to AMISOM and the SNA troops. It requested the Secretary-General, in consultation with all stakeholders, to carry out a strategic review of UNSOA, and to set out a wide range of options on how to improve the overall support to AMISOM. The Security Council stressed the critical need to source contingent owned equipment, as provided for in resolution 2036 (2012) of 22 February 2012, either from existing AMISOM TCCs or other Member States. It reiterated its call for new donors to support AMISOM, and called upon the AU to consider ways in which to provide sustainable funding for the Mission.
7. The Security Council stressed the importance of accelerating the strengthening and improved coordination of the Somali security institutions, and to initiate efforts to move towards the eventual hand over of security responsibilities to the Somali security services. It welcomed the efforts taken so far by the FGS in establishing an integrated army and urged it to complete this process across Somalia as soon as possible. The Security Council further welcomed efforts to develop a realistic police plan. It took note of the recommendations of the Secretary-General to establish a non-lethal support package for the Somali Police Force (SPF), looking forward to further details for the implementation and delivery of such support by 30 September 2015. The Security Council also took note of the recommendation of the Secretary-General to extend the SNA non-lethal support package authorized by resolution 2124 (2013) to 3,000 Puntland forces, and requested the Secretary-General to explore the feasibility of this recommendation and to report by the end of September 2015.
III. PREPARATORY WORK FOR THE REVISED AMISOM CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS
8. In order to prepare for the revision of the AMISOM CONOPS, the Commission established an ad hoc Committee of Experts comprising its own representatives, AMISOM, Somalia and TCCs/PCCs. The Committee visited Somalia from 8 to 15 July 2015, to assess the situation on the ground and to consider modalities for the implementation of the recommendations of the Joint Mission as endorsed by Council. More specifically, the ad hoc Committee looked at the following issues:
(i) command and control;
(ii) options for the conduct of cross sectorial operations;
(iii) options of the deployment and employment of special forces;
(iv) validation of troops to armed personnel carrier (APC) ratio, with the view of enhancing AMISOM mobility;
(v) deployment and employment of force enablers;
(vi) reconfiguration of AMISOM troop deployment;
(vii) conditions and modalities for a gradual shift from military to police-led operations;
(viii) modalities for enhanced logistical support to the SNA and the SPF; and
(ix) restructuring of AMISOM Headquarters.
9. The ad hoc Committee consulted closely with the AMISOM leadership and the UN Assistance Mission to Somalia (UNSOM) in Somalia, as well as with the Somali authorities. It also maintained close contact with relevant partners, notably the European Union (EU), the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (USA).
10. The work of the ad hoc Committee informed the review of the CONOPS, during a meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 18 to 25 August 2015. The meeting brought together relevant stakeholders from the FGS, the UN and other international and regional stakeholders. It developed a revised harmonized CONOPS, whose key elements are outlined below.
11. The report of the ad hoc Committee was considered by the 16th meeting of the Military Operations Coordination Committee (MOCC), which coordinates overall AMISOM operations, held in Addis Ababa on 1 September 2015. The meeting, chaired by the Commissioner for Peace Security, was attended by the Chiefs of Defence Staff and Chiefs of Police of the TCCs/PCCs (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Sierra Leone) and of Somalia. Representatives of partner countries and institutions (EU, Intergovernmental Authority on Development - IGAD, United Kingdom, United States of America, and the UN) also participated in the meeting. IV. KEY ELEMENTS OF THE REVISED HARMONIZED CONOPS
12. The revised CONOPS covers a number of issues. These relate, among others, to the current situation, strategic framework, the friendly forces disposition, the execution of the CONOPs and its implementation phases, command and control, and coordination mechanisms. It also addresses cross-cutting issues, including those relating to human rights, conduct and discipline, gender, protection of civilians, and public information.
13. The CONOPS notes that Somalia has continued to achieve key milestones within the framework of Vision 2016 agenda. Three interim regional administrations have been formed namely: the Interim Jubba Administration (August 2013), the Interim South West Administration (August 2014) and Galmudug Interim Administration (July 2015). An agreement that would lead to the establishment of the last remaining regional administration, comprising of Hiraan and Middle Shabelle regions, was signed on 8 August 2015, and the process for the formation of this administration is currently underway. The constitutional review process is also making some progress, albeit with challenges. Finally, the FGS has established the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) and the Boundaries and Federation Commission (BFC), and has expressed its commitment to finalize priority legislation on political parties, citizenship and elections.
14. The al-Shabaab terrorist group was forced to disengage and abandon several towns after joint military offensives by the AMISOM and SNA forces during Operations Eagle and Indian Ocean in 2014. As the offensive operations progressed in early 2015, al-Shabaab continued to evolve, enhancing its ability to engage in asymmetrical warfare with increasing efficiency and lethality. Overall, violence and armed conflict in Somalia remain considerable, including in the recovered areas, compounded by the inability of both the FGS and the Interim Regional Administrations to put in place the required administrative system. Against this backdrop, the humanitarian situation in Somalia remains of great concern, with large numbers of people across the country facing acute food insecurity.
15. The Strategic End-State, as identified in the CONOPS, is significantly to deplete the military and related capacity of the al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups. Within this context, the security strategy in the period ahead is to create and preserve an enabling environment for the unfolding political, peace and reconciliation processes in Somalia, in line with the following elements, as outlined in resolution 2232 (2015):
(i) continuing offensive operations against the al-Shabaab strongholds;
(ii) enabling the political process at all levels, including through securing critical political processes throughout Somalia; and
(iii) enabling stabilization efforts and delivery for the Somali people, as part of the wider process of peace building and reconciliation, including through the gradual handing over of security responsibility from AMISOM to SNA and, subsequently, to the SPF.
16. The CONOPS details the specific objectives of the civilian, military and police components of AMISOM, identifies the centres of gravity for AMISOM, the Somali National Security Forces (SNSF) and al-Shabaab. It makes a number of strategic assumptions, including the availability of predictable funding for AMISOM, commitment by the Somali stakeholders to achieve Vision 2016, provision of sustainable support for security sector development in Somalia, and effective coordination of all military operations, and identifies the risks that could undermine the attainment of the set objectives. The CONOPS envisages that AMISOM military component mandated tasks will be accomplished through joint operations with assigned SNA units throughout the Mission's Area of Operations (AoR), which includes South Central Somalia and the coastal waters and ports where al-Shabaab and other armed groups operate. The Area of Interest (AoI) includes Puntland, where al-Shabaab and other armed groups are active.
17. The CONOPS pays particular attention to the issue of support to AMISOM and the SNA. UNSOA will continue to provide logistical support to AMISOM's three components. This support is based on a field support network consisting of: (i) the Mombasa Support Base (MSB), (ii) the Mogadishu Logistics Base (MLB), (iii) the Sector Logistic hubs, and (iv) the battalion locations. UNSOA distributes support to AMISOM through a traditional 'Hub and Spoke' model: UNSOA will continue to provide support from Mombasa to a 'Hub' location (Sector Hub or designated AMISOM battalion locations), while the T/PCCs will be responsible for the movement of supplies from the battalion logistics locations to their forward positions, using their own assets. UNSOA will continue to provide coordinated logistical support to the SNA troops engaged in joint operations with AMISOM, focusing on pushing supplies forward to the sector logistics hubs. The emphasis is to remain focused on road and sea routes, and for AMISOM/SNA to open up Main Supply Routes/Alternate Supply Routes (MSR/ASRs), to reduce dependency on expensive and limited air assets.
18. The 2013 AMISOM Strategic Review defined three following overlapping phases in the implementation of the Mission's mandate: (a) territorial recovery and consolidation (2013-2017); (b) handover and drawdown (2016-2018); and drawdown and withdrawal (2017-2020). Under the revised CONOPS, the actions envisaged fall within the Review's phases 1 and 2 and provide for the following: continuation of current operations, generation of enablers and force multipliers and reconfiguration; expansion operations; stabilisation; and transition and drawdown, with a gradual handover of security responsibility to the SNA and the SPF and a transition to a UN peacekeeping operation, but not earlier than December 2016.
19. The CONOPS highlights a number of cross-cutting issues. As indicated above, these relate to, among others, conduct and discipline, including zero tolerance for any form of sexual exploitation and abuse, gender, protection of civilians and public information.
20. The CONOPS deals with issues relating to command and control (military command, police organization, Mission, force, police and sector headquarters). It also outlines the existing coordinating mechanisms or those to be established at strategic, Mission Headquarters, operational and sector levels, as well as with respect to logistical support, security in Mogadishu and liaison with humanitarian actors. It provides for the speedy operationalization of the trilateral joint AMISOM — UN — Somalia planning mechanism, as requested in resolution 2232 (2015), to assess and facilitate the delivery of the strategy referred to in paragraph 15 above, as well as the implementation of stabilization priorities.
21. Finally, the CONOPs determined that conversion into a UN peacekeeping operation cannot be envisaged until December 2016 at the earliest. It strongly emphasizes the importance of additional support to improve the SNA's capacity to progressively hold cleared areas, assisted increasingly by the SPF with law enforcement support from AMISOM Police. AMISOM's military combat role is expected to diminish as the SNA's capabilities to conduct independent combat operations improve. AMISOM policing role is expected to increase to bridge the policing gaps, as well as to enhance the SPF's capacity to gradually take over responsibility for internal security, and to re-establish policing functions and services in all areas. By the same token, the role of AMISOM civilians is also expected to increase to provide support for strengthening state institutions, extending civil authority to local community levels and promoting early recovery.
22. AMISOM continues to make important progress in fulfilment of its mandate. I welcome the progress made so far in the current military offensive, code-named Operation Juba Corridor. The Operation, which was launched in July 2015, aims at further degrading al-Shabaab capabilities by clearing the group from its strongholds in the Gedo, Bakool and Bay regions. Since the commencement of the Operation, which involves troops from the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) and the Kenyan Defence Force (KDF), along with SNA units, major towns and villages have been recovered.
23. The successes recorded by AMISOM and the SNSF have come at a huge cost, as demonstrated most recently by the casualties sustained by the Ugandan People's Defence Forces (UPDF), the ENDF and the Burundi National Defence Forces (BNDF). I would like to commend the extraordinary determination of the women and men in uniform, as well as the civilian personnel of AMISOM, who continue to support the people and Government of Somalia in their efforts toward promoting peace, stability and reconciliation. I would like to reiterate my support to Special Representative Maman Sidikou and the entire leadership of the Mission for their dedication and tireless efforts. I also pay tribute to the SNSF for their courage and role. I renew my appreciation to IGAD and its Chair, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn of Ethiopia, for their leadership and continued commitment to peace and reconciliation in Somalia.
24. The revised CONOPS provides a sound strategy for completing the stabilisation process of Somalia. I recommend that Council endorse it. The successful implementation of the CONOPS rests on a number of factors.
25. Among others, there is the need for a sustained and enhanced support to AMISOM and the SNSF. I would like to reiterate the AU's appreciation to the UN for the assistance rendered so far to AMISOM and to the Somali forces. I call on the UN to continue and enhance its support to AMISOM, bearing in mind that, in deploying a mission in Somalia, the AU is acting on behalf of the Security Council, which has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. I look forward to the steps that would be taken to improve UNSOA overall support to AMISOM and the SNA, following the review conducted in August 2015. In this respect, I would like to stress that the provision of UNSOA support to AMISOM must be based on a dedicated capacity and on joint planning and coordination between UNSOA and AMISOM. I urge the Security Council to give a positive consideration to the recommendations made by the UN Secretary-General regarding the provision of a non-lethal support package to the SPF, as well as the extension of the SNA non-lethal support package to the Puntland forces. I express appreciation to the EU and to the partners, including the UK and the USA, for their continued support to AMISOM. I am confident that we can continue to rely on their support in the period ahead.
26. The second important element relates to the need for the Somali political stakeholders to continue to demonstrate the required political will and unity of purpose to successfully conclude the on-going process. While significant progress has been made in the implementation of Vision 2016, many challenges remain. Against this background, I am deeply concerned by recent developments in the country, notably the motion tabled by some parliamentarians, in August 2015, to impeach President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. I would like to echo the statement issued by Somalia's international partners, including AMISOM, on 18 August 2015, emphasizing that the timing of the motion is wrong; and that there are more important priorities at the moment that require the urgent attention of the Somali stakeholders, including the fight against al-Shabaab, addressing humanitarian situation, stabilising the recovered areas, the constitutional review, the state formation process and the elections. I join the Security Council in stressing that there should not be an extension of electoral process timelines for either legislative or executive branches.
27. Third, it has been recognized that the efficiency of AMISOM operations will be informed primarily by improved command and control structures which would allow for increased coordination and cross-sectorial operations. I welcome the commitment made by the T/PCCs at the last meeting of the MOCC to provide guidance to their respective sector commanders on the importance of complying with the AMISOM command and control.
28. Finally, challenges remain on how to generate additional enablers for AMISOM. To mitigate this challenge, and following recent reviews of threat assessment vis-à-vis current force disposition, it is proposed that the number of infantry troops would be reduced in order to allow for additional enablers. This would allow for greater efficiency in the operations of AMISOM, as indicated during the AU-UN benchmarking exercise. I commend Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda for having pledged air assets, including helicopters for AMISOM operations. The Commission is working with these TCCs, in order to facilitate the early generation of the pledged assets.