25 January 2013
This paper is for Government departments and statutory organisations dealing with counter-terrorism. It is
intended to help you to respond to any concerns generated in communities as a result of the coverage in
the media of the CT issues. It is not intended to provide detailed briefing about Government policies, and
explaining these issues to the media is the role of relevant departmental press office.
Conference on Somalia, May 2013
The UK and Somalia have agreed to jointly host an international conference on Somalia in the UK
on 7 May 2013. The purpose of the conference is to provide international support for the new
Government of Somalia’s immediate priorities as it rebuilds its country.
What are the objectives of the conference?
The conference will help the Government of Somalia to deliver on the priorities it has identified.
These include rebuilding its armed forces, police, coastguard, justice and public financial
Why hold a new international conference on Somalia now?
Somalia now has a new parliament, selected by the clans, and a new president elected by the
parliament. As a result, Somalia has a more legitimate government that it has seen in many
decades. In addition, the proscribed terrorist organisation Al Shabaab has been expelled from
many of Somalia’s major towns and cities. Confidence is increasing and the diaspora is returning.
The changes in Somalia over the last year offer a unique opportunity to build stability and security
in the country, and the new Government of Somalia has asked for assistance in delivering its
What did the last conference in the UK achieve?
The London Conference
in February 2012 played a role in helping Somalia to end the
political transition. In particular, the international community sent a concerted message that the
transitional government’s mandate had to end in August 2012. International engagement in the
lead-up to the conference led to a UN Security Council Resolution expanding the African Union
force in Somalia (AMISOM) from 12,000 to 17,000. Since the conference, AMISOM has been
instrumental in taking control of a number of towns and cities in Somalia from Al Shabaab.
The UK has been supporting the training of the Somalia National Security Forces through the
European Union Training Mission (EUTM), including by providing both funding and personnel. We
have provided support for a biometric identification system to register EUTM-trained troops, which
is now being expanded with an extra injection of $2.4m over the next three years. In addition, we
have been working with the US to support the building of camp infrastructure for the Somali
National Security Forces in Mogadishu, providing £1 million to this end. AMISOM, which we
support, is also involved in the training of Somali forces.
Who will attend the conference?
The conference will include a wide range of neighbouring countries, regional and international
partners, and multilateral institutions. The attendees will be agreed between the Governments of
the UK and Somalia.
What about the Somali diaspora in the UK?
The Somali diaspora continues to play a key role back in the development and reconstruction of
their homeland. For many years, Somalis worldwide have sent more money home in remittances
than Somalia receives from the international community in aid. As we prepare to co-host a major
international conference with the Government of Somalia, the UK Government is keen to hear
from those who remain committed to delivering progress in Somalia. We will actively seek out
opportunities to engage with the diaspora around the conference.
Will the conference really help the people of Somalia?
The conference will help the people of Somalia because it can help galvanise the international
community behind the Government of Somalia’s priorities of rebuilding its armed forces, police,
coastguard, justice and public financial management systems. The international community can
support the new, more representative, Government of Somalia as it begins to address the
underlying causes of instability and insecurity and deliver more adequate services for its citizens
and, in the longer term, regenerate Somalia’s economy.
A more stable Somalia will reduce the risk of humanitarian disasters. Last year’s drought turned
into famine largely because of conflict and instability. While the famine lifted in February 2012,
more than two million people still remain in need.
Why does the UK care about Somalia?
What happens in Somalia has implications well beyond its borders. Helping Somalia to reverse the
underlying state failure can help to improve the security of the country, reduce the levels of piracy
and terrorism, enable refugees to return home, and improve the lives of millions of Somalis. And
by supporting the Government of Somalia in tackling the root causes of state failure, the security
interests of Somalia’s friends and neighbours will also be served.
Britain has pledged to spend £63 million every year to tackle the root causes of poverty and
conflict in Somalia. By 2015 UK aid will help build up key local government services; help 45,000
people to get a job; allow 3,000 more women and girls to access justice; and help 20,000 access
the schools, latrines, roads and health clinics to give the people of Somalia the opportunity they
need to pull themselves out of poverty