Salvaging Somalia’s Chance For Peace
Salvaging Somalia’s Chance For Peace
Table of Contents
  1. Overview
Climate Change and Conflict in Somalia
Climate Change and Conflict in Somalia
Briefing 11 / Africa

Salvaging Somalia’s Chance For Peace

On 27 October 2002, Somali political leaders gathered in the Kenyan town of Eldoret signed a new declaration that envisages an end to the protracted crisis in their country.

On 27 October 2002, Somali political leaders gathered in the Kenyan town of Eldoret signed a new declaration that envisages an end to the protracted crisis in their country. After more than a decade as the only country in the world totally devoid of a functioning central government and no less than twenty unsuccessful national-level peace initiatives since 1991, the Eldoret Declaration has raised hopes that resolution of the Somali crisis may now be within reach.

The ongoing process – under the mandate of the East African regional organisation the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) – represents a unique opportunity to restore governing institutions and move Somalia towards peace. The framework for the dialogue that is still needed is sound and comprehensive, most major political movements (with the exception of the self-declared Republic of Somaliland in the Northwest of the country) are represented, and key members of the international community have been closely engaged at every step.

But ICG visits to Eldoret in November 2002 found that the process still faces considerable difficulties. A combination of mismanagement, regional rivalry, insufficient outside political support and financial constraints have brought the talks to the verge of collapse. Somali delegates are frustrated and disillusioned with the lack of progress that followed the Declaration. Donor representatives express deep misgivings. As one Nairobi-based diplomat dryly observed, “This process has made progress in spite of itself.” The process is in critical condition, and the mediators have not yet demonstrated that they possess the medicines necessary to keep the patient alive.

Nevertheless, Eldoret can be salvaged. Most Somali delegates seem committed to moving forward. “This process is different from all the others,” said a senior figure in the Puntland administration (in the Northeast). “People realize that they cannot achieve what they want through force”.[fn]ICG interview, 10 November 2002.Hide Footnote  However, as the conference enters its second, main phase of negotiations, a number of measures need to be taken urgently. Visible and sustained international political support for the conference – including readiness to adopt and implement targeted sanctions against recalcitrant warlords and to enforce the international arms embargo – has yet to materialise. Rivalries between regional powers need to be addressed and conference management will have to improve. And the prospects for a lasting settlement must not be compromised by the desire to meet artificial and unworkable deadlines.

If these formidable obstacles can be overcome, then the Eldoret process represents Somalia’s best chance for peace in many years.

Nairobi/Brussels, 9 December 2002

Video / Africa

Climate Change and Conflict in Somalia

In this video, Crisis Group staff speak about the complex relationship between climate change and violent conflict in Somalia.

In this video, Crisis Group's Senior Analyst for Climate & Security in Africa, Nazanine Moshiri, and our Senior Analyst for Eastern Africa, Omar Mahmood, speak about the complex relationship between climate change and violent conflict in Somalia, and how important it is to be aware of this and address it at COP27.

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