IPI HomeEventsSpeakers EventsMahiga: Somali Famine a Tragedy, But Also an Opportunity

 

print print  |  share share back back

Speaker Events - Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mahiga: Somali Famine a Tragedy, But Also an Opportunity

Speaking on September 20th in the latest in the series of SRSG meetings at IPI, Augustine Mahiga, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia, noted that the country had been without a government and in a state of continuing conflict for nearly 20 years, but said there were three recent developments there that made him optimistic about the future.

“The first one is there is a new opportunity of a more inclusive political process which is unfolding in a manner that has never unfolded before,” he said.

“The second,” he said, “is that the security situation in Mogadishu and Somalia is better today than it has ever been in the past 21 years.”

“The third is an irony,” he said.

“The famine is a tragedy, but the famine has given us an opportunity that feeds positively on the political process and on the security situation; first of all, because it refocuses attention on Somalia. As you said, there is not much attention. Secondly, because the famine has contributed to the weakness of the Al-Shabaab, that helps on the area of security.”

With this improvement and the recent withdrawal of the Al-Shabaab insurgents from large parts of the capital, Mr. Mahiga said that the UN was able to establish more and more of a presence in Mogadishu, though it still had to operate out of Nairobi, the capital of neighboring Kenya.

“But to monitor what is happening, there is still a problem, “he added. “Access is conditional; security is tenuous. And this is where our biggest challenge is.”

Moderating the discussion was IPI Senior Adviser John Hirsch.

 Read transcript

Listen to Global Observatory interview with Augustine Mahiga >>

Watch video of event:



more coverage of the event from Media Beat>>

The Global Observatory

Caught in the Middle: Civilian Protection in South Sudan
Absent an active effort by the South Sudanese government, the UN Mission will need to adopt a holistic approach to civilian protection.

Key Global Events to Watch in October
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

October 09, 2014
Rethinking Women and Forced Migration
The drastic increase in conflicts around the globe has seen the world’s displaced population pass 55 million people, and the fact that 80% of them are women and children is prompting many to rethink how the international community is responding.

October 09, 2014
Africa: China’s Second Continent
Speaking at an IPI Distinguished Author Series event on October 9th, author Howard French made a case for how Western underestimation of Africa’s economic promise has enabled China to establish an economic and human presence on the continent, leading to the permanent migration there of nearly 2 million Chinese.

September 30, 2014
Vike-Freiberga: Rethinking the United Nations
In a speech delivered at IPI on September 30th, Dr. Vaira Vike-Freiberga gave a sobering historical analysis of the gains and setbacks made by the international system over the past century and, focusing on the UN, she called for a rethinking of the organization’s structure and approach to peace.

View More