With the international community increasingly concerned by piracy, extremism and instability in Somalia, our online resource Insight on Conflict has launched a new Somalia section to highlight the capacity of local organisations to build peace there.
A recent blog on Insight on Conflict comes from Director of the Royal African Society Richard Dowden, who discusses the internal and external influences on Somalia’s civil war.
Somalia, considered a failed state since the collapse of its central government in 1991, is the newest addition to our site, which now contains profiles for 20 conflicts and showcases what organisations in these areas are doing to resolve their own issues.
Over the last five years, pirates in Somalia have collected more than £160 million in ransoms, and terrorist group al-Shabaab is now openly linked to Al-Qaida. February saw the UK Government host the London Conference on Somalia, attended by heads of state and the UN. Peace Direct took part in the Government’s pre-conference meeting of NGOs to discuss what can be done.
February also saw the appointment of the first British ambassador to Somalia for 21 years, a reflection of its importance on the political agenda. Announcing this appointment, Foreign Secretary William Hague said:
Somalia remains a high priority for the National Security Council, though the international approach is unclear. But communities within the region have a history of building peace through traditional mechanisms and justice systems. Insight on Conflict’s new section aims to showcase how such local peacebuilders can address the underlying causes of violence.
At a Parliamentary group meeting on Conflict Issues held earlier this year, it was noted that while international patrols on the high seas may reduce piracy, the lasting solution to Somalia’s problems lies as much on land as at sea, and ideally needs to come from within Somalia itself.