Finn Church Aid’s role featured prominently as Pekka Haavisto, Finnish Member of Parliament and Foreign Minister’s Special Representative on mediation, visited Mogadishu in Somalia as part of his trip to the Horn of Africa. FCA’s Somalia specialists arranged meetings between Haavisto and Somalian NGOs and communities.
Over the past few years, Finn Church Aid (FCA) has conducted peace work and conflict resolution in Somalia. The latest achievement was setting up a state structure, drawing a constitution, and founding a parliament and a president’s office in the central regions of Somalia last June.
The current refugee situation was also discussed during the visit of Special Representative Haavisto. A large portion of the asylum seekers entering Europe comes from Somalia. Another important topic was mapping Finland’s possibilities of continuing its work to resolve and prevent conflicts in Somalia.
Currently, FCA’s projects in Somalia are funded by the EU. The work has been made possible by the long-term support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
Stabilising the state is essential
The emphasis of the international community working in Somalia is not only on peace mediation but also on building state structures and stabilising the state.
During his visit to the capital city Mogadishu, Haavisto met, for example, Speaker of the Federal Parliament Mohamed Osman Jawari, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay, and Maman Sidikou, Head of the AMISOM peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
Discussions in these meetings hosted by FCA touched on the situation and governance in different regions of Somalia. Haavisto was especially interested in next year’s elections and the role of Somalian civil society in the reconstruction of the country.
The role of terrorist group Al-Shabaab was also brought up. The group is a constant threat to the efforts to stabilise Somalia.
“Finland has been assisting since the 1980s”
The representatives of the different regions of Somalia expressed their satisfaction with the way FCA has been helping to build new state structures.
“We always remember Finland from hard work. In the 1980s Finland helped us in the fight against tuberculosis. And now you have helped us build a functioning state in the central regions of Somalia”, Vice-President of the Interim Galmudug Administration Mohamed Hashi told Haavisto.
“Everyone recognises the professional role of FCA in mediating between clans. Dozens of clans have disputed between them, and now, after 25 years, we have achieved a locally lead and functional government”, Mohamed Hashi continued.
Special Representative Haavisto received a similar message from Mohamed Abdinur, Special Advisor to the President of the Interim South West Administration.
“FCA has helped in finding a peaceful solution to numerous conflicts. Now, we have brought people together and formed a South West Administration”, Abdinur added.
Story on Haavisto’s visit on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland website.
Text: Hilkka Hyrkkö
Photo: Jama Egal