Djibouti, December 13, 2010: Academicians and peace activists from Puntland and Somaliland met here today to draw a road map for cooperation and collaboration between the two and in the process pave the way for socio-economic development and lasting security for both.
Sponsored by Inter-Governmental authority on Development (IGAD) office of the Facilitator for Somalia peace and national reconciliation, and facilitated by the Horn Economic and Social Policy Institute (HESPI), the five-day Consultative Meeting is the first of its kind since the implosion of Somalia in 1991.
“Both Somaliland and Puntland and their people should be encouraged to establish a forum to openly discuss common issues and resolve any disputes”, said H.E Kipruto Arap Kirwa the Facilitator for Somalia peace and national reconciliation. He added that by strengthening and supporting this states in terms of socio-economic development as part of a larger approach to ensure stability in Somalia as whole is an imperative that cannot be ignored.
Ali Issa Abdi, Managing Director of HESPI, observed: “By any measure of the Millennium Development Goals and human development indices, Somalis are some of the most disadvantaged human beings as their basic education, health, water and sanitation needs remain only a pipe-dream”.
The meeting will underscore the following sign-posts in the roadmap:
• In education the meeting will design a formula for a unified education system that caters for a common curriculum, students and education professionals exchange programs, and teachers’ training;
• Environmental degradation has taken its toll on forest and water resources of both Puntland and Somaliland. It needs to be tackled in earnest. In the same way Puntland and Somaliland fishing resources are well underway to extinction in the absence of protection from foreign fleets. They ignore depletion of this most important resource at their peril;
• Puntland and Somaliland need to address common external threats the chief of which is Al Shabaab. They will also have to revisit their age-old traditions to contain internal territorial disputes. Traditional Somali peace-making is an unbroken track-record of success;
• Puntland and Somaliland do themselves no favor hurling mutual accusations in the media. A policy of encouraging give and take in programming media output would help to encourage mutual respect and understanding;
• Trade facilitation and the movement of people and goods across Puntland and Somaliland would not only break psychological barriers but would benefit the living standards of both;
• Also in the interest of national and international trade Puntland and Somaliland should contain the rampant piracy along their shores and beyond.
The roadmap, once adopted by the Consultative Meeting will have to be embraced by the people of Puntland and Somaliland and submitted for the approval of their respective authorities