MOGADISHU, More than 30 researchers, academicians and other experts kicked off a three-day meeting in Somalia capital, Mogadishu, on Monday to discuss ways of fostering peace and national reconciliation, organizers said on Monday.
The event which is co-hosted by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the Norwegian and Somali governments will also identify practical steps for promoting peace and reconciliation initiatives at the national and regional levels.
“The experts have been assembled to share their knowledge and their expertise and to figure out how collectively that experience can be geared to the extraordinary challenge Somalia faces,” Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Somalia, said in his opening remarks.
UNSOM said in a statement that the Colloquium on Peace and Reconciliation in Somalia, the first of its kind, seeks to generate a body of research that will enhance efforts at conflict prevention and reconciliation, which are widely considered to be a prerequisite for lasting stability in Somalia.
According to the UN mission, a portfolio of expert briefing papers that was prepared by organizations from within and outside Somalia will be discussed to critically examine the dynamics of conflict in the country and explore options for curbing violence.
“Plans are underway to publish the portfolio of papers in book form later this year,” it said, noting that participants will also identify practical steps for promoting peace and reconciliation initiatives at the national and regional levels.
Somalia Minister of Interior, Federal Affairs and Reconciliation, Abdi Mohamed Sabriye, expressed his government’s commitment to achieve a lasting peace and welcomed the contributions of the assembled Somali and international experts to that endeavour.
“We intend to make good use of your efforts and implement the recommendations that will come out of your deliberations over the next two days,” Sabriye said.
“Your years of experience and knowledge of conflict resolution and management will be beneficial to Somalia in the effort to reduce and eventually eliminate violence,” Sabriye said.
The Somali and international experts and researchers have been divided into working groups that will focus on topics such as Al-Shabaab, national reconciliation, and business and development.