UN Women Executive Director visits Somalia

Date: Monday, August 20, 2018

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka met with Somali Women ahead of the commemoration of World Humanitarian Day. Photo: UNSOM
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka met with Somali Women ahead of the commemoration of World Humanitarian Day. Photo: UNSOM

Speaking in regional Somalia, the top United Nations official for gender equality and women’s empowerment highlighted efforts made at the national and local levels towards greater representation of women in political structures and processes, and encouraged further progress in this area.

“I am here to strengthen our collaboration with the Federal Government of Somalia and wish them well in their very difficult but promising journey of reconstructing their country,” said the Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

“There definitely are many challenges for the people of Somalia and for women and girls in particular,” she added. “But there are opportunities as well for nations that happen only once in a generation.”

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka spoke in Baidoa, the interim capital of Somalia’s South West State (SWS), which she visited as part of a delegation led by the federal Minister of Women and Human Rights Development, Deqa Yasin.

There, they met with the acting president of the federal member state, Hassan Hussein Mohamed, cabinet ministers, female members of the SWS regional assembly and civil society representatives.

Somalia is due to hold ‘one-person, one-vote’ elections in 2020 and, in the lead-up to the polls, is undertaking a constitutional review process aimed at determining the resource- and revenue-sharing relationship between the federal government and the federal member states, defining the status of the national capital Mogadishu, and identifying which powers will be reserved for the federal government and which powers will be set aside for the federal member states.

“Somalia has a window of opportunity to advance gender equality,” Minister Yasin said during the visit. “We can have an impact on the constitutional review process to make sure (a future constitution) contains language that gives women opportunities in a very specific way so that girls and women will benefit in the future.”

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s visit to Baidoa coincided with World Humanitarian Day, which is observed annually on 19 August to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to rally support for people affected by crises around the world.

Read the full story on the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia website.