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Canada Strengthens Support for Security in Somalia

October 1, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced additional Canadian support to contribute to promoting greater regional stability and sustainable peace and security in Somalia.

Baird made the announcement following a bilateral meeting with Fawzia Yusuf H. Adam, Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The ministers discussed the situation in Somalia, progress made by the Somali government and the recent terrorist attack in Nairobi.

“In coordination with our international partners, Canada is proud to support Somalia as it builds the permanent and durable structures of a safe, secure and stable democratic state,” Baird said.

“This support will help in the struggle against terrorism, which we have seen in recent weeks remains a challenge in this region of the world.”

“Canada has a large Somali community, which contributes to the economic and social fabric of our country,” said Member of Parliament Ted Opitz. “Today’s discussions helped strengthen our relations and our strong people-to-people ties.”

Canada announced a contribution of $6.02 million to programs that address a number of areas, including security, conflict management and human rights.

“Today, we had good discussions on the issue of early and forced marriage, which Canada took a leadership role in raising awareness on last week in New York,” Baird continued. “It is in every nation’s interest to ensure young women grow up and participate fully in all parts of our society, which makes this initiative timely and important in the stabilization efforts in Somalia.”

Canada, alongside its international partners, will continue to work with Somalia to support ongoing stabilization and reconstruction efforts.

A backgrounder follows.

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Backgrounder - Canada’s Support for Somalia

In 2012, Somalia established a new federal government and adopted a draft constitution—two key steps toward political and economic reconstruction. Despite progress, however, security in Somalia remains fragile.

In May 2013, Canada announced the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with Somalia, which had been in abeyance for more than 20 years. 

Also in 2013, Canada provided $37.75 million to humanitarian organizations either working in Somalia or supporting Somali refugees in neighbouring countries to help provide food, water and sanitation, health care, emergency shelter and protection to those in need.

To enhance stability in the region, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced the following contributions for this fiscal year.

United Nations Trust Fund for the African Union Mission in Somalia: $5 million

The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is a regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the authorization and logistical support of the United Nations. AMISOM conducts peace support operations in Somalia to enhance stability and security. In 2011, Canada contributed $1 million to the UN trust fund that supports AMISOM.

Prevention and Reduction of Violence in Specific Regions: $520,000

This project will address key conflict and security issues that block stabilization and recovery. The project will build foundations for joint initiatives on peace and development, reduce local insecurity, enhance mechanisms for conflict management and build confidence between groups in conflict and authorities.

Protecting Girls Against Early Forced Marriage: $500,000

This project will work with communities to educate them about women and girls’ status in the home and in the community.

The contributions announced today build on Canada’s history of efforts to stabilize and rebuild Somalia.

Past Contributions to Enhance Security and Law Enforcement in the Region

In February 2012, Canada announced a $10-million contribution for a Ugandan formed police unit that would be deployed to AMISOM. Since 2011, Canada has also contributed more than $1.5 million toward strengthening law enforcement in the Horn of Africa and East Africa to help prevent and respond to terrorist activity.

In 2010, Canada contributed $743,939 to a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime project combating maritime piracy in the Horn of Africa. Canadian navy ships participated in counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden between 2008 and 2010, as well as in NATO missions and escorting ships transporting World Food Programme food aid.