Funding Shortfall for African Union Mission in Somalia Could Jeopardize Security Transition, Warns Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo

Politically Speaking
3 min readMar 22, 2023

The top UN official for political and peacebuilding affairs gave opening remarks at a high-level meeting on financing for the African Union (AU) Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), which was co-chaired by the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole Adeoye. Adequate financing is critical for the Somali transition, as any security vacuum could be exploited by armed groups.

United Nations and African Union high-level meeting on financing for the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), 22 March, 2023. DPPA/Kyung Ae Lim

22 March 2023, New York

The United Nations and the African Union today held a joint, high-level meeting on financing for the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) and resourcing for the Somali security transition. ATMIS supports the implementation of the Somali Transition Plan, which foresees a handover of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces by 31 December 2024.

In addition to Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo and AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Bankole Adeoye, participants included Somali National Security Adviser Hussein Sheikh Ali, as well as representatives of Somalia, the European Union, and ATMIS troop-contributing countries.

In her opening remarks, DiCarlo underlined the significant progress made in Somalia on the political, security and development fronts, noting that advances had been made possible through the efforts of the Somali authorities and the support provided by international partners, AMISOM, and its successor mission, ATMIS. Since its establishment in 2022, ATMIS had provided an enabling environment for political processes to take place, she said, noting that it had also made progress in implementing the Somali transition plan and reviewing the National Security Architecture.

United Nations and African Union high-level meeting on financing for the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), 22 March, 2023. DPPA/Kyung Ae Lim

ATMIS had also continued to make strides in the fight against Al-Shabaab, DiCarlo said, noting that the mission had supported Somali security forces in successful operations in Galmudug and Hirshabelle, successfully recovering territories from the group. She also highlighted the handover of the ATMIS Maslah camp to the Somali National Army in mid-January as an important step in the transition from ATMIS to Somali forces.

However, the lack of funding for ATMIS and adequate resourcing for the security transition could reverse these gains, she cautioned. The Mission’s financial gap continues to widen, requiring urgent international attention. At the same time, contributions to the United Nations-operated Somali security forces Trust Fund are “stubbornly low,” she noted.

Noting the complex funding model for AMISOM (it is comprised of assessed contributions for the logistical support provided by UNSOS and salaries and stipends for troops and civilian staff provided by partners), DiCarlo said that “despite initial generous donor support, contributions have significantly declined, leaving the mission in a dire financial situation.”

The Under-Secretary-General warned that the current funding climate could jeopardize the security transition, and needed to be resolved:

“Our proposition is straightforward: It is urgent to ensure predictable, sustainable and multi-year funding for ATMIS and adequate resourcing for the Somali security transition. Our common objective — the full handover of security responsibilities to Somali security forces and institutions by the end of 2024 — depends on it.”

In a Security Council meeting on the situation in Somalia on 7 September 2022, Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Acting Head of ATMIS, Fiona Lortan, appealed to the Council and all partners to urgently ensure adequate, sustainable and predictable funding for the duration of the mission’s mandate. Lortan underscored that the Mission faced a financing gap of $40–$50 million, which was required to pay staff salaries and undertake critical programmes in support of its mandate. That figure has since increased.

In addition, in its 11 November communiqué, the AU Peace and Security Council reiterated the need for the UN Security Council to consider authorizing access to UN assessed contributions for AU Peace Support Operations including ATMIS, in order to guarantee predictable, flexible, adequate and sustainable funding for AU Peace Support Operations.

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Politically Speaking

The online magazine of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs