Somalia’s South West State launches Local Government Law

Jul 14, 2017

Piler Palirmo (left), a representative of the European Union delegation to Somalia and Mr. Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, the President of the South West State (in red neck-tie), cut a ribbon to launch local government laws and the establishment of three district councils. The ceremony took place at the presidential palace in Baidoa, on July 11, 2017 © UN Photo

BAIDOA, 14 July 2017 – On Tuesday authorities from South West State, one of Somalia’s Federal Member States, officially launched the Local Government Law and kicked off the district council formation process in the state.   The Federal Government of Somalia, with support from the United Nations (UN) Joint Programme on Local Governance (JPLG), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), and the European Union (EU), is working to create strong, organized and representative district councils, as part of its efforts to improve effectiveness and openness in local governance. The launch of the law on local government and commencement of the district council formation process means that these efforts can now officially move forward in the State.  

Speakers at the launch in Baidoa, the administrative capital of the South West State, underlined the importance of devolving power to the lowest level, in order to ensure that ordinary people can elect the leaders of their choice.  

The South West State President, H.E Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, said his administration would not meddle in the processes to elect local leaders, and would ensure that those processes are people-led.

“We see the formation of district councils and administrations from grassroots as the success of the federalism. Indeed, we thank all those who organized, those who financed and those who came up with this process,” President Hassan Sheikh Aden added, promising his Administration’s support for the decisions of the elected institutions. “We hope they will elect good leaders who can direct them. As an administration we promise not to interfere with the elected institutions.”  

On behalf of the EU Delegation to Somalia, its Head, Pilar Palmero, noted that the process of local governance establishment in the region was Somali-owned and led. She said the initiative would improve the lives of local populations. “It is a Somali-owned and Somali-led vision fully aligned with government priorities and sector policies and plans,” Ms. Palmero explained.  

She added that the EU has been supporting stabilization and strengthening of local governance throughout Somalia for a long time. “Effective local governance is key to make life better. You are closer to the people as some would say, and you are able to improve with tangible results,” Ms Palmero stressed.  

UNSOM’s Deputy Head of the South West State office, Usman Dogar, emphasized that Local Governance is based on the principles of accountability and transparency, giving Somali people the ability to engage with and hold local government to account on the services that are delivered.  

Mr. Dogar went on to praise the coordinated efforts of the State’s authorities, UN agencies, the EU and other partners, and reiterated that the work to ensure effective local governance is carried out with the participation of key stakeholders, including women groups, youth groups, clan elders, religious leaders, politicians, and officials at different levels.

The UN Joint Programme on Local Governance is delivered by five UN agencies working in partnership with Government authorities. The five UN agencies are: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). 

Contact information

Phillip Cooper, Project Manager, UNDP Joint Programme on Local Governance