1 April 2019, Hargeisa. A final consultation on a key local government law, called the “District and Regions Self-Administration Law”, has been held in Hargeisa, to ensure the law will be compliant with existing policies that guide decentralisation of government, and to ensure delivery of services to Somali people at community, village and district level.
The “District and Regions Self-Administration Law” is one of the main legal frameworks that will set out how local government can deliver decentralised services to communities at a local level. In 2018, the Office of the Solicitor General and the Ministry of Interior of Somaliland, with the support of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), implemented a review on the law to identify the existing gaps, and to propose possible amendments to ensure the law is in line with existing decentralisation policy.
The consultation in Hargeisa, which took place at the end of March, was the last in a series of consultation processes to ensure feedback on the law, and follows a consultation with Mayors in January. The March meeting aimed to get feedback from key Somaliland Government ministries and from women and youth focused civil society organisations, before the law goes to Parliament for debate and approval.
The meeting was facilitated by the Somaliland parliamentary sub-committee on the Interior, Security and Defence, with support from UNDP, under a UN Joint Programme on Local Governance and Decentralised Service Delivery (JPLG).
Ministries attending the meeting highlighted the need to align the law to existing laws which support service delivery, and also welcomed amendments to the law which will allow ministries and government agencies to open district level administration offices.
Speaking during the meeting, the Chairperson of Somaliland’s parliamentary sub-committee on the Interior, Security and Defence, Abdillahi Hussein Igeh (Balaaki), said the consultations on the law were key to ensuring the law was transparent. “It is in the Somaliland constitution to be transparent and consultative in every law or act that the legislators are going to develop or amend. We promise that all your feedback will be considered in the parliamentary debate on the Law,” he said.
The Vice Minister of the Ministry of Interior, Mohamed Muse Diriye, said the amendment and approval of the law was a collective responsibility. “We have together put a lot of efforts and resources on this process. We have now reached the last steps to put the law in front of the parliament and get it approved,” he said.
It is expected the amended Law will go for approval in the Somaliland parliament in the next few weeks.
The UN Joint Programme on Local Governance is implemented by UNDP, UNCDF, UNICEF, UNHABITAT, and ILO, in partnership with the Somaliland Government, and with funding from Denmark, the European Union, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and USAID.
Peter Vanderpol, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Project Manager, UN Joint Programme on Local Governance (JPLG). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Email: email@example.com.