Turkey to host major international conference on Somalia

The London Conference on Somalia hosted by the United Kingdom in February 2012. A second conference will be held in Istanbul, Turkey from May 31 to June 1. Photo by: Foreign and Commonwealth Office / CC BY-ND

World leaders and representatives from Somalia are set to convene for the second time this year to discuss the country’s infrastructure sector and other long-term development needs.

The Second International Conference on Somalia will be held May 31 to June 1 in Istanbul, Turkey. Co-chaired by Turkey, Somalia and the United Nations, it is a follow up to the conference hosted by the United Kingdom in February.

The conference will feature forums on topics such as energy, water, roads and resilience. The main focus of these forums will be on Somalia’s infrastructure needs and the international community’s long-term commitment in these sectors.  Humanitarian aid is also expected to be tackled.

Ahead of the conference, 16 relief organizations working in Somalia highlighted the humanitarian needs of 2.5 million Somalis facing violence, disease and hunger on a daily basis. The groups, which include World Vision Somalia, Norwegian Refugee Council and Mercy Corps, stressed any international assistance plan for Somalia should include both humanitarian aid and long-term development investment.

Meanwhile, a group of local and diaspora Somalia nongovernmental organizations and some U.K.-based groups released the following recommendations for consideration by participants of the Istanbul conference:

  • Shift from a culture of response to one of prevention.

  • Prioritize urgent rebuilding for education infrastructure that is tailored on local needs and include innovative ways of delivering education services.

  • Ensure reconciliation and peace-building efforts are led by local groups.

  • Invest in human rights institutions.

  • Craft and implement a strategy to engage civil society organizations and beneficiary communities in the planning of development and humanitarian activities.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.