U.N. envoy returns to Somalia

The U.N. Special Envoy to Somalia has decided to move back to the country after 17 years, a bold move given the still violent climate there.

Ambassador Augustine Mahiga flew to Mogadishu on Tuesday (Jan. 24) to re-establish the U.N. Political Office in Somalia, which was set up in Nairobi, Kenya, shortly after U.N. Special Representative James Victor Gbeho left the country in 1995 for security concerns. It replaced the now defunct U.N. Operations in Somalia II.

The move came after Somali leaders adopted a political roadmap in September that will spearhead parliamentary and presidential elections August this year — a historic event for a nation that has not had a stable government for two decades.

Mahiga said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon — who paid the country a surprise visit in December — told him to join the Somalis in making the roadmap a reality. He said working in Mogadishu will allow UNPOS to work more closely with the transitional federal institutions and other organizations in the country, and called on other U.N. agencies and countries to follow suit.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.