Erik Solheim, Chair of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), visited Hargeisa today, 26 October 2013. Mr Solheim’s visit is focusing on progress and challenges in implementing the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States. The New Deal is an innovative framework to guide effective cooperation between countries affected by conflict and their international partners in support of peace- and state-building efforts. The New Deal was endorsed by over 40 countries and organisations in December 2011.
Mr Solheim met with the President of Somaliland, H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Silanyo, and will be meeting with other senior government officials, representatives from civil society and the private sector, and members of the international community during his visit. He will also visit local development projects that focus on improving the livestock industry and reforming the civil service.
“I am pleased to learn about the considerable developmental progress being made in Somaliland,” said Mr Solheim, “and the high level of ownership at all levels of society in Somaliland. This bodes well for achieving continued, sustained development progress as the New Deal starts implementation and I encourage international development partners to continue their strong support to the people of Somaliland.”
Mr Solheim discussed with senior government officials ways of advancing the Somaliland Special Arrangement, which was agreed as part of the Somali compact at a New Deal conference in Brussels ( 16 September). The Agreement serves as a strategic framework for international partners to support a limited number of priority areas of Somaliland’s Development Plan. It sets out partnership principles, preferred financing modalities and mechanisms for coordination and monitoring.
“I welcome the development of the Somaliland Special Arrangement,” said Mr Solheim. “Government and development partners have much to gain from focusing and aligning their efforts behind this strategic framework, as well as the principles and commitments of the New Deal and other international agreements on aid and development effectiveness.”
Erik Solheim took the lead of the DAC in January 2013, a position to which he was unanimously elected. The DAC is a unique international forum of many of the largest funders of aid, including 29 member governments, as well as the World Bank, IMF and UNDP, who participate as observers. Mr Solheim took the position after holding the combined portfolio of Norway’s Minister of the Environment and International Development from 2007-2012; he also served as Minister of International Development from 2005 to 2007. Throughout his time in office, Mr Solheim emphasised the importance of conflict prevention. He was also the main negotiator in the peace process in Sri Lanka and has contributed to peace processes in Burundi, Nepal, Myanmar and Sudan