Puntland: MAP, Civil Society Groups meet to Discuss Challenges and Current issues of Public Concern.

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Garowe, January 01, 2022

On December 29, 2021, Through the EU supported project Opening Civic and Democratic Space: Civil Society and Media Together, the Media Association of Puntland in Partnership with the International Media Support(IMS) convened a multi-stakeholder conference that brought together representatives from major CSO’s, Puntland State University and Head of the Office of Puntland Human Rights Defender to discuss and identify key pivotal issues that need to addressed.

The forum was held at the PDRC conference facility, and participating CSOs were the PUNSAAKAALOTADAMUNPYAN, and PDRC marking as the first of its kind to be organised by a local partner and in a bid to merge advocacy efforts to encounter the many challenges Puntland faces.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the conference the MAP chair, Mohamed Dahir noted ”Today gathered here are civil society actors from a wide range of fields that have come together to discuss and identify the challenges we face and to look at workable means in which we could collaborate without duplicating efforts”

The conference aims to ”identify” current existing issues of Public concern and later ”merge efforts” to address collectively is built on the facts that a strong-cooperative civil society organizations can bring enormous achievements on their roles of checks and balances in democracies, including influencing the government and hold it accountable.

During the discussions at the forum, participants described that Somalia as a whole is currently undergoing the most difficult period in recent history and yet that the role of the Civil society is not weighable enough to counter the volume in challenges. Among the issues identified were the prolonged political deadlock surrounding national elections, state of the media, concerns on gaps in the Puntland judiciary, security concerns especially on the aftermath of the armed clashes within government forces and PSF in Bosaso.

The conference identified the following current topics that seek to be addressed;
A) Puntland Judiciary: Participant unanimously acknowledged that there is an urgent need to raise awareness in gaps    on issues surrounding the justice system in Puntland.
B) Conflict resolution and accountability; The Bosaso armed clashes was avoidable, unfortunately it caused tens of civilian deaths and forced hundreds to flee from their homes as a result – the conference called for accountability at every level of government.
D) Need to hold public forums aimed at reflecting on and educating the public on lessons learnt with regards to the recently held local municipality elections while also preparing the public on the expected similar elections to be held within 2022.
C) Freedom of expression and National elections: Puntland authorities have on several occasions either blocked media outlets or arrested journalists for news items with compartments on national elections. The conference called for Puntland authorities to give unconditional space and respect to media’s work.
D) Improved Puntland CSO coordination; Conference called for the need to build solid working relations amongst Puntland CSOs to collectively address the many challenges facing the public.

MAP believes that there is a moral obligation and mandate for CSOs in Somalia to say something and join forces to tackle the issues the country is facing. The Association has also offered the conference the availability of the Puntland media to amplify their advocacy messages. The conference was a much needed and a timely one as acknowledged by the participants, however, to ensure efficiency, that there is more work to be done to tackle the serious issues raised in the conference. As a start, participants agreed to hold bi-monthly similar events to build on the joint cooperation and practically review the outputs on the efforts.

MAP has been upgrading its advocacy working model in the recent months through capacity building, the last one being was an advocacy training held from 18-19, December 2021 and was participated by the Association board and staff.



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