The third Annual Conference of the Social Research and Development Institute (SORADI) focused on “Somaliland Development” under the theme of “Somaliland Statehood, Recognition and the Ongoing Dialogue with Somalia”. The aim of this conference was to facilitate debates and discussions on the development of Somaliland & the intense internal dialogue on the issues of talks with Somalia, on the engagement of the international community in the discussion of Somaliland sovereignty, and on the strategy of negotiations to be pursued.
This two-day Annual Conference focused on two main topics:
- Somaliland & Somalia Talks— Somaliland Statehood & Recognition
- Somaliland Development and Democratization
Conference Recommendations with regards to:
- Somaliland needs a multidisciplinary think- tank type of institution which can serve as a hub for all information related to recognition, statehood, and independence, through participatory research, nationwide information gathering and analysis to deal with the international community.
- Somaliland needs to adopt serious institutional improvement plans to strengthen public institutions, promote good governance, tackle corruption and to achieve effective service delivery.
- The creation of an independent Recognition Commission to closely work with the recognition and independent think- tank recommended above.
- Although Somaliland fits into the definition of a sovereign state, there are still internal issues which can slow down the search for International recognition. Therefore, the conference strongly recommended UNITY to be established within the country, secure country’s borders, resolve internal issues such as the eastern regions conflicts, rather than only focusing International recognition.
- The conference stressed the importance of ECONOMIC RECOGNITION first. The country needs significant economic reform to properly exploit the country’s natural resources to increase local production for export.
- Fostering a culture of Nationalism to mobilize the citizens, create both local and Diaspora recognition advocates across the globe to convince the international community to recognize Somaliland.
- Somaliland needs to create alliances with countries that have gone through similar processes such as South-Sudan, Kosovo, and Eritrea, Taiwan etc. Somaliland research institutions and think-tanks need to take these countries as case studies to strengthen their argument.
- The country needs to consider other International statutes such as that of Taiwan, Palestine as a stepping stone to full sovereign statehood.
- The conference stressed the importance of effective foreign policy in both the short and the long term to realize International diplomatic recognition. The processes need to be participatory, the foreign ministry should be open to anyone who can positively contribute to the process.
- The country’s foreign policy shouldn’t focus only on the West, but also needs to give due attention to other countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East and also establish strong economic ties with them, which would eventually lead to international recognition. Close cooperation and working mechanism with regional organizations, such as IGAD and the AU needs to be established.
- Somaliland should prepare its evidence to demand for international recognition, e.g. the mass graves recently discovered are proof of genocide which could legitimize its reasons for unilateral declaration for independence.
- Assess possiblities of taking its case to the international court of justice.