Support to United Nations Political Office for Somalia, Security Sector Development Office (SSDO)

11/03/2012 - 23/03/2012

Target country

Mandator

ISSAT was requested by the United Nations to support the staff of the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) Security Sector Development Office (SSDO). ISSAT provided one SSR expert to join a team led by the Chief of the SSDO and included a representative of the SSR Unit from UN HQ in New York.

The team was deployed to support a process that was transitioning towards security sector reform commitments. The Political Roadmap and the revised three year National Security and Stabilisation Plan (NSSP) set the course for rebuilding Somalia’s security sector institutions (Military, Police, Justice and Corrections) during the transitional period which ended in August 2012.

The rolling out of AMISOM’s concept of operations following the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2036 (2012) represented an opportunity to consolidate all efforts, build trust and confidence with clan leaders, former warlords and their militias, civil society organisations, and local populations.

Target organisation type(s)

Mandate outputs / products

  • Capacity development support to SSDO staff on SSR Quick Impact Projects design processes in line with SSR good practice;
  • Capacity development support to SSDO staff on SSR Quick Impact Projects budgeting processes;
  • A process to formulate SSR Quick Impact Projects in line with the National Security and Stabilisation Plan, the Somali Joint Security Committee political direction, the UNPOS SSDO strategy and the National Action Plan for SSR;
  • A set of recommendations, developed by the SSDO regarding how to balance their role as advisors to the political process with their role in programme implementation oversight. 

Outcome objectives of mandate

The objective of this mandate was to support the United Nations Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS) at a key moment in Somalia's SSR process. ISSAT provided necessary subject matter and process capacity to ensure the SSDO was better equipped for generating quick-impact SSR projects consistent with the template of the UN Somali Security Institution Building Trust Fund to support the implementation of priority activities identified in the National Security and Stabilisation Plan prior to the end of the transition.

Start date

11/03/2012

End date

23/03/2012

Summary

Specific Lessons Identified

Challenges

  • Cost-sharing:
    • ISSAT attempted to arrange for a cost-sharing approach with UNPOS for funding this mission. This did not work out.
  • Mission planning communication:
    • Mission has not been properly communicated to those concerned. Programme staff and national stakeholders were not always available during ISSAT Advisor’s mission.

Successes

  • Cost-sharing:
    • In spite of a missing arrangement to split costs, the SSDO gave good support with logistical arrangements.

Recommendations

  • Cost-sharing:
    • ISSAT to work towards a standard cost-sharing model with UNPOS following the UNDP or EU examples.
  • Mission planning communication:
    • Although ISSAT depends on its mandators to communicate missions’ dates and objectives to the relevant stakeholders, this is not being done appropriately, in particular during UN-mandated missions. ISSAT needs to identify strategies to mitigate that highly probable risk which is affecting largely the effectiveness of its delivery on objectives.

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Challenges

  • Mission conception and ToRs design:
    • There was probably a disconnect between ISSAT and SSDO on the understood core expectations of the mission. The team is in need for more fundamental capacity strengthening that a two-week mission cannot address.
    • The initial ToRs that were developed by the mandator for this mission emphasized to large degree the concrete product of developing Quick Impact Projects (QIPS). ISSAT did not have a clear idea pertaining to the lack in capacities of the mandator’s staff and the need for higher emphasis for longer term capacity development to ensure ownership of the QIPs and sustainability of such an initiative.
    • ISSAT was informed of the above gap once the Advisor was deployed to the field. As a result, the ToRs were amended to separate the capacity development and the QIPs as two distinct objectives with different timelines.
    •  Through continuous communication between the mandator on the field, ISSAT and the Advisor, expectations were managed to allow for more realistic objectives for this mission and the definition of future support to the mandator on the longer term.
  • Delivering on outputs and objectives with very little capacity and resources from mandator’s side:
    • ISSAT and the Advisor deployed to support this mission had to strike a balance between delivering the products of this mission (finalised QIPs) and the raising awareness on the importance of process-oriented approaches for strengthening capacities and allowing for ownership and sustainability.
    • Mandator staff lacked basic strategic planning and project management skills. ISSAT Advisor spent her time trying to get more information on what processes, templates, funds exist for designing the QIPs, which was very difficult to obtain and sometimes nonexistent.

Successes

  • Mission conception and ToRs design:
    • Flexibility from ISSAT’s side to discuss and rephrase the ToR according to the actual situation on the ground was crucial for being able to deliver needed outputs.  
  • Delivering on outputs and objectives with very little capacity and resources from mandator’s side:
    • This balance was found by facilitating towards a collaborated approach to design frameworks for the QIPs as a first step. This allowed for as much as possible capacity building for the staff on the field as well as the production of concrete  products that they could develop in the future
    • Working with the gender team to develop their QIPs was relatively easier than the other teams. This might have been because the gender team was composed of civilians who were more comfortable in project management approaches, in addition to their interest in obtaining funding for their initiatives. This was a department where ISSAT’s support was effective.

Recommendations

  • Mission conception and ToRs design:
    • A recce mission before the development of the ToRs and agreement on mission conception would have been very useful in this case. When ISSAT is not very familiar with challenges, capacities and resources on the ground, it is preferable to conduct areccemission before agreeing to any support, in order to get a realistic understanding of the situation at hand. Through mere emails exchanges, it is difficult to convey more than the tip of the iceberg where as the major part remains hidden until field deployment.
    • Working with the mandator’s team may be challenging for various personality-related and institutional reasons. However, it is also fascinating from a SSR perspective, probably making it worthwhile for ISSAT to remain engaged. 
  • Delivering on outputs and objectives with very little capacity and resources from mandator’s side / ISSAT’s future role in Somalia:
    • Any future support from ISSAT to the mandator’s office should take into consideration the huge challenge related to capacity and thus must focus on awareness raising and capacity development of relevant parties to allow for change before stepping up any delivery of concrete products since this would be equivalent to replacing the capacities on the ground as opposed to reinforcing them which is contrary to ISSAT’s mandate.
    • The mandator’s office is in need of capacity building on strategic planning which is a huge gap where ISSAT could add value. This is itself could be a challenge given that the staff turnover rate is relatively high.
    • ISSAT might have an added value in lobbying to raise awareness of parties such as its Governing Board’s UN members or UN HQ agencies for strategic interventions on their side to change the situation of UN Office for Somalia which is in need of proper staffing and resources before engaging in any other support operations. This could be complemented by a contribution from ISSAT’s side in the form of a mapping or a study of the capacities and resources available to UNPOS, their mission and objectives and highlighting the gaps and the needs for an effective delivery of expected objectives and outputs.

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Challenges

  • Issues specific to Somalia’s context:
    • While not going to Somalia could be justified, the actual expectations of developing the projects for the team were seriously hampered by not being able to hold any conversations with the national counterparts.
    • The programme team being present in Nairobi and not in Mogadishu meant that they were less in touch with the reality of their field.
    • The civil society is a very week and fragmented structure that was unable to play a proactive participatory role in their country’s processes managed from Nairobi.
    • The UN office for Somalia has its networks of senior political and military Somali representatives to endorse the objectives they come up with for Somalia, but this is a sporadic process that is inconsistent and not enough for ensuring local ownership. 

Successes

  • It may be that the proposed approach to the continuation of the project (remote support once first drafts have been discussed with Somali counterparts) will somewhat overcome this challenge. 

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Challenges

  • Disconnect between ISSAT interlocutors for mission-planning and ISSAT’s stakeholders when mission-implementing:
    • The mandator’s team on the field was not aware of the mission upon arrival, and were not aware of its expected outcomes. As this differed from the ISSAT understanding and the fact that the Chief was away during the start and significant amount of time during the mission resulted in wasted time and efforts.
    • Field staff members were continuously travelling in and out of office which made it difficult to have enough time with substance experts. This should have been flagged during mission planning as an important risk to be mitigated.
  • Mandator’s hierarchy:
    • The mandator’s office is very much managed on a personal-based approach as opposed to institutional or organisational approach; this made it very difficult for staff to take initiatives in the absence of the Chief and complicated the progress of the mission

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