The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


State-building in Somalia: federalism, security and development

15 January 2019, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm


Event Information

Open to



Alexander Macfarlane


DPU Room 101
34 Tavistock Square

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Since the collapse of the Siad Barre government in 1991, Somali has struggled to find a political resolution that would support the establishment of a new administration. While Somaliland in the north unilaterally declared their independence that year, the rest of the people of the erstwhile Somali Republic have seen a succession of internationally-supported and local peace conferences, and a string of governance models that have ranged from the establishment of a unitary government in Mogadishu to a highly decentralised federal system. Meanwhile, conflict and the involvement of first Ethiopian and then Kenyan forces and the rise of the Islamic Courts Union and al-Shabab have meant that stability has proven elusive. While recent years have seen a degree of greater stability, significant challenges remain in determining the exact nature of the federal system, and the degree of autonomy available to regional states as well as in improving the security situation and finding means to lessen al-Shabab’s ability to disrupt local areas. 

Nuradin Dirie will reflect in this session on Somali state-building, security and development, including both the historical processes he has seen unfold and the future possibilities.

Nuradin has, for the past six years, been Special Adviser to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Somalia. In that role he was at the heart of attempts to support the establishment of a viable government, working with the evolving iterations of the federal system as well as helping to set meaningful terms of delivery of international development support and to address the threat posed by al-Shabab. In 2009, Nuradin stood for the presidency in Puntland, and over a period of 25 years has had a number of roles related to Somali development, including as Senior Special Advisor for UNICEF.

This is a “State and Market: development actors and roles” Cluster Initiative. Clusters operate as hubs for interdisciplinary discussion and thinking. They also offer platforms for the development of collaborative research ideas, methodologies and activities.