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September 2016

Dear Subscriber Name

Welcome to the September issue of our e-newsletter, bringing you Saferworld’s latest news, comment, analysis and resources.

We would love to hear your feedback via our social media channels or directly to us at communications@saferworld.org.uk


Risks to Somalia’s 2016 political transition

Somalia's federal government, which was formed in 2012, caused excitement when it announced that full, nation-wide elections would be held in 2016. Now that the government has postponed them until 2020 at the earliest - largely due to technical and security challenges as well as a lack of political consensus on the formation of federal member states - the optimism has given way to worries over surging instability and violence.

Instead, a much more complicated semi-electoral system will take place this year, relying on clan-based selection mechanisms that many in Somalia had previously tried to leave behind. The process will also be vulnerable to manipulation and interference by violent actors, risking a worsening of local conflicts that still plague many parts of the country.

In this briefing, Saferworld explores the current picture of Somalia's political transition. We urge all national and international actors to balance support for this process with the imperative of maintaining stability and progress toward effective and inclusive governance at the local level.


EU foreign policy risks fuelling displacement and terror

In light of the ongoing migrant crisis and growing populism across the continent, the European Union's foreign policy has shifted in kind. Fear and uncertainty have once again caused the domestic needs of member states to be prioritised over people's needs abroad, resulting in a realpolitik, short-term and security-focused approach to development. 

In this comment piece, Kloe Tricot O'Farrell warns against the tendency to use development aid as a way to secure domestic priorities, and encourages the EU to rise above domestic interests and continue to champion the rights of the poor and oppressed wherever they live.


Texting for peace: Whatsapp-based peacebuilding course for Yemeni activists

The conflict in Yemen has led to a loss of civil society space. Youth activists in the country have been unable to effectively collaborate with each other or exchange ideas. To overcome these limitations, Saferworld is piloting a Whatsapp-based peacebuilding course that will connect youth from across the country, providing a digital platform where they can continue to learn and develop despite political and geographical divides. 

Ensuring effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty.

The Arms Trade Treaty, which came into effect in December 2014, seeks to put limits on international weapons transfers that can fuel conflicts. States Parties that wish to comply may find that this requires substantial changes to current laws and practices. Where should those states begin? This national assessment methodology provides a guide for current or prospective parties to the Arms Trade Treaty to gain a full understanding of what compliance means for them and what steps should be taken to get there. 


US arms exports could undermine hopes for peace in Yemen.

Despite acknowledging that a negotiated peace is the only way to end the current quagmire in Yemen, the US administration has recently approved the sale of $1.15 billion in assorted heavy weaponry to Saudi Arabia, which risks legitimising the current military approach and makes a negotiated peace less likely. The US Congress can and should block it.


Rebuilding health in Yemen.

Sixteen months of war have devastated Yemen’s health system. As the conflict rages on, little thought has been given to longer-term questions about reconstruction despite the growing need for health services. 

This report summarises key findings from a Saferworld-supported workshop where Yemeni diaspora, analysts and health specialists discussed how best to rebuild the fractured health system.


 

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