The Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation (MOPIC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Women & Human Rights Development, with the support of UNDP and the New Deal Facility, has organized the workshop “Somalia towards Sustainable Development : The Role of Women in the National Development Plan” on 5 June at the Jazeera Hotel in Mogadishu.

The workshop has brought together 62 participants representing women’s groups of the sub-federal states of Puntland, Galmudug, Hiiraan/Middle Shabelle, South-West Somalia and Jubbaland, as well as of the region of Banaadir, as well as government officers from key ministries of the Federal Government of Somalia and UNDP. 67% of the participants were women.

The objective of the event has been to raise awareness of Somali women on the National Development Plan and identify their priorities so that they are included paving the way for further work on women’s empowerment in NDP implementation.

Her Excellence, Zahra Mohamed Samatar, the minster of women and Human rights has officially opened the workshop.  Speaking at the opening, the minister noted that she is very delighted to see women specific consultation on National Development Plan. This initiative alone mirrors a progressive change in relation to equal participation of women in national plans and processes she said. Her Excellency noted that she is pleased to see the diverse state level representation in the workshop and urged the participants to take this exercise serious and provide solid input to ensure that women’s priorities are reflected in the NDP. She noted: “we have all been complaining about how the New Deal relegated gender and human right priorities; we have to make it clear now that that our priorities and voices can no longer be marginal; we want to assign that in the past and make new chapter”. Finally, she expressed her gratitude to the Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation in organizing this workshop and thanked to UNDP for supporting the initiative.

The deputy Minister of Planning & International Cooperation also made opening remarks. The minister highlighted the objectives of the workshop and reiterated his ministry’s commitment to make sure that national development planning process is inclusive and representative. The minister mentioned that MOPIC has been doing consultation widely across regions, but this one is integral as far as inclusiveness is concerned. “Your (women) perspectives is essential and will be part and parcel of the NDP”.

Presentations were made on updates of the National Development Plan and elaborated the pillars of the NDP.  Then participants has broken down into 5 working groups, on for each of the NDP pillars. Each group have deliberated about women’s priorities and how women groups can meaningfully participate in each sector. The main findings of the working groups have been presented and documented.

The workshop was closed by Mr. Abdi Dirshe, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation, who has pointed out that women have played and will continue playing a critical role in Somalia. They have played a tremendous role in peace-building and reconstruction. Dirshe expressed his appreciation to witness women deliberating on national priorities and was impressed by how the participants spoke about the workshop and articulated their priorities.

“I have listened to your presentations and witnessed that you have clearly indicated that women’s participation in national development processes and representation in national decision making bodies  should be institutionalized and legislated; and I will assure you that your inputs will be used to enrich the NDP” Mr Dirshe addressed in his closing speech.