About Somalia

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19-20 centuries: Colonial period

In the 19th century, the British, Italians and French began to compete over Somali territory. A string of treaties with Somali clan leaders resulted in the establishment of the British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland, with the control of parts of the coasts. In the interior of the country, British Empire was repulsed by the regime in place until it was finally defeated in 1920 and led to the British and Italian protectorates.

In 1941, a British military administration took over the country. As a result, north-western Somalia remained a protectorate, while north-eastern and South and Central Somalia became a UN Trusteeship administered by Italy in April 1950with a promise of independence after ten years.


1960: Independance

A British protectorate, British Somaliland in the North-west became independent on 26 June 1960. Less than a week later, the Italian protectorate gained independence on 1 July 1960. The two states merged to form the Somali Republic under a civilian government. However, Somalia was far from stable.


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1969: Siad Barre's Coup d'état

In 1969, a coup d’état took place and the incumbent President, Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke, was assassinated. Mohammed Siad Barre, who led this overthrowing of the government, took charge as the President of Somalia, and tried to reclaim Somali territory from Ethiopia during his tenure. His attempts were unsuccessful.

The people of Somalia expressed their dissatisfaction with Siad Barre, which led to the overthrow of his regime and a civil war in 1991. This prompted Siad Barre to flee the country, after which clan-based guerrilla groups took over South and Central Somalia.


1991: Somaliland declaration of Independance

While the south-central regions plunged into instability, up north, Somaliland seceded from Somalia, declaring independence in 1991. In the North-east, Puntland became an autonomous state within the Somalia federal structure in 1998. Both Somaliland and Puntland have enjoyed some levels of stability.


1992, 2012, 2017: Natural Disasters in Somalia

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Gripped by anarchy for years after 1991, natural disasters kept unfolding in different parts of the country, leaving their mark on an already vulnerable society. In 1992, the world witnessed the worst drought of the century in Somalia and neighbouring Ethiopia, where hundreds of thousands were killed and affected by severe famine. Later that year, the United States of America sent in troops to oversee food delivery. In May 1993, the United Nations (UN) intervened, attempting to take control of relief efforts and the delivery of food. However, Mohamed Farah Aideed, a warlord in Somalia, led the ambush of UN troops, humiliating them and driving them away.

In 2012, Somalia faced another famine in 2012 that once again took hundreds of thousands of lives. In 2017, only 5 years later, the drought having grappled Somalia for over two years, plunged the country in a humanitarian crisis and at risk of facing a new famine.


2013: towards the stabilization of the country: the New Deal for Somalia

Since the civil war, Somalis and the international community have made fifteen attempts to help Somalia establish an environment of peace and stability. In 2013, despite insecurity and other issues, Somalis and the International Community developed a New Deal for Somalia. The New Deal emphasized Somali-owned and Somali-led development and effective aid management as well as delivery that mirrors these development needs among other principles for the 2013-2016 period.


2017: National Development Plan

In the first semester of the year 2017, the federal Government of Somalia endorsed its National Development Plan. This marks an important milestone for the country since it represents the first time in 30 years the government itself designs its own development priorities.

At the UN, we will support the government achieving the goals of its National Development Plan. In line with it, our new strategic framework – UNSF- will guide the work of the UN in Somalia from now on until 2021.