Background

Foreword from the Chairman

The Puntland Non-State Actors Association (PUNSAA) is a nongovernmental, non-political and non-profit outfit that assembles nonstate actors (NSAs) in Puntland into one platform/network. It was established on 14 May 2008 with assistance from the European Union through a joint collaboration with Saferworld and Puntland Development Research Centre (PDRC) in Garowe to provide a forum through which local NSAs could participate in and influence policy and decision-making processes at local, state, regional and international levels. PUNSAA brings together a wide range of NSAs from across Puntland, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations, business associations, and different categories of professionals, such as teachers, lawyers and doctors.
Through its work, PUNSAA provides a space in which people can debate views and organize themselves to promote shared objectives and values. PUNSAA helps citizens find a voice to be more effective participants in political life and serves to hold governments to account. By doing so, NSAs complement the work of representative bodies such as parliaments, and the watchdog role of the media. While PUNSAA aims to harmonize the various groups of Puntland NSAs, it has drawn membership from four categories that comprise of seven NSA sectors: civil society (including youth networks, women’s networks and local NGOs); professional networks (including media associations, lawyers, doctors, universities and consultancy firms); the elders’ association; the private sector; and business associations under the chamber of commerce. In bringing such a wide spectrum of actors together, PUNSAA requires that members pursue their agenda through strict adherence to professionalism, ethics and respect for the people and their rights. At the same time, PUNSAA was set up to play a watchdog role on the government and other public entities. While the government has the intent to promote what is good for its citizens, there is a need for an independent entity to keep it in check over any unforeseen excesses or slips in its delivery of services to the country. However, this role is enacted in the spirit of cooperation with PUNSAA acting alongside the government, local authorities and the international community to ensure the best for Puntland.

Executive Director’s commitments

Since PUNSAA was established, our commitment to advocate for and coordinate the interests and the voice of Puntland civil society remains our priority, and we aspire to become the largest platform in Puntland with an active representation of constituents from all regions. Our approach in the coming years is to:

Strengthen the collective voice and impact of NSAs in defending their common interests in dialogue with official parties; enhancing the inclusion of different groups of NSAs; facilitating information sharing, dialogue and consultation among NSAs at all levels; and to support the emergence of a politically conscious citizenry who will support our mission of upholding
democratic ideals and coordination of the various sectors of NSAsMajor milestones we have achieved to date include our contribution to Puntland’s media law, successfully mediating disputes between the Ministry of Information and the Media Association of Puntland (MAP), participation in the Puntland democratization process, training of 60 domestic election
observers and participating in the process of constitutional ratification. Institutionally, PUNSAA has developed targeted advocacy strategies, established thematic working groups to conduct work around thematic areas identified by PUNSAA members, and built the capacity of the thematic working groups to implement advocacy and policy development activities.We have coordinated with numerous NSAs (both members and nonmembers) to engage with national, regional and international actors in influencing key decision-making processes and promoted better state-citizen engagement. The PUNSAA secretariat, board of directors and General Assembly members would like to express their gratitude to our stakeholders. Their continued
dedication and generous support serves to encourage us in our endeavors. I look forward to working with many of you on existing and new initiatives in the coming year. Your support and ideas are vital to our success. This important work can only be accomplished with your help.