Keeping The Peace In Somalia (Puntland)

Keeping The Peace In Somalia (Puntland)

Year(s): 1998 – present.

Location: Puntland State of Somalia, Somalia.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Horizontal (non-state) Intrastate Conflict, Risk of a Conflict Relapse.

Type of Initiative: Local action and peace infrastructure.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): Local people and organisations.

Impact: Limited.

Summary: Puntland has enjoyed relative peace while conflict has continued across most of Somalia.

Description of Case 

The 1993 Mudug Peace Agreement and the formation of Puntland in 1998 brought peace to the region, effectively cutting off Puntland and Somaliland from the war-torn southern and central regions of Somalia and providing a framework for managing conflict within those polities. However, where Somaliland enjoyed a linear progression to relative stability and prosperity, the peace in Puntland had to be painstakingly maintained. The delegates who established Puntland in 1998 had agreed that elections should be held within three years. Provisions for the contest were not made, and when the deadline passed rival SSPF leaders fought for power. The conflict raged throughout 2002, until the leaders were persuaded to enter into dialogue by prominent clan elders in early 2003. Formal talks were held in May, culminating in the Puntland Peace Agreement.[1] In 2004, disputes between rival clans in Somaliland and Puntland threatened to sour relations between the two polities, however this was averted thanks to another successful mediation by prominent elders. A similar conflict threatened the key city of Galkayo in 2005, but this was also resolved by local elders, who were able to broker the Ramada Peace Agreement.[2] Time and again, local elders employing traditional methods of peacemaking were able to end conflicts across the region before they escalated, providing the nascent institutions of Puntland with the time they needed to mature.

In January 2005, Puntland witnessed its first peaceful transition of power as the incumbent president gave way to the winning candidate following an election. While this contest only took place within parliament (the population did not vote), it set in motion a series of developments that have maintained peace and stability across Puntland. Trade agreements were negotiated with the United Arab Emirates, bringing investment and prosperity, while a reformist candidate who won the 2009 election strengthened the judiciary and police, established a transparent public finance system, and drafted a new constitution which would introduce multi-party democracy to Puntland.[3] In 2012, after another conference of 478 delegates from across the polity approved the draft, the new constitution was promulgated, and five political parties registered with the newly established Puntland Electoral Commission – prior to this, political parties were banned in Puntland.[4] These developments took place while conflict continued to rage across much of the rest of Somalia; a fate that would have befallen Puntland were it not for local peacemaking and statebuilding efforts. 


[1] IRIN News. “Puntland opponents sign peace deal.” The New Humanitarian. (19 May 2003) Available at: (Accessed 28/10/2021)

[2] Ramada Peace Agreement, 2005. Available at: (Accessed 28/10/2021)

[3] Ahmed Abbas Ahmed & Ruben Zamora. “Puntland constitutional review process.” Accord, Vol. 21. (2010) pp.91-3

[4] Interpeace. “A historic moment: Puntland’s constitution now ratified.” Interpeace News. (20 April 2012) Available at: (Accessed 28/10/2021)