FOREWORD BY THE HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR
Somalia continues to make important progress with the establishment of permanent political institutions, paving the way towards a future with greater peace. This is yet, however, to translate into an improvement for the majority of Somalis in terms of their daily food security and nutrition, access to safe water, sanitation and healthcare and protection. Following four consecutive poor rainy seasons in 2016 and 2017, the humanitarian situation has deteriorated to a point where over half of the population is in need of assistance, jeopardizing critical gains made in recent years. The working environment for humanitarian staff remains challenging and high-risk in spite of strong Government efforts to create a conducive climate of convergence and cooperation.
Humanitarian assistance was scaled-up massively in 2017 and famine has successfully been averted so far, thanks to collective Somali and international efforts. However, all indications are that the effects of the continuing drought will extend into 2018, with the current 2017 Deyr season already underperforming and the Gu rains (April-June) projected to be below average. The devastating drought is referred to as “sima” in Somali, meaning the great leveler, making all equal, reflecting how the drought has touched nearly every part of the country with crushing effects. More than one million people have been displaced, malnutrition rates are above emergency levels and major outbreaks of Acute Watery Diarrhea/cholera and measles have taken a heavy toll on the most vulnerable. All of this comes in the context of conflict in many portions of the country. We should not let our collective and effective response thus far lull us into thinking that the requirement has been fulfilled.
Despite the challenging operating environment, local and international humanitarian partners are reaching more than three million people per month, and are committed to build on achievements from 2017 and continue highly targeted famine prevention efforts in 2018. The 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), developed by the Somalia Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in close consultations with Federal and State authorities, extends famine prevention efforts into 2018. Based on assessed needs and projection for the coming year, the HRP is focused on four key strategic objectives: (1) Providing lifesaving assistance; (2) reducing acute malnutrition; (3) reinforcing provision of protection services to affected communities; and (4) strengthening resilience. The response strategy has an emphasis on integrated, multi-sectoral service provision, and is underpinned by the centrality of protection in all interventions. Centrality of protection is paramount in the response strategy, and key protection risks related to exclusion, displacement and conflict, identified in the HCT Centrality of Protection Strategy for 2018- 2019, are integrated into the sector-specific operational response plans. Cash programming, which proved so crucial in the famine prevention effort in 2017, will again feature prominently.
The extent of growing and increasingly severe humanitarian needs underline the urgent requirement for investment in longer-term efforts to build Somalia’s structural resilience to climatic and humanitarian shocks. The increasingly frequent droughts are the new reality of Somalia and require a complementary effort to address the underlying causes of crises, and enable more sustainable solutions to the recurrence of cyclical famine risk. In line with the New Way of Working, humanitarian and development partners are strengthening complementarity and working towards collective outcomes that will help reduce needs, risks and vulnerabilities, increase (both community and institutional) resilience and ensure that future droughts do not lead to crises. This is being done by aligning the ongoing Drought Impact Needs Assessment (DINA) and ensuing complementarity with the Recovery and Resilience Framework (RRF) on recommended mid- to long-term recovery and resilience solutions with humanitarian interventions across clusters.
I thank donors for their robust, timely support and solidarity in 2017, and appeal to the international community to continue to extend its support to the non-governmental organizations and UN agencies taking part in the HRP, to save lives and livelihoods, provide protection services and strengthen resilience. Effective and collective drought response has been successful in preventing famine thus far, and sustained humanitarian relief effort is necessary to ensure the protracted drought conditions do not lead to a famine in 2018. At the same time, and for the first time, there is very strong collective commitment to “break the cycle”, based on a simultaneous and closely interconnected set of collective actions. This, however, can only be done if we don't lose track of the enormous humanitarian needs in Somalia as outlined in this plan.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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