Communiqué Following the High-Level Roundtable Meeting Held in Mogadishu on the Drought Response in Somalia
Under the patronage of His Excellency President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo”, and in line with the Mogadishu Declaration of 22 February 2017, 31 delegations and representatives of civil society, the private sector, and each of the Federal Member States, convened in Mogadishu to address the suffering currently facing more than six million Somalis because of the severe drought, and to agree on actions to prevent another famine in Somalia.
We welcome the leadership of President Farmaajo in declaring a national disaster, and offer our full support in alleviating suffering and preventing the situation from deteriorating further.
We acknowledge the significant progress made in Somalia over the past five years and the risk the current drought poses to the gains made. We recognise the particular impact the drought has on women, children and disabled persons. Thus, we pledge to maintain the drought as our first priority and recognise the urgent need to do what we can to save lives.
We draw on lessons from the devastating famine of 2011-12, and commit to taking all necessary action to avoid the mistakes made then, and to improve on our collective response.
The scale of the crisis and its impact on millions of lives, as well as on regional stability and long-term socio-economic growth, require unity of purpose and action. In this moment of national and international solidarity, everyone can contribute to the response.
The responsibility to act concerns all actors: the Federal Government, the Federal Member States, local elders and leaders, communities of faith, civil society, the private sector, the media, the Somali diaspora, and international partners, including the African Union, donors and neighbouring countries.
We commit to developing a pragmatic mix of short-term emergency interventions to prevent famine, and sustainable, durable solutions that will allow Somalia to move beyond annual crisis response to building resilience at the individual and national levels.
As part of a collective call to action, several concrete measures should be considered and implemented immediately. These should include, inter alia: the removal of all impediments to the delivery of assistance, including on imports and exports of foodstuffs and critical supplies, as well as on remittances; the temporary suspension of new bureaucratic requirements at the sub-federal level on aid providers; the provision of security; increased logistical support for access, and the rehabilitation of vital infrastructure.
Additional measures should also address the adjustment, where possible, of existing programmes and projects to benefit drought-affected populations; the generation and sharing of accurate information and data to support the response; a substantial increase in individual, corporate, UN, donor and diaspora financial contributions; and the meaningful and constructive participation in established coordination structures.
To this effect, we agree to strengthen the role of the National Drought Response Committee and their counterparts at state level to engage all actors across all sectors of Somali society to contribute toward the ongoing drought response and prevention of famine. We also encourage support to, and participation in state-level Drought Response Committees, and call for effective and harmonious links between state and federal coordination mechanisms.
We stress, in particular, the role of international and national NGOs, and UN agencies, in providing life-saving assistance and livelihood support to populations in need; the responsibility of independent media as an active watchdog, and in providing regular and transparent updates on the drought and its response to both the international community and the Federal Government of Somalia through the National Drought Response Committee; the role of the private sector in supporting the delivery of supplies, in restoring effective markets and in reaching the most vulnerable; and the importance of the Somali Diaspora, whom we urge to increase remittances to Somalia and to support the drought response both in Somalia and abroad.
We welcome the establishment by the Federal Government of Somalia of special accounts in the Central Bank of Somalia and six commercial banks to receive donations from concerned citizens and friends of Somalia. These accounts will be independently audited at six-month intervals and public statements posted on the Ministry of Finance website (or NDRC) to ensure public access to information about how money has been allocated and spent.
Because a call to action is designed to create an enabling environment for the safe and rapid delivery of vital assistance, including through the removal of roadblocks, the harmonization of legal frameworks and appropriate regulations for the unimpeded import of assistance, we declare non-tolerance to diversion of assistance and pledge to take firm action against anyone engaging in such misconduct. Such action will cover all forms of diversion and manipulation of the response, including private profiteering.
We ask the National Drought Response Committee to immediately guide, with all interested stakeholders, the further identification of concrete responses, establish appropriate and simple monitoring and mutual accountability procedures, and implement all required actions to support safe and anonymous reporting of impropriety in the drought response.
Finally, in line with the Mogadishu Declaration, we agree to increase intra-regional cooperation, in order to address the immediate crisis as well as to design long-term food security strategies and investments in the region’s resilience to humanitarian shocks and climate change. Only through urgent, collective and sustained action will we meet today’s urgent challenge and build a more prosperous and safe environment for future generations in Somalia and its neighbours.