His Excellency Federal President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” convened a high-level roundtable meeting in the Somali capital today to address the severe drought currently afflicting over six million people and agree on the necessary steps to avert another devastating famine in the country. A communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting identified the drought crisis as the top priority currently facing Somalia and noted its particularly harsh impact on women, children and disabled persons. Participants in the roundtable discussions welcomed President Farmaajo’s declaration of a national disaster and warned of the risks posed by the drought in undermining the significant progress achieved in the country over the past five years.
Participants proposed the immediate implementation of a number of specific measures to mitigate the effects of the drought. These include the removal of all obstacles to the delivery of assistance, extending to the import and export of foodstuffs, critical supplies and remittances; the temporary suspension of new bureaucratic requirements placed on aid providers at the level of federal member states and regions; the provision of security; increased logistical support for access to drought-stricken areas; and the rehabilitation of vital infrastructure.
The meeting was convened in line with the Mogadishu Declaration of 22 February 2017 and was attended by 31 delegations representing the Federal Government of Somalia, each of Somalia’s federal member states, international partner countries, the African Union, the United Nations, as well as representatives of civil society, communities of faith and the private sector.
Participants highlighted the importance of a collective and coordinated approach. The critical role of national and international non-governmental organizations and United Nations agencies in providing life-saving assistance and livelihood support to populations at risk was emphasised. The communiqué also underscored the role of the country’s private sector in facilitating the delivery of supplies to reach the most vulnerable communities and called on the Somali diaspora to increase its remittances to support the drought response.
Participants agreed to strengthen the role of the National Drought Response Committee and its state-level counterparts in the engagement of all actors in a coordinated plan of action to lessen the impact of the drought and prevent another famine.
The meeting adopted a position of zero tolerance to the diversion of humanitarian assistance and pledged to hold accountable anyone engaging in such misconduct. Participants urged the independent media to play a watchdog role in this regard and provide regular updates on the effectiveness of the drought response to the Federal Government and international partners.
“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,” the communiqué concluded.