Somalia has been experiencing a multi-layered, complex, and protracted crisis over the past three decades. Insecurity and armed conflict continues to exacerbate the effects of periodic natural disasters and climate-driven shocks, such as droughts and flooding. The compound and complex nature of the crisis continues to influence displacement patterns and constrain the availability of resources, while the presence of armed groups severely impedes the level of access and support provided by humanitarian actors. Crops have been affected by large swarms of locusts in the region in late 2019 and again in 2020. These infestations have impacted large areas of the country. In addition, in March 2020, COVID-19 cases were confirmed in the country. This situation and the precautious steps taken to curb the spread of the virus have further complicated both the needs of households, and the ability of humanitarian agencies to respond to needs.
There is thus a pressing need for an integrated and harmonised humanitarian response plan to continue support and interventions which address these complex impacts, and an imperative for continued nationally-representative needs assessments to provide the required evidence base for such response planning. To this end, REACH is supporting the fourth Joint Multi-Cluster Needs Assessment (JMCNA) in Somalia. The assessment will build on the previous cycle of needs assessments, as well as existing assessments conducted by other humanitarian actors, such as the seasonal studies carried out by the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU). However, while such assessments focus on specific needs, hot-spots, or are conducted at the livelihood zone level, the JMCNA seeks to address information gaps by ensuring that the severity of needs relevant to each cluster are assessed in a way that enables comparison across the country, across population group types, and geographical areas. Moreover, the JMCNA directly addresses the information gaps in crosscutting needs at the household level and facilitates the understanding of the co-occurrence of different sectoral needs.
Thus, the JMCNA aims to facilitate a harmonised response plan at the operationally relevant district level; it relies on the concerted and coordinated efforts of all partners to encourage joint planning, implementation of the assessment and data collection, and the analysis and interpretation of results. The ultimate goal of the assessment is to inform partners at the strategic level and as such is timed to be completed in advance of the Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plan process, scheduled to begin in September 2020.