A large majority of Somalia’s population relies on agriculture for their livelihood. Prior to the current crisis, around 70 percent of people in Somalia were agropastoral or farmers. With economic resources, infrastructure, technology, and social safety nets lacking, these communities suffer under the strain brought about by recurrent drought and increasingly limited access to food and water. To survive, many families also depend on unsustainable trades that damage the local environment like charcoal production. Preparedness, prevention, and climate adaptation are vital to minimizing the scale of the impact droughts have on these communities across Somalia.
Drought risk assessment is a crucial step in developing a reliable drought monitoring and early warning system. A risk assessment provides crucial information for prioritizing and creating drought prevention and mitigation strategies. Authorities can utilize the drought risk assessment to target drought readiness, mitigation, and crisis response efforts to the communities and sectors most vulnerable to drought, as well as to areas where drought impacts are presently or are expected to be the most severe.
The following can be some of the program strategies and activities for the Office of the Special Envoy for Drought:
- Drought Risk Mapping
- Assessing Drought Vulnerability
- Drought Communication Protocol
- Declaration of Drought Conditions
- Drought mitigation and preparedness
The office of the Special Envoy for Drought will be used to create a robust drought risk management strategy based on the four principles listed below.
- Because drought is a recurring event, it is best handled by ongoing monitoring, early warning, impact assessment, and incorporating results into drought response strategies.
- Effective drought risk reduction requires the assessment and management of drought risk and vulnerability, such that the most impacted populations are involved in drought decision-making processes, plans, and policies.
- Somalia needs to better prepare for drought by enacting drought mitigation measures that will help the country respond to drought more effectively.
- Drought is best managed by addressing several crosscutting issues and mainstreaming drought into existing national programs, sectoral policies, and plans.