Even in this dark hour, I know that Somalia’s future is bright. The cycle of disaster, hunger, and suffering will eventually be broken, and our people will be free to peacefully thrive economically, socially, and mentally. Our country has the potential to prosper, become more self-sufficient and develop into a contributor to global food security and sustainable energy. A new approach to how our Government and the international system deals with emergencies like drought will go a long way to making my hopes and the hopes of 15 million people across our country a reality.
In my capacity as Special Presidential Envoy for Drought Response, I am supporting efforts within our Government to ensure a cohesive and whole-of-government response to drought prevention, preparedness, and response, while advocating for meaningful partnerships with the international community, our Somali family around the world and specialist groups with climate expertise. My Office’s urgent objective is to ensure that international support reaches the levels required to end the current drought crisis, avert famine and mitigate a potential mass loss of life.
Although vital in times of crisis, my Office will not solely focus on humanitarian efforts. More than a billion dollars is spent on aid to Somalia each year, yet our vulnerability to climate change and external pressures continues to grow. Pursuing longer-term approaches that address root causes, build resilience, and better protect our people will be crucial to not only surviving this prolonged climate emergency but allowing our country to reach its full potential.
The approach taken by our Government, the international community, the private sector and our diaspora should make better use of our underdeveloped and underutilised local resources. We must work together to make investments in diverse livelihoods, in modern infrastructure and technology, in sustainable farming, fishing and forestry, and in green energy production and water management.
Communities across Somalia need support to adapt to this new climate reality while its impact must be mitigated but our Government cannot provide this support alone. My Office will work to improve our access to climate justice financing. Our country contributed little to global emissions, yet it is dealing disproportionately with the deadly consequences of climate change. Globally, climate action can no longer be ignored. I will advocate when and wherever possible for more to be done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect carbon sinks.
I believe that responding to the current drought crisis, adapting to the new climate reality and preparing for unknown shocks is as important to Somalia’s future as our fight against insecurity. My Office will work tirelessly towards our goal of ending this crisis and putting a stop to endemic vulnerability for generations to come by ensuring adequate resources and informed policies.
Abdirahman Abdishakur, Special Presidential Envoy for Drought Response