Despite efforts to move past decades of drought and conflict, Somalia is facing some of the most complex crises in the world, its President said today at the UN General Assembly, urging international partners to help the nation avert a looming famine and defeat the scourge of terrorism.
“In Somalia, we are working tirelessly to transition from over two decades of devastating conflict, drought, famine and developmental stagnation to a new age of stability, progress and prosperity. However, despite our continuing efforts, Somalia and its resilient people are facing some of the most complex and interconnected crises in the world,” President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told the annual General Debate.
The crises, he added, included ongoing regional drought, which directly threaten the lives and livelihoods of Somali’s most vulnerable communities.
Ongoing drought and growing hunger
In a new report issued just yesterday, the UN warned that hundreds of thousands in Somalia are already facing starvation with staggering levels of malnutrition expected among children under five. This is the third time in 10 years that Somalia has been threatened with a devastating famine.
The President called on Somalia’s partners to do everything possible to help avert a looming famine, which also threatens the wider Horn of Africa region. “We urge all our partners to heed our call and work with us to provide immediate support and relief to the most affected communities.
Mitigating climate change
“In the long term, we must collectively work together to ensure that we mitigate the acceleration of the dangerous and costly climate crisis by meeting the commitment to invest in and adequately finance climate adaptation in the most affected and vulnerable regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa,” he added.
He cited key areas of investment, including sustainable water management, biodiversity protection, enhanced food security, climate-smart agriculture, resilient infrastructure and investment in renewable energy.;
Somalia has for the first time established a new ministry of environment and climate change to lead the process of urgently addressing the devastating impact of environmental degradation.
“Somalia is caught between floods and droughts annually, owing to climate change and poor infrastructure. Our people, who have a long tradition of living harmoniously with nature and barely contributing to poisonous emissions warming the Earth, are the ones who are paying with their lives today,” said the President.
“We know that climate change is real, and we are living with the evidence of its painful and destructive reality today. We also know that Somalia, and the rest of the world, cannot develop sustainably without the global climate crisis being jointly addressed quickly and effectively.”
Towards eliminating terrorism
At the same time, Somalia is tackling the “persistent and complex challenge” of terrorism, which he said both contributes to and exacerbates all other crises, including food insecurity, the displacement of people from their homes and climate change.
“In recent weeks, the unprovoked violence and senseless actions of Al-Shabab against innocent civilians across Somalia has highlighted the urgent need for an expedited, common national and international response to defeating them and advancing regional and global security.”;
He noted that in addition to the efforts carried out by the Somali Federal Government, the Somali people have begun to rise up to defeat the evils of terror, helping to retake villages and towns in recent months.
“We are now confident that with enhanced public support our Government will eliminate terrorism from Somalia.”
He added that the Somali Government will continue to work with all its partners, including the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, in the fight against global terrorism. “We are fully committed to doing the heavy lifting to secure our future.”