By: Yusuf M Hasan
Somalilandsun – Somaliland, which broke away from Somalia in 1991 but is not recognised internationally, could be considered the canary in the mine of a world that is getting hotter, and where extreme weather is becoming more common.
Across this relatively peaceful corner of the Horn of Africa, where black-headed sheep scamper among the thorn bushes, dainty gerenuk balance on their hind legs to nibble from hardy shrubs, and skinny camels wearing rough-hewn bells lumber over rocky slopes, people long accustomed to a harsh environment find they cannot cope after years of below-average rainfall.
“I you drive north from the Somaliland village of Gargara – where women speak of their heartache at losing goats in this year’s drought – and ford the fractured beds of dry rivers, passing the sun-bleached bones of dead animals, you eventually arrive in Lughaya, where open-mouthed fish lie on the white sands by the Red Sea after a wave “like a mountain” smashed into the coast this month”
This observation was made by journalist Clár Ní Chonghaile during a visit to Somaliland in November 2015 in her piece titled “In Somaliland Climate Change is now a life or Death Challenge which concludes that “This is the what climate change likes like”
Read: In Somaliland Climate Change is now a life or Death Challenge
While the devastating impacts of climate change are a reality faced each day in the country, which has the critical ingredients to respond to this crisis on the ground and can uniquely contribute to global efforts, is constrained by non recognition as a sovereign nation.
“The international community must recognize Somaliland so that the peace that was so hard-won could be maintained because the alternative is the risk of conflict over scarce resources not just in Somaliland but in the wider Horn of Africa region” argues Dr Saad Ali Shire, Foreign Minister of Somaliland
Adding that Somaliland is one of the countries that have contributed least to bring about climate change. It has no major industries, a limited carbon footprint and ecologically sound traditions. It has some of the richest solar and wind resources in the world, and has pledged itself to a carbon neutral future” the FM concludes that
“ And yet somaliland finds itself bearing the brunt of the devastating impacts of climate change in a March 2016 piece titled “To deal with climate change, Somaliland needs to be a country”
While Somaliland is slowly and gradually recovering from its worst drought in over six decades globally he situation is precarious as the US president Donald Trump who termed climate change as a “Hoax” during the 2016 presidential campaign ups the ante by declaring intent to withdraw his country from the Paris agreements reached during UN fronted talks in 2016 and ratified by the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama takes matters
Though Pope Francis clashed with Candidate Trump over environment and Mexican wall, a meeting at the Vatican ushered President Trump to Europe during his first foreign trip that started in the Middle East where the fight against Terrorism and peace between Palestine and Israel was supreme.
While multi-billion dollar arms deals were made, an international counter terrorism Centre set up in Saudia Arabia and an anti Iran pact entered with the Gulf countries, nothing on the environment was uttered by the visiting US leader.
In the Vatican Pope Francis who got the honour of being first to host President Trump in Europe not only urged his guest to be a peacemaker at their meeting on Wednesday but handed him an environmental letter as well.
In Somaliland where reversal of climate change hinges on an elusive international recognition, a global survey indicates that 8 in 10 people now see climate change as a “catastrophic risk”
The survey of more than 8,000 people in eight countries – the United States, China, India, Britain, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Germany – found that 84 percent of people now consider climate change a “global catastrophic risk”.
The survey, from the Global Catastrophic Risks 2017, released in advance of this week’s G7 summit of advanced economies in Italy, also found that 85 percent of people think the United Nations needs reforms to be better equipped to address global threats.
So is President Donald Trump listening since the Global Challenges Foundation survey found that 84 percent of the Americans it surveyed would be prepared to make changes in their current living standards if it would prevent future climate catastrophes, such as irreversible melting of Arctic and Greenland ice, with accompanying large-scale sea level rise” Wonders Laurie Goering who edits the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s news website on the humanitarian and development impacts of climate change,
Read: 8 in 10 people now see climate change as a “catastrophic risk” – survey
Coupled with the Papal intervention the answer to this question will be answered Following the G7 meeting, in which U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision about whether to pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, aimed at keeping global temperature increases to relatively safe levels.
Global Catastrophic Risks 2017 is an annual analysis of the greatest threats to humanity produced by the Global Challenges Foundation. It is based on the latest scientific research and features contributions from leading experts at think tanks, university departments and other institutions worldwide. As well as exploring the risks themselves, it summarizes the current status of global efforts to manage them.
Read: Full Annual Report on Global Risks 2017
I n the meantime and as western powers who for 26 years been deaf and dumb to the Somaliland quest for recognition haggle on whether climate change is a reality or hoax, and major powers like the USA consider withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, aimed at keeping global temperature increases to relatively safe levels, citizens continue to experience the realities of what climate change really is.
But in the background of the global mess in Somaliland where the world doesn’t respond until famine induced deaths among children occur a glimmer of hope beckons for 30,000 people in the guise of a €4m Somaliland Durable Solutions Consortium (SDSC) programme.
The project, funded through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa aims to increase access to basic health and protection services and create livelihood opportunities in the main accessible areas of return and departure in Somaliland.
“ The project we are launching today comes at a time when we see increasing numbers of destitute people reaching areas such as Hargeisa and Burao. The €4 million investment for reintegration in these areas will be vital to respond to the needs of the displaced persons and their host communities, “said Susanne Martin, Head of Resilience, Infrastructure and Productive Sector Development for the EU Delegation During the SSDC launch in Hargeisa on the 10th May 2017.
The EU project which aims to Increase beneficiaries access to basic health and protection services and create livelihood opportunities in the main accessible areas of return and departure in Somaliland will be implemented by 5 consortium partners led by World Vision that will directly help vulnerable groups.
Alternative livelihood opportunities will be offered to returnees, host communities, internally displaced persons (IDPS), refugees as well as people with special needs in Somaliland which hosts a large number of IDPS, many of whom live a squalor life in makeshift camps dotted across all major cities.
Hopefully the identified squalor in a country that can not hop itself despite local capabilities due to lack of international recognition shall apart from the SSDC project also benefit from drought relief fundraising going on in the country.