Somalia tackles environmental degradation

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The Somalian government said that it is making more efforts on tackling environmental degradation which is closely linked to desertification, drought, unsustainable livestock and agricultural practice.

Mr. Hussein Sheikh Hussein, the country’s minister of livestock, forestry and range said that the government is committed to eradicating deforestation by availing alternative options to communities.

“We are in the process of offering communities alternative livelihoods for livestock production and alternative energy for cooking,“he said.

He noted that over-exploitation of forest and rangeland resources causes frequent drought and floods that affect communities and create a chronic humanitarian crisis in the country.

The minister said that unsustainable production use and illegal export of charcoal remain the main causes of deforestation and land degradation in the country.

He attributed the situation to weakening of traditional systems of decision-making on access to resources, absence of alternative sources of energy and limited livelihoods options have led to unsustainable production and trade of charcoal.

Hussein said the joint Program for Sustainable Charcoal Reduction and Alternative Livelihoods is providing an integrated approach to address the issues.

The program that is a partnership between the government, United Nations Development Programme, UN Environment and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is focusing on priority actions in the areas of policy support, capacity development, advocacy and others.

Hussein said the government has intensified efforts to stop the illegal trade.

The minister noted that the government, in a survey found that about 8.2 million trees were cut down to make charcoal between 2011 and 2017 alone.

He noted that the livestock sector that gives the country 70 per cent of export earnings is most affected.