25th April 2018, Mogadishu. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has handed over 600 gas cylinders, 300 fuel-efficient cooking stoves, and 20 tons of briquettes to the Federal Government for distribution to IDP communities and communities in Mogadishu, for use in cooking as an alternative to charcoal. The donation of equipment was supported by funding from the European Union (EU).
Biomass briquettes made of organic materials, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders and fuel-efficient cooking stoves, along with development of alternative livelihoods and other alternative energy solutions, can help reduce the production and use of charcoal in Somalia. Export of charcoal from Somalia has been banned by a 2012 United Nations Security Council resolution and in April 2018 the Somali government also banned charcoal trade, as it leads to deforestation and land degradation, and contributes to conflict and insecurity. Indoor air pollution caused by charcoal and fire wood is also a silent killer – it is estimated by WHO that every year there are 11,300 deaths in Somalia due to respiratory diseases caused by indoor pollution.
The handover ceremony was attended by Ministers and high-level officials from the Ministry of the Environment of the Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources, and the Ministry of Livestock, Forestry and Rangeland. UNDP Somalia Country Director, Mr George Conway, and the manager of the EU Energy and Infrastructure Programme, Mr. Mohamed Haji, were also in attendance.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Livestock, Forestry and Rangeland, Mr. Abdikarim Kahlif Dhalac, thanked UNDP and the EU for their support on behalf of the Federal Government and sector Ministries. “Today marks a milestone moment in mitigating deforestation and land degradation and in implementing alternative solutions to charcoal.”
“It’s our responsibility in the Federal Government to take forward this work, to protect our environment and ensure equitable use of our natural resources,” he added.
The manager of the EU Programme for Energy and Infrastructure, Mr. Haji Mohamed, said the EU remains committed to addressing issues linked to unsustainable charcoal use, and improving natural resource management across Somalia. “Natural resource management is a critical component of all EU programmes and initiatives. We are proud to support and appreciate the expansion of energy options in Somalia, which will significantly contribute to controlling the alarming rate of deforestation,” he said.
UNDP Somalia Country Director, Mr. George Conway, reiterated that Somalia’s dependence on charcoal is a major security and development challenge. “Unsustainable use of charcoal results in irreversible environmental degradation and has consequences in the form of poor living conditions and negative impacts on Somalia’s economy,” he said.
“UNDP remains committed to and looks forward to strengthening our partnerships with the Somali Government, and national and international organizations, to address development challenges in Somalia,” Mr. Conway added.
UNDP is supporting the Government to provide alternative energy options to charcoal use under the United Nations Joint Programme on Sustainable Charcoal Reduction and Alternative Livelihoods (PROSCAL), which is funded by Sweden, the European Union and Italy.
Abdul Qadir, Climate Change and Resilience Portfolio Manager, United Nations Development Programme Somalia, Email: email@example.com
Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, United Nations Development Programme Somalia, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org