By: Mohamed Kahiye, VOA News
Africa’s Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has opened a research center in Somalia to combat climate change. Severe drought and flooding displaced nearly half-a-million Somalis last year.
The new center, located in the Somali capital, will conduct research, collect data and analyze and disseminate new information on climate change in the Horn of Africa.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, popularly known as Farmajo, opened the new center at a ceremony Thursday. He said it will play a key role in helping Somalia tackle climate change-related challenges.
“The center will focus on ways and means to utilize research, data and scientific knowledge to help the region cope with climate change and achieve environmental sustain inability…. We have set aside a strategically located facility and we will take a leading role in resource mobilization,” he expressed.
In recent years, Somalia has faced severe drought and famine, which is attributed to climate change.
IGAD Secretary General Workneh Gebeyehu says the famine has hurt economic activity across the region.
“The extreme weather has wider implications from the regional economy especially in the agriculture and livestock sectors. IGAD region is home of 520 million heads of livestock, two animals for every one of us, most of which are breed in fragile arid and semi-arid environment that are fronted to climate change,” Gebeyehu noted.
The establishment of the new IGAD center in Somalia comes at a time when the country is experiencing the ravages of drought, floods and locust infestations, which are linked to patterns of climate change.