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Report: How climate change is frustrating peace keeping mission in Somalia

By Abuga Makori in Nairobi , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - International community's effort to restore peace in Somalia may take a little bit longer due to devastating climate change, a new report has revealed, Garowe Online reports.

Besides the AMISOM forces, the UN through the ed Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia has been giving humanitarian aide, repatriating thousands of people in the process.

But according to the kholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), UNSOM is struggling to make a significant impact due to frequent climate changes in the Horn of Africa nation.

For a country with over 94 per cent nomadic population, the report says, a conflict between the herders and farmers is becoming a threat to efforts to restore peace and stability.

Also, calamities such as famine and floods end up displacing thousands of people who end being gullible in the event of Al-Shabaab recruitment. This has eroded UNSOM's efforts to integrate the community.

"Climate change deeply burdens UNSOM in its work to provide peace and security, and also in its efforts to establish functioning governance and judicial systems," said Dr Florian Krampe, Senior Researcher in SIPRI’s Programme on Climate Change and Risk.

Al-Shabaab, Somali's Al-Qaida associates, often take advantage of the devastating climate change situations such as drought and famine to offer urgent humanitarian aid to locals, further reducing significantly the influence of the mission.

This, the report adds, gives the militant group an upper hand over the peacekeepers, forcing the local population to forge a working alliance with them. In the process, the terror group is strengthened through recruitment and intelligence gathering.

"Many people prefer to go to al-Shabab courts because they are less corrupt, and their decisions are enforced because al-Shabab still has the capacity to use force through survival. Of course, this is something that directly undermines the whole state-building process," said a UNSOM Officer who is quoted in the report.

To address these negative effects, UNSOM has responded to the growing impact of climate change.

Novel initiatives such as the Recovery and Resilience Framework; the establishment of the Drought Operations Coordination Centres; and the appointment of an environmental security advisor demonstrate an important set of responses which bridge the mission’s short-term need for rapid humanitarian response and the long-term vision of a resilient Somali society.

"The near-famine in 2016–17 really brought us together and allowed us to put a number of more innovative approaches into place, such as a Drought Operation Coordination Centre, in different locations," said a UNSOM Officer, who contributed to the study.

In 2019, the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs stated that communities in the most severely conflict-affected areas face food instability or displacement, with 53 000 individuals displaced by drought, adding to the estimated 2.6 million displaced Somalis.

For three decades, Somalia has struggled to restore democracy, a move that has flopped in many attempts, following the emergence of Al-Shabaab, an extremist group seeking to control the government.

Creation of state governments has further rendered the mission impossible, with the semi-autonomous states using different strategies and ideologies to foster peace and development.

The federal government has been significantly weakened, forcing the international community to chip in and help in the rebuilding process. Currently, over 20,000 UN soldiers are stationed in different states across Somalia.

Reporting by Abuga Makori in Nairobi; Editing by Omar Nor 


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