MOGADISHU, (Xinhua) --
A two-day UN-backed international conference on
charcoal kicked off in Mogadishu on Monday with Somali
government calling for international help to stop illegal
exports of charcoal from the country.
Mahdi Mohamed Guled,
Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia, also appealed to African and
Gulf States cooperation in halting the vice which is rampant in
the Horn of Africa nation.
Guled also called
for urgent action and support from the international community
and countries that are importing charcoal and reaffirmed the
government’s commitment to provide alternative livelihood and
“We need a holistic
response to address the issues of charcoal in Somalia,” Guled
said in his opening remarks, according to a statement released
from the UN mission in Somalia which organized the forum along
with UN Environment, UNDP and the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the UN (FAO).
“Both the demand and
supply side have to be tackled—to do this we need cooperation to
implement the UN Security Council Resolution and ensure the
environmental, economic and human losses that happen because of
illegal charcoal trade are curbed,” Guled said.
The exports of
charcoal from Somalia have been banned, both by a 2012 UN
Security Council resolution and by the Somali government, due to
its destructive effect on the environment and its exacerbation
of conflict and humanitarian crises.
According to the UN,
an estimated 8.2 million trees were cut down for charcoal in
Somalia between 2011 and 2017, increasing land degradation, food
insecurity and vulnerability to flooding and drought.
Over 80 percent of
charcoal produced in Somalia is exported to Gulf States and
Illegal trade in
charcoal is recognized as a key contributor to insecurity in
Somalia, providing a major source of funding for militias,
terrorist groups, and other actors linked to conflict, who
illegally tax exports.
Peter de Clercq,
Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for
Somalia, said the environmental destruction brought on by the
charcoal trade contributes to drought, flooding, the loss of
livelihoods and increase in food insecurity.
conflict, this exacerbates the humanitarian situation in
Somalia. But due to high levels of poverty in Somalia and lack
of opportunities, many are forced to turn to unsustainable and
illegal livelihoods, such as charcoal production. The people of
this country deserve better,” de Clercq said.
intends to rally support for concrete action, including
partnerships with investors, to stop the illegal trade and to
strengthen ongoing work in developing alternative livelihoods
and alternative energy sources in Somalia.
Koudenoukpo, UN Environment Regional Director for Africa, said
regional partnership is key to stopping the unsustainable
production, use and export of charcoal in Somalia.
“UN Environment and
its partners are supporting the government of Somalia to develop
sound policy frameworks to support the ban and find alternatives
to charcoal,” she said.
expected to develop a concrete road map for action, including
enforceable regional policies, to halt charcoal trade, as well
as its unsustainable production and use within Somalia.