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Mitigating Natural Disasters in Somaliland: Policy Options and Strategies

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Executive Summary

 

The impact of drought emerges in Somaliland once again. Hundreds of thousands of Somaliland citizens are facing severe food shortages, water scarcity and malnutrition, which causes diarrhea and other associated diseases. This harsh drought, which has also affected many other parts of the Horn of Africa, is causing the reduction and loss of pasture and water, along with decreases or total losses of livestock herds. This directly affects the livelihoods of the pastoralist and agro-pastoralist societies that depend on livestock and livestock products, which have sustained the basic needs of their households for centuries. Recurrent drought also has broader adverse consequences for the rest of the population, including those who live in urban areas.

It is essential to acknowledge the importance of conducting research on drought. Such research is necessary for informing and proposing policy options to support the Somaliland Government in tackling the broad-ranging impacts resulting from the frequent and recurrent droughts affecting this nation. To this end, the central objective of this report is twofold. First, it explores existing gaps and weaknesses in climate-related policies and institutional frameworks, with a specific focus on drought-related issues. Second, it critically examines possible strategies and approaches to help mitigate the impacts of future droughts, in particular as this relates to early warning systems.

The old saying, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’, serves as a valid and thought-provoking frame of reference for this report. A critical element of any disaster management and prevention activity or intervention is an effective and responsive early warning system. Such a system must be based on reliable research and other relevant measurements and instruments designed to forecast the weather and monitor climate changes. An effective early warning system also relies on reaching out to and educating communities at the grassroots level in order to harness their specific local knowledge and experiences of climate changes and natural disasters, most notably drought. This information can make a valuable contribution to devising effective mitigation strategies and activities.

The problems and challenges of the recurrent droughts are numerous. Multidimensional policies with effective implementation, both pragmatic and tactful, are needed to address the drought situation. The Government of Somaliland is, in principle, enthusiastic in terms of its political willingness to address the challenges of creating an effective natural disaster management and response approach (including an early warning system) in collaboration with the public at large and the international community. This kind of thinking at the decision and policy making level could make Somaliland a sustainable, stable and prosperous nation. But, the decision making circle requires accurate and comprehensive research to reach positive and balanced decisions.

Creating such an environment requires a sense of social responsibility and a number of commitments on the part of all those involved. The Somaliland Government recognizes the importance of livestock and livestock products to the economic sector. Alongside this, there is a need to effectively implement the policies that were already in place to protect the interests of this vital livelihood sector. This kind of policies can also help root out illegal land grabbing in the form of land enclosures, the commercialization and commoditization of land and its exploitation such as cutting trees for charcoal production which has a negative impact on the environment.

 

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Academic Researches

Yemen: Another Somalia in the Arabian Peninsula

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The Yemeni conflict has both internal and external dimensions. The main catalyst of the internal  roots of the conflict is the unequal development interventions among the Yemeni regions that generated fragmented  governance structures and disordered societies which in reality fabricated very fragile relations. This has led certain  groups of the Yemeni citizens accumulate catalogue of grievances, therefore, justify their opposition against the state.  Not only the internal drivers, but, and without doubt, since the creation of the modern Yemeni state, it has been a laboratory of external initiatives and multiple interventions that complicated the situation and shaped the Yemen’s state political dynamics. This prepared the state to pass through political, social, and economic turmoil which broke  the hope and aspiration of the citizens.

This study argues that the genesis, drivers, and actors of the Yemeni conflict  are varied from one to another, yet the major drivers of the conflict are local, but the roles of external actors who  persistently engaged in the conflict for political reasons remain apparent. It dismisses that the external actors, both  from the region and beyond will bring peace and stability to Yemen. The study proposes possible solutions to some  critical issues include: how inclusive Yemeni state can stand on its feet vis-à-vis its quest for long lasting political  stability to overcome the very weaknesses of its institutions, thus, strengthen the capacity of the state in the long-term.

 

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