Somalia: UN appeal for $2.6 billion to support millions amid historic drought and famine fears

MOGADISHU, Humanitarians are seeking $2.6 billion to assist some 7.6 million people in Somalia this year, the UN and partners announced on Wednesday, together with the Federal and State authorities.

Somalia is in the midst of the longest and most severe drought in its history, following five consecutive poor rainy seasons, which has devastated the country.

Roughly 8.25 million people, nearly half the population, require immediate lifesaving aid and protection.

They warn that famine is a strong possibility from April to June and beyond if humanitarian assistance is not sustained and the next rainfalls are insufficient.

“The efforts of local communities and the scale up of humanitarian assistance prevented famine thresholds from being surpassed in 2022, but millions of lives remain on the line,” said Adam Abdelmoula, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.

The drought, which is also affecting parts of Kenya and Ethiopia, is the worst in four decades.

The Horn of Africa has become hotter and drier due to climate change, and at least 36.4 million people across the region need emergency assistance to survive, according to the UN’s humanitarian affairs agency, OCHA.

In Somalia, more than 1.4 million people have been displaced while at least 3.5 million livestock have died, destroying livelihoods and reducing children’s access to milk.

“The people of Somalia are paying the price for a climate emergency they did very little to create,” said Salah Jama, Deputy Prime Minister in the Federal Government.

Although technical famine thresholds have not been reached, OCHA said the situation in Somalia is extremely alarming as prolonged and extreme conditions have led to higher-than-normal deaths.

Meanwhile, amid an anticipated reduction in funding for humanitarian assistance, some 8.3 million Somalis will likely experience high levels of acute food insecurity between April and June.

This includes more than 727,000 who are likely to face catastrophic conditions.

Furthermore, about eight million people do not have access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene services. Cholera and measles cases have surged, along with acute malnutrition, while conflict and insecurity continue to drive needs and hamper humanitarian access.

Last year, aid organizations, local communities and government authorities ramped up response and reached 7.3 million people, but now they are calling for additional resources and unhindered access to those in need.

“The Federal and State governments, local communities and the Somali private sector and diaspora are working with the international community to assist the most vulnerable people in the areas with highest needs,” said Jama. “I urge all partners to support these lifesaving efforts.”

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator Abdelmoula also appealed for more donors to “step up and frontload their support”, warning that any delay in assistance truly is a matter of life or death.

“We must also invest in livelihoods, resilience, infrastructure development, climate adaptation and durable solutions to break the cycle of chronic and recurrent humanitarian crises in Somalia and ensure that those affected can adapt and thrive,” he said.


Ethiopia’s Ambassador Confers with EU Special Representative for Human Rights

Ethiopia’s ambassador to the Benelux countries and EU institutions, Hirut Zemene met with the European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore at his office.

The Ambassador briefed the representative on progress made on various fronts in the wake of the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement between the Ethiopian Government and the TPLF.

They have also discussed at length the issue of addressing Human Rights violations and ensuring accountability through a Transitional Justice Mechanism.

According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two sides agreed to continue working together on the matter.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Ethiopia, World Bank Sign First Emission Reduction Purchase Agreement

The Emission Reduction Purchase Framework Agreement (ERPA) has been signed between the Government of Ethiopia and the World Bank acting as a trustee of the Bio-carbon Fund Initiative for Sustainable Forest Landscapes.

The ERPA Framework Agreement could grant up to 40 million USD for results-based payment, which will be disbursed in two phases, as a result of reduced emissions through forest preservation and other environment-friendly land uses, including livestock management.

In addition, specific ERPA agreement amounting 15 million USD for the first phase of the program has been signed, according to Ministry of Finance.

In this program the communities will be rewarded for efforts to reduce carbon emissions by preventing deforestation and land and forest degradation, from January 2022 to December 2024, while the ERPA framework Agreement runs up to 2029.

Out of the 40 million USD, 80 percent directly goes to the participating communities, the ministry said.

The ERPA is a continuation of the Oromia Forested Landscape Project supported by the World Bank with 18 million USD financing.

It starts implementation on April 2017 with the aims of reducing net GHG emissions and promoting sustainable land use practices to minimize deforestation and GHG emissions, including from the livestock sector, throughout the Oromia regional state.

Minister finance, Ahmed Shide and World Bank country director for Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan, Ousmane Dione signed the framework agreement on behalf of the Ethiopian Government and the World Bank respectively.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Ministry Prepares Tourism Package for AU Summit Participants

Tourism package have been prepared for the African Union (AU) Summit participants so that they can visit tourism destinations in Addis Ababa City, Ministry of Tourism announced.

The 42nd Ordinary Session of the Executive Council (Ministerial Session) and the 36th ordinary Session of the AU Assembly (Heads of State and Government Session) will be held from 15 – 16 February and 18-19 February respectively.

Tourism State Minister Selamawit Dawit told ENA that the ministry has prepared a mobile application and tourism package for AU Summit participants to mainly enable them visit tourism destinations in Addis Ababa.

According to her, more tourism destinations are being built in Addis Ababa and the Summit will create opportunity for the participants to visit the sites in the city and know Ethiopia.

“There will not be a condition for all the participants to attend all the meetings. So we have prepared a mobile app and tourism package for the participants (so that they can) visit tourism destinations in Addis Ababa.”

Ethiopia is better prepared than last year to host the AU Summit, serve participants and leverage it to promote the tourism sector, the state minister said.

Selamawit noted that a national committee has been established to coordinate the hosting of the African Union Summit and the ministry is a member of it.

Stakeholders in the tourism sector, particularly the hospitality industry, is ready to serve the guests with Ethiopian values.

Ethiopian Tourism and Hotel Market Association President, Getahun Alemu said on his part all the hotels are ready to welcome the guests.

The hospitality industry in Ethiopia is improving from time to time, he noted, stressing the need for further increasing and improving special hospitality during similar meetings to boost the country’s image.

In addition to the natural tourism attractions in the country, the government has been engaged in developing magnificent tourism destinations in Addis Ababa and beyond.

This year’s AU summit is expected to create opportunity to further strengthen Ethiopia’s tourism sector that has been reviving following the Pretoria peace agreement.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Addis Ababa University to Establish Center for Sustainable Development Goals

The Addis Ababa University College of Social Science announced plan to establish a center for Sustainable Development Goals.

In a consultative meeting today on promoting multi-disciplinary research on sustainable development, College of Social Sciences Dean Debebe Ero said the college of social science is currently providing education in nine centers.

The center aims at establishing a department to give training to interested students in the multifaceted areas of SDGs on various educational levels.

The new course under design and preparation stage will focus on sustainable development goals, he said.

The university has reached consensus with the relevant parties to start the courses, he said.

According to him, to solve social problems, it is vital not to be confined to just one discipline.

Coordinator of Sustainable Development Goals Management Project at the University, Yeshitla Wondemeneh, on his part, said the purpose of the project is to provide capacity building training and research support to the government and other stakeholders.

The establishment of the center will assist the effective implementation of sustainable development goals, he said.

Department of Geography and Environmental Studies Head at the university, Demes Mengiste, said by next academic year the center will start to accept students for PhD.

The college has completed a survey of demand, he said.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

East African Standby Force Developing Tangible Documents to Respond to Regional Security Demand

The East African Standby Force (EASF) said that tangible policy and legal documents that effectively respond to the Horn of Africa regional peace and security demand are being developed.

This was disclosed at a two-day Experts Working Group meeting of EASF that opened in Addis Ababa today as part of the 31st Policy Organs Meeting aimed at coming out with concrete proposals to help the police and decision-makers on regional security issues.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Global Ethiopian Diaspora Action Group Donates 442 Million Birr Worth Medical Equipment

The Global Ethiopian Diaspora Action Group handed over medical equipment worth 442 million Birr to the Ministry of Health today.

Global Ethiopian Diaspora Action Group Chairman, Endalkachew Zewdie handed over the medical equipment to Health Minister Dr. Lia Tadesse.

Speaking during the handing over ceremony, the health minister said Ethiopia has succeeded in overcoming the challenges it faced over the past two years through the support of the diaspora.

She thanked the diaspora community for the unreserved support they made, calling them to further strengthen their support.

The Virginia, USA, based Global Ethiopian Diaspora Action Group Chairman has been providing various support for health institutions in Ethiopia since its establishment in March 2022.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency