1 25 April 2017 Report of the Humanitarian Coordination Meeting
25 April 2017
Report of the Humanitarian Coordination Meeting, Mogadishu 2017
1. In 2011, Somalia faced a devastating famine that killed more than 250,000 people and
displaced millions. Today, Somalia is on the path towards another famine and unless we learn
the lessons of 2011, we will see a repeat of what occurred back then although it can be
2. This report highlights the renewed commitment to prevent famine in Somalia based on the
first coordinated meeting of its kind since the announcement of the drought and the impending
famine. The meeting was held in Mogadishu on 11 April 2017. It was convened and led by the
Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in partnership with the Muslim Charities Forum
(MCF) and The Humanitarian Forum (THF) and hosted at the United Nations UNSOM
compound under the auspices of the Federal Government of Somalia.
3. Over 82 agencies and actors from around the world attended with opening speeches given
by Her Excellency Dr. Maryam Qasim the Minister of the newly formed Ministry of
Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, His Excellency Ambassador Hesham
Youssef ASG for Humanitarian Affairs of the OIC and Mr. Peter De Clerq Deputy UN Special
Representative and Humanitarian coordinator for Somalia. The audience was also addressed
by the Chairman of MCF, Dr Hany El-Banna (OBE), also the President of THF.
4. Report overview
1) Background Drought 2015– 2016
2) Response in 2015– 2016
3) The Drought Today
4) Meeting Outcomes and Priorities
SECOND: BACKGROUND: THE DROUGHT (2015-2016)
1. In early 2016, the UN and international aid agencies launched a $100 million appeal for
Somalia to provide emergency relief to 385,000 people in Somaliland and Puntland facing
severe hunger and another 1.3 million people at risk of hunger if they were not to receive help
soon. Around 1.7 million people in Somaliland and Puntland needed humanitarian assistance
to survive– nearly 40% of the 4.6 million population. The impact of the drought in the north
was also being felt in the southern and central regions. At that time, there were concerns
about water shortages in Beled Weyne in the Hiiraan region. Since then, the drought has
spread and now, in 2017, we are facing a severe crisis across Somalia with more than 1.1
million people displaced as a result.
2. The drought conditions follow four successive seasons of below-average rains in parts of
Somaliland (spanning two years), and a below-average rainy season in Puntland (OctoberDecember 2015) and across Somalia.
3. The populations of all the affected areas are experiencing a decimation of their livestock,
failure of crops, and dwindling water supplies. Other areas of the north that have received
rainfall are experiencing pressure on water supplies and pasture due to the arrival of
pastoralist communities affected by drought in Djibouti and Ethiopia.
THIRD: THE RESPONSE 2015– 2016
1. As of October 2015, the international humanitarian response plan for the whole of Somalia,
including Somaliland, was only 36% funded. Drought response committees mobilised by the
Somaliland administration were providing emergency food and water supplies, using funds
collected locally and from diaspora communities. The Federal Government of Somalia also
donated $1 million towards the relief effort and visited affected areas in the first week of April
2. Muslim charity organisations from the Gulf countries were also at the forefront of providing
international assistance, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. A number of
western NGOs were also providing assistance.
3. Despite all these efforts, the response was far from adequate and with the unfolding crisis in
2017, it is now crucial that we renew our commitment to ensure that we do not have a repeat
of the disaster we witnessed back in 2011.
FOURTH: THE DROUGHT TODAY
1. The humanitarian situation in Somalia is rapidly deteriorating and renewed famine is a strong
possibility in 2017. According to H.E. Dr. Qasim, out of 12.3 million Somalis, over half (6.2
million) are acutely food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance. Of these, nearly 3
million face a food security crisis and emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) and need urgent lifesaving assistance. Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people are on the move in search of
food, water and treatment for malnutrition and diseases. Rural populations make up two thirds
of the people in IPC Phases 3 and 4, and nearly 90% of those in IPC Phase 4. Close to one
million acutely malnourished children will need treatment, including 200,000 severely
malnourished children who are more vulnerable than any other group and in need of
immediate life-saving support.
2. Extreme lack of access to water is a key driver of the crisis in arid areas. Due to the depletion
of water sources, some communities are relying on buying water at prices that are on the
increase and beyond the reach of many. Over 4.5 million people are now in need of WASH
assistance. Those who resort to unsafe water sources are at increased risk of water-borne
diseases such as acute watery diarrhea (AWD) and cholera. According to the UN OCHA,
28,408 cases AWD/ cholera cases and 558 deaths have been reported between January and
20 April 2017 [40,000 cases to date]. The outbreak has now spread to 12 out of the 18 regions
in Somalia. The number of cases has reached the same levels reported for all of 2016 when
Somalia experienced its most recent major outbreak of AWD/ cholera. The current fatality rate
is 2.0% that is higher than the emergency threshold of 1% and reflects the severity of the
outbreak. Limited access to proper health service for the affected communities will result in
3. The widespread water and pasture shortages have forced people to migrate in search of food
and water for domestic and livestock use. Between November 2016 and mid-April 2017,
around 599,000 people have been internally displaced due to drought, according to the
UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network (PRMN). Most of the newly displaced
are moving into urban areas and joining existing settlements or establishing new settlements,
while others are crossing into neighbouring countries. In Baidoa alone, close to 127,000
people have arrived since November, and the number of settlements for IDPs has increased
from 78 to 140 sites. According to UNHCR, over 4,100 people have crossed into Ethiopia in
January and February 2017 (OCHA, 24 Mar 2017).2
4. More than 1.1 million people are now displaced within Somalia and it is estimated that nearly
2 million people will be displaced by the end of 2017.
FIFTH: MEETING OUTCOMES AND PRIORITIES:
1. Supporting the Newly Established National Emergency Coordination Centre of the
Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management of the Federal Government
(1) At the meeting, H.E. Dr. Qasim announced the launch of the new center on the 19 April.
The aim of the center is to coordinate humanitarian relief response, develop local capacity
and mobilise resources in order to provide a more effective response to current and future
drought/famine crisis. Throughout the meeting, it was emphasized by numerous actors
including the OIC, NGOs, local organisations, keynote speakers and UN OCHA that there
is a need to support the federal government and empower the ministry that has the lead
mandate to act. Implementation will largely remain within the hands of actors such as
NGOs, UN OCHA and government entities. However, the central point for response
coordination will stem from the new operation center of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs
and Disaster Management that is being supported formally and informally by various
bodies including the UN.
(2) The key area highlighted was the capacity building of the ministry. So far, commitments
have been made by Save the Children to provide an Information Management System.
Other key players, like Adeso, are working with the Ministry on its strategic direction,
planning and organisation.
(3) With greater funding of local and national aid agencies, better transparency for building
trust and mutual respect amongst different humanitarian actors will come. These all fall
under the umbrella of the 'Grand Bargain' that was adopted by major donors and
presented at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 that committed donors and aid
agencies to make emergency aid finance more efficient and effective.
Key take away points:
The donor and NGO community must help capacitate the Newly Established Ministry of
Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management of the Federal Government of Somalia
and its Newly Established National Emergency Coordination Centre.
Better local resource management in all forms is needed be it current programming or
future interventions and the place to centralise this is with the government.
Revisit, revitalise and demand that donors follow the commitments made by the 'Grand
2. Coordination, Effectiveness and Response
(1) Throughout the meeting, coordination came up quite frequently highlighting a great need
for actors and clusters to work together in order to streamline responses, find synergies,
avoid duplication and inefficiencies, and ensure the various types of interventions are
being catered for e.g. WASH, nutrition, etc. In one example given at the meeting, food
parcels were distributed to the same camp several times whilst dozens of other locations
received very little if any due to lack of communication and coordination amongst actors,
and a lack of understanding as to which charities are working where and what intervention
is being provided.
(2) There were also assumptions amongst various actors who do not work in the cluster
systems that organizations like the UN and others could be doing much more to help the
people of Somalia.
(3) One key comment made by Degan Ali, CEO of Adeso was “we cannot criticize if we are
not part of the system and that is only how you influence it”. Degan Ali further emphasized
the need for improved coordination and in particular merging cluster systems such as OIC
and UN clusters. She highlighted the lack of or little cross transfer of knowledge that is
crucial in improving coordination and management of natural resources. Coordination is
also rooted in accountability to the donors and the recipient as the lack of coordination
amounts to great inefficiencies that will cost more in the end both in financial terms and in
number of lives. Dr Hany El-Banna, OBE said, “Coordination cost little money but lack of
coordination can waste much more”.
(4) The response by the international community and other actors was a key contention.
Almost all those who were directly or indirectly effected by the droughts and the famine
felt frustrated around response time that only occurs once a situation is in crisis or when
many lives have already been lost. The need for quicker response is critical in creating
resilience for those in need of immediate assistance, particularly before families become
displaced creating further need for additional intervention as WASH and the provision of
sanitation facilities, for example, are an additional intervention required once a family is
displaced. It must however be noted that 70% of the funds required for the next 6 months
have already been met in the first quarter, whereas the same target was only met in
September of 2011’s famine (Peter De Clerq, UN OCHA). However, it must not stop there,
as assistance is required beyond June if we are to avoid slipping back into a critical
(5) One further contention was the follow up and the absence of NGOs and other actors once
a particular relief response had occurred. It was commented that the lack of follow up
meant that once an organisation had come and provided relief, it ended there. There was
little understanding of the impact or follow up of what has happened as a result of the
intervention/s. “As humanitarian actors and donors we have a responsibility to put people
first, at the center, not our logos and our own visibility” (Veronique Bourquin, Swiss
Government Representative and the co-chair of informal Humanitarian Donor Group). This
further highlights the need for coordination not just in what, where and who, but in sharing
information and knowledge provided and updated by a central source. The recommended
obvious and assumed central source is the Federal Government and its new ministry for
humanitarian affairs. However, there is an immediate need for coordination before more
people die or become displaced. Leadership is needed to bring all the actors together
sooner rather than later.
Key take away points:
Coordination needs to be centralized. Such point of reference needs to be constantly
engaged with the clusters. All actors should be made aware of this point of reference.
A leadership drive is needed to respond to the immediate need through effective
coordination and perhaps the OIC can assume this role in the interim period.
3. Building Resilience and Durable Solutions in Light of Climate Change and Increasingly
Frequent Droughts– Localisation
(1) Ms. Amina Abdullahi, OIC Livelihood Coordinator, reminded everyone that droughts are
normal and common but in Somalia, it has now become deadly due to the loss of resilience
that communities and families have had in the past. This resilience has become much
weaker as they reoccur with their ever-shortening cycles in between them. Recovery from
and resilience to these droughts weakens and diminishes for the people, animals and
even the land with each reoccurring cycle. This is further exacerbated by the prolonged
(2) H.E. Dr. Qasim's key analysis pointed out that in the past people normally had enough
from their harvest to last them throughout the drought times and those who did not have
enough would be helped by others in the form of community social safety nets. It was
normal for farmers to have surplus food for trade or storage but with time, this form of risk
reduction and drought coping mechanisms have been eroded.
(3) It is vital to assist the people when they are still in their own community. The backbone of
the Somalia economy is the rural sector's farmers and pastoralists and the loss of these
people destroys the economy and the future of the country. IDP and refugee camps do
not build for a strong future in times of civil unrest and the need is great for peace and
reintegrating communities back in their own homes.
Key take away points:
It is important to have a mix of modalities, based on the specific needs of the different
regions/ areas. Cash should be prioritized as much as possible as an intervention modality
for the markets to continue to function.
It is important to build on existing programs and initiatives and avoid building parallel
systems that cannot be sustained after the end of the crisis.
Intervention must occur whilst people are in their places of origin to avoid further
displacement. IDP camps must be a temporary measure with the view to being closed
after families are integrated back to their original homes.
Resilience is built through building the capacities of communities, local NGOs and
households to cope with and recover from recurrent shock. This includes social protection
programmes, cash transfers, enabling them to diversify their livelihoods through job
creation and investment.
Climate change cannot be easily reversed. We need to mitigate its effects and ensure that
future programming does not contribute to further exacerbating the situation.
4. Emergency Relief, Long-term Solutions and Investment:
(1) Throughout the meeting, long-term solutions was underlined as a key driver for change.
Some of the problems identified was the lack of infrastructure making it difficult to reach
some of the worst hit areas, with a large proportion being completely inaccessible. Building
roads as a long-term solution will not only create and open up quicker and efficient relief
response and time, but can also benefit the local economy. Purchasing food parcels
should, as far as possible, be from the local markets instead of being imported.
(2) Another infrastructure need was water-capturing methods such as dams that allow rural
and affected communities to store and use water during drought seasons captured during
the rain seasons. The meeting was reminded of the fact that for years, many organisations
have implemented water projects ranging from hand pumps to deep borehole wells but as
these were not part of a systematic and centralised water resource plan, in many cases
wells dried up or boreholes adversely affected the water aquifer.
(3) Infrastructure development and utilization of such infrastructure does not come without its
own risks. Al-Shabaab controlled areas can impede the development of such
infrastructure but it was highlighted by UN OCHA that maps of government-controlled
checkpoints compared to Al Shabaab checkpoints are available and this further highlights
the need for better sharing and understanding and sharing of information and knowledge
of the situation on the ground.
Key take away points:
Emergency relief is not enough. Long-term solutions, investment, particularly in
infrastructure, water, climate-resilient agriculture and roads are urgently needed.
In addition to emergency relief, stakeholders should also plan for long-term programmes
and projects that address economic empowerment and diversification. Livestock, modern/
desert agriculture and sustainable/ regenerative livelihoods programming need to be
considered during the life saving relief stages and budgets earmarked for such longerterm programming if a true difference is to be made in the long-run
5. Quick Response and Raising Awareness:
(1) The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal in the UK raised awareness very
quickly across Britain of the pending famines in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and
Yemen and the public responded with their donations. In spite of individual and institutional
donor fatigue brought about by recent years of unprecedented humanitarian challenges,
it is vital that urgent life-saving aid is provided through intelligent, coordinated ways without
(2) The large turnout for the meeting reflects a local/ regional understanding of the crises
being faced and it is hoped that this can be extended globally. As mentioned earlier, one
of the key successes of the response to the impending famine is that 70% of the funds for
the first 6 months has already been collected. NGOs and organisations across the world
are mobilizing support through fundraising and key governmental departments such as
DFID UK has been one of the quickest to respond with financial assistance. The OIC and
OIC member states were also praised for their quick response to this crisis. As the UN
cluster groups for Somalia remain Nairobi-based, it is hoped that the new government in
Mogadishu would be able to play an increasingly larger role in local coordination and rapid
Key take away points:
It is imperative that all participants/ organisations publicise and discuss the current
situation in Somalia to draw the media and political attention as well as that of their
supporters and other stakeholders of the huge needs and funding shortfalls for actual
response. We need to spread the message and spread it fast.
We must all respond and distribute aid quickly. Rapid response limits suffering and saves
6. Peace Building
(1) Although it is oftentimes overlooked given the prolonged nature of conflict across Somalia,
conflict transformation and peace building efforts are needed at all levels. Humanitarian
response will never be a substitute or a replacement for an achievement of peace through
a political solution. Without sustained efforts towards peace, all current and future
humanitarian and development interventions will have a limited long-term impact.
Key take away point:
Concerted and sustained conflict resolution and peace building efforts are needed from
the OIC, the UN and IGAD to governments, faith leaders and other relevant partners.
7. Easing Money Transfers
(1) Given the nature of the various forces still active in Somalia's destablisation, efforts need
to be made to protect Somalia from the scourge of extremism and the financing of
extremism and terrorism. However, the meeting highlighted that many international actors
face problems with transferring money for relief response and programmes. A large
contributing factor to the 250,000 Somalis who died in 2011 was caused by problems with
transferring funds to provide relief (Dr Hany El Banna, OBE). It is a priority that the UN
exert additional effort to assist in overcoming difficulties associated with the transfer of
funds and identify an effective mechanism to achieve this objective.
Key take away points:
In light of the difficulties faced by INGOs in the transfer of funds to Somalia, an advocacy
lead is required to facilitate financial transfers for international humanitarian actors for
legitimate humanitarian and developmental purposes3. The Somalia NGO Consortium can
play this key role.
Whilst recognizing the need to counter money laundering and terrorism financing,
governments and regulatory bodies should review legislations regulating transfer of
remittances and funds for humanitarian and development programmes to ensure that
legitimate transfers are not unduly hindered.
We can avert famine in Somalia in the short-term through effective coordination of responses and
the establishment of a central information management system.
In addition, humanitarian actors need to rally their support for the new National Emergency
Coordination Center of the Federal Government of Somalia and openly share information for the
betterment of the Somali population and view this issue as a central issue.
In the UK, this is repeatedly raised by INGOs with the Charity Commission, members of both houses of Parliament
and with different banks located in the UK.
There is also a need to assist the ministry under the guidance and recommendation of H.E. Dr.
Qasim and her team including financial support.
Building programmes for resilience is also necessary as part of the short-term solutions that are
rooted in early response.
In the long-term, water is the key area that needs to be addressed and this is linked to
infrastructure whether that be dams, water-harvesting mechanisms or access and building roads
to inaccessible places. All actors who have the means need to consider how they can play a role
in sustainable and long-term solutions and it is here where the greatest impact lie for the people
Please disseminate widely the contact details for the National Emergency Coordination
Center of the Federal Government of Somalia:
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry