Somalia launches campaign to tackle deforestation

Published: June 15, 2015

Somalia launches campaign to tackle deforestation
The Somalia Federal government has unveiled a joint program aimed at tackling deforestation in a bid to protect environment and reducing emissions.
The new campaign which is funded by the United Nations, was launched by the Ministry of Livestock, Forestry and Range in cooperation with other several ministries.
Delivering his speech in the launching ceremony, Minister Saeed Hussein Iid underlined that the government is determined to fight against deforestation.
‘’ We want to put an end to this. In some places millions of trees have been cut down and no plantations have been made,” he said.

Somalia's minister of Livestock, Forestry and Range Mr Saeed Iid
Somalia’s minister of Livestock, Forestry and Range Mr Saeed Iid

The campaign aims to boost a slow-moving U.N.-led effort called REDD, or reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, which provides incentives for developing countries to keep their forests standing rather than chopping them down. Regional states are part of the program and collaborating with the Federal government.
Since the collapse of the central government in 1991, Somalia has been a haven for many environmentally destructive illegal activities such as nuclear and toxic waste dumping, over-fishing and illegal fishing by international fishing enterprises, and the rapacious importation of Somali charcoal by the Gulf States.
While the charcoal industry has grown by exponentially, the trees from which the charcoal is made are being decimated in the process. Mature trees have disappeared from the Somali landscape, leading to a decline in livestock herds and consequently affecting the general population by creating extensive poverty and famine.
In a country with little electrical power, charcoal is the predominant domestic cooking fuel and is now managed by a network of more than 30 local brokers and was also controlled by armed groups such as al-Shabaab before losing seaports they used to export from.
In a report, the UN monitoring group on Somalia and Eritrea says the Islamist group made up to 25 million dollars every year from charcoal trade.
In 2012 the UN banned exports of Somali charcoal, but the ban was not endorsed in the areas not under the control of the government.
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