Hargeisa, Somaliland, March 14, 2017 – The African Water Facility (AWF) held on February 21, 2017 a launching ceremony and workshop to officially kick-start the Water Resources Management and Investment Plan project for Somaliland. The AWF has provided a €3-million grant to support this project in the aim of building resilience to climate change and reducing water stress in Somaliland. The launching ceremony, opened by the Honorable Hussein Abdi Boos Minister of Water Resources was attended by 37 participants including Ministers of Mineral and Energy, Environment, Rural Development and Agriculture as well as representatives from the AWF, the African Development Bank, the United Nations, bilateral and multilateral partners. Ultimately, the AWF Water Resources Management and Investment Plan project will improve the management of water resources and attract investments for better water infrastructure and services in this country particularly vulnerable to drought and climatic conditions. The local population and economy will greatly benefit from this project, particularly in the pastoralism which is one of the key sectors of the Somaliland economic growth.
Historic Droughts Severely Affecting Somaliland. In 2010-2012 and recently this year, Somalia suffered some of its most serious droughts in its history, resulting in the reduction of herd sizes, putting 250,000 people at risk of starvation and internally displacing 100,000 people in the Somaliland region alone. The lack of development and poor management of water resources is the leading cause of its vulnerability to drought, and one of the key constraints to improving livelihoods and economic development, hence the great importance of this project for future generations.
AWF pioneering in supporting water project implementation in African Fragile States. In a first, AWF is serving as an executing agency supporting fragile states in Africa. The Minister of Water Resources in the launching ceremony opening statement underlined the importance of the project in planning and implementing sustainable water resources development to build resiliencies and ensure the water security of the country. Following the launching ceremony, the main stakeholders of the project, and particularly the project implementation unit’s members, received training to ensure the project smooth implementation.
Improving Water Infrastructure & Management to Fight Climate Change Impacts. The AWF project is a critical step in Somalia’s efforts to protect its pastoralists and a large section of its population from the impacts of climate change since they are so dependent on the availability of water for their livelihood. It is also a key step in attracting the kind of future investment in water resources management needed to make catastrophic droughts a thing of the past. The Somalis’ lives and livelihoods are particularly dependant on highly vulnerable water infrastructure at the mercy of increasingly intense climate variations. About 60% of the population of the Somaliland region depend on livestock and mainly access water through make-shift wells and streams. “The AWF grant will support the preparation of a water resources management and investment plan that will help create water security and climate resilience, enhance ongoing efforts to recover from the impacts of drought, improve livelihoods and support economic recovery,” said Jean Michel Ossete, AWF Acting Coordinator.
Supporting Disaster Mitigation & Increasing Investments in water uses. The AWF grant will also support the preparation of bankable investment projects to attract investments in multipurpose water uses, integrated water supply for rural population and livestock, rural sanitation and hygiene, urban water supply and sanitation, small-scale high-value irrigated crop production and disaster mitigation.