Mohamed Osman, an economic advisor to the Somali president said greater efforts are also needed for conflict-hit countries to access funds beyond the new proposed compensation deal. The package is just one part of a proposed “mosaic of funding arrangements” for climate vulnerable nations.
He called for “innovative ways” to receive funds, including initiatives on debt relief and help to build government institutions.
“No country should be left behind,” he said during the just concluded United Nations Climate Conference in Egypt.
“Somalia is paying the price already,” he said. “We have received nothing so far and in total, Africa has received less.”
In the past two months alone, more than 55,000 Somalis fled drought and conflict to neighboring Kenya, and the number is expected to reach 120,000 in the next few months, according to the International Rescue Committee.
“Hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees will struggle to find life-saving assistance by fleeing to Kenya this year unless urgent steps are taken,” said IRC’s director in Kenya, Mohamed El Montassir Hussein.
Somalia descended into chaos following the 1991 ousting of longtime dictator Siad Barre by warlords who then turned on each other. The al-Shabab militants, who are affiliated with al-Qaida, are also active in the country which occupied a strategically important position in the Horn of Africa.
It came out clearly at the conference that in the conflict-ravaged Somalia, devastating drought is killing hundreds of people and uprooting tens of thousands from their homes.
These nation has been plunged into turmoil and wars for several years. Now climate change is an added disaster for those already struggling for survival.
The conference established a new fund to help poor, vulnerable countries hit hard by climate change. Countries like Yemen and Somalia are among the world’s poorest and more vulnerable to climate change impacts as they are less able to adapt to weather extremes.
But they have little or no access to climate financing.
Conflict-hit countries are unlikely to receive funds because they lack stable governments, said Nisreen el-Saim, chair of the U.N. Secretary-General Youth Advisory Group.
“They don’t have institutions in order to have climate finance,” she said. “You have to have strong institutions, which don’t exist in many countries.”
Robert Mardini, the director general of the International Committee for the Red Cross, said that “close to zero amount of climate finance” is reaching conflict-affected nations “because decision makers who decide to allocate those funds consider that it is too risky to invest” there.
He warned that the worst is yet to come for Somalis and Yemenis amid worsening food shortages.
Those decision makers “need to reconsider the risk appetite because there are also big risks in not investing in these countries and huge (human) costs that should be avoided,” he said.
The Russian war in Ukraine has also doubled the challenges and costs of living for people in conflict-hit countries, according to Mardini of the Red Cross.
“There is a knock-on effect of the Ukraine international armed conflict,” he said, pointing to the skyrocketing prices of food, energy, fertilizers and the straining supply chain.
“So doing the same thing in a place like Somalia or Mali is more costly for us, and we need to mobilize more funds from our donors to do the same type of project that we used to do a year ago,” he said.