– As the number of displacements in Somalia reaches a new high of 3.8 million people, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Deputy Director General for Operations, Ugochi Daniels, counts on donor investments in solutions to prevent further displacement, and address the dire living situation of the millions affected by the ongoing drought and conflict.
The convergence of climate risks and conflict will amplify current gaps following five consecutive below -average rainy seasons and a projected sixth in early 2023, which could force tens of thousands of people to seek refuge in major cities and towns, particularly in Baidoa and Mogadishu where IOM projects that approximately 300,000 people could be newly displaced by July 2023.
Most of the newly displaced might never go back to their places of origin because the land can no longer provide, and insecurity will only increase as competition for the already scarce resources grow. As a result, entire families will be born and raised in informal settlements amid unsuitable living conditions.
“We have a window of opportunity not to be missed. We need to invest in the places of origin to foster resilience and to prevent further displacement from happening,” said Daniels, who visited Somalia last week.
“It is also equally important to address basic services, working on social cohesion and stability, governance and justice system and climate change adaptation bringing communities together with their government and diaspora. These building blocks are essential and lay the foundation towards a pathway for sustainable solution,” said Daniels.
IOM projects aim to improve their access to land and long-term housing, social services through an inclusive planning process with local authorities and communities, laying the foundation for long-term development planning.
In areas impacted by violence and conflict, IOM has also promoted women-led justice systems, trained communities to manage natural resources more sustainably, rehabilitated schools and boreholes and built stronger governance systems such as in Marka, a historical enclave in southern Somalia characterized by conflict.
“After speaking with women, children, community leaders and local authorities in Baidoa and Marka, I can only applaud the incredible work done to build social cohesion in their communities and ownership of their future for health, education and livelihoods. IOM is proud to have partnered with them on their journey,.” said Daniels.
“We see so much potential in Somalia’s vibrant diaspora and will support national policy initiatives to maximize their sustained engagement in achieving Sustainable Development Goals for the people of Somalia.”
Investments need to prevent current and further displacement and address the growing needs in a more sustainable way to achieve solutions for development.