Somalia is experiencing its worst drought in over four decades. More frequent and intense floods and droughts fuel competition over natural resources, exacerbating community tensions and vulnerabilities. In combination with decades of conflict and instability, climate change poses a serious challenge to peace and security.
- Somalia’s two-year long drought has exacerbated livelihood and food insecurity, with increased risk of famine by the end of 2022 in the Bay region. A fifth consecutive failed rainy season may prolong the drought into 2023.
- Some one million Somalis have been displaced by drought since January 2022. Many have moved into crowded urban areas with limited access to crucial services, plagued by risks to health, livelihood and food security, and safety.
- Al Shabaab has leveraged the current drought and risk of famine to advance its operations: levying taxes on drought-affected communities, attacking relief efforts, and destroying critical infrastructure.
- Tensions among political factions weaken the government’s capacity to respond to climate change, while climate-related disasters continue to have a disproportionate effect on marginalised minority clans.
The UN Security Council (UNSC) has stressed the need for strategies to assess and manage the risks of climate change, ecological change, and natural disasters in Somalia. The UNSC has requested the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) to include climate-related security risks in its reporting, and UNSOM and the UN system have stepped up their capacities to support the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Federal Member States (FMS). Efforts by the newly elected Federal Government to appoint a special envoy for drought response and a new Minister of Environment and Climate Change can support this aim by enhancing analysis and coordination mechanisms. Future political and security transitions, including the planned transfer of security responsibilities by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), should preserve national, federal and local capacities to analyse and respond to climate-related security risks, and reinforce the UN system’s capacity to implement climate adaptation and human security mandates in Somalia.
- Addressing climate change and security in the Security Council
- Climate change and risk
- Climate-related Peace and Security Risks (CPSR)