On a visit to the capital of Galmudug today, Somalia’s top United Nations official met the Federal Member State’s leader for talks on a range of issues affecting the state and the country overall.
“We had the opportunity to discuss Somalia’s successful completion of the electoral processes – including the House of the People and Presidential elections – and the important tasks that now lie ahead for the Federal Government and Federal Member States, including state-building, reconciliation and peacebuilding processes, improving security and, of course, preventing famine,” the UN Special Representative for Somalia, James Swan, said.
“Looking ahead, the President has assured of his commitment to work with the new federal administration and ensure that key national priorities are achieved,” he added.
The UN official was speaking at a joint media encounter after discussions with President Ahmed Abdi Kariye and members of his cabinet at the State House in Dhusamareb, the capital of Galmudug.
In his remarks, Mr. Swan highlighted that they had also discussed the security situation in Galmudug, in particular recent Al-Shabaab attacks in its Mudug region. He also acknowledged the efforts of security forces against the terrorist group, and noted President Kariye’s commitment to resolving other localized conflicts in the Federal Member State.
The two men also discussed the severe drought that has been affecting Somalia and its impact within the Galmudug, as well as UN efforts to support the humanitarian response.
Somalia is facing a fourth consecutive failed rainy season and a heightened risk of famine – it is currently believed that there will be famine in eight areas by September.
“As in other affected areas in Somalia, the United Nations is coordinating efforts with local humanitarian partners to provide the needed support to address issues related to drinking water, food shortages and health needs,” Mr. Swan said.
“We have assured President Kariye of our continued assistance and active advocacy for more international support to help alleviate the situation and prevent famine here and elsewhere in Somalia,” he continued.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the current drought is unprecedented and has affected seven million people and displaced more than 800,000 in search of food, water and pasture. Some 7.1 million people – 45 per cent of the population – are acutely food insecure, while an estimated 1.5 million children under the age of five face acute malnutrition. At least 200 children have died of malnutrition and disease since January.
This year’s Humanitarian Response Plan for Somalia seeks around $1.5 billion to meet the country’s most critical humanitarian needs. So far, it has received just 42.6 per cent of that amount.
Asides from the issue of the drought response, Mr. Swan said he had also assured President Kariye of the world body’s sustained engagement, along with that of other international partners, with Galmudug.
“We count on him to play a constructive role in helping forge a strong collaboration between the Federal Government of Somalia and Federal Member States,” Mr. Swan added. “The United Nations and the international community look forward to continuing our good relationship and cooperation with you and the people of Galmudug.”
The UN Special Representative’s visit to Dhusamareb was part of his regular engagement with Somali leaders. Earlier in July, he visited Garowe, the capital of the northern Federal Member State of Puntland, where he met its President Said Abdullahi Deni and others for discussions on a range of topics.