Statement at the High Level Segment
H.E. Buri M. Hamza
Minister of Environment
The Transitional Federal Government of the Somali Republic
Honorable Heads of State
Honorable Prime Ministers
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Allow me Mr. President at the outset to express my profound gratitude and appreciation to the Government and people of Denmark for the warm welcome and for the excellent facilities put at the disposal of all the participants of COP 15.
We are confident this historic opportunity that has availed itself thanks to the extraordinary efforts exerted by the hosting country and by all the Parties to the Convention, will not be squandered. We are also confident this Conference will deliver on its promises because we are concerned about our planet and because we are negotiating the future of our youth. I believe that there is a glimmer of hope and I am sure we would soon celebrate the success of this important occasion.
Somalia, Mr. President, has experienced dramatic environmental shifts following two decades of insecurity and chaos in the country. The protracted crisis has led to an unsustainable use of the country’s resources. Corrupt businessmen, warlords, and other violent radical groups, with the help of external spoilers, have contributed to deforestation and depletion of our wildlife resources.
The cutting of trees and the making of charcoal is still considered a lucrative source of revenue for these warlords and for the radical extremists. They export charcoal to some of the countries in the area, where logging is forbidden and the local forests are more protected. The revenue accrued from this export is used in the perpetuation of further exploitation of the country’s resources and in the prolongation of anarchy and violence. This overexploitation of resources and the indiscriminate cutting of trees have led to deforestation and desertification and, as a result, made the country more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The lives and livelihoods of our farmers and of the local communities have been seriously affected by the impacts of the climate change.
Somalia, Mr. President, has also succumbed to overexploitation of its marine resources. Its unprotected 3333-Km coastline has attracted foreign vessels, which are engaged, not only in looting the marine resources, but are also involved in flushing their wastes into the territorial waters without being accountable for that. It is also believed, Mr. President, that toxic wastes are being dumped into the unprotected Somali territorial waters. Dead fish and closed barrels with chemical contents have been seen floating over the Somali territorial waters.
In addition to what I have just mentioned in terms of the overexploitation of our marine resources, and the marine pollution that is not of our making, the impacts of the climate change are already causing coastal erosion and possibly a rise in the level of our seas. The lives and livelihoods of our fishermen along our 3333-km coast are being seriously jeopardized. Our coastal infrastructures are being affected. The displacement of people and the proliferation of piracy constitute a very serious dilemma for a country that is trying hard to bail itself out of the predicament that has lasted for a long time.
Somalia, Mr. President, continues to witness extreme weather events, changes in weather patterns, floods and droughts, and the vanishing of its biodiversity. Agricultural production, food security and access to water resources are being severely compromised by climate change. Human health is also impacted by the climate change. Malaria and other vector-borne diseases are now prevalent in areas that were not previously endemic. This is indicative of the fact that the impacts of climate change have altered the ecology of the vectors that transmit certain virulent pathogens that cause some of the most debilitating diseases in our country.
The current Transitional Federal Government of Somalia is determined, its own political, social and economic predicaments notwithstanding, to deliver and be part of the global effort that aims at curbing the impacts of climate change. Our country’s belated accession to the UNFCCC is indicative of our solid determination to be proactively engaged. We believe that this accession is timely and cogent. It comes at a time when our planet is bracing for severe challenges and far-reaching consequences as the impacts of the climate change are menacing our planet and engendering poverty, hunger, destruction of vital infrastructures, a rise in sea levels, the spread of desertification and deforestation, not to mention the loss of biodiversity and the severe land degradation and soil erosion.
As a Party to this Convention, and a participant to the Fifteenth Session of the Conference of Parties and to the Fifth Session of the Conference of Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, Somalia strongly supports the position of the African Group, the Group of 77 and China, and that of the Least Developed Countries. Somalia will also be guided by the Bali Roadmap. It will support the objectives and the spirit of the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol Mr. President provides a very strong legal basis of action for the developed countries to reduce their emissions.
We hope that the outcome of this Conference would ensure that the global temperature stabilize at a temperature well below 1.5 degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. We also hope that the outcome of the Conference would establish a greenhouse gas stabilization of 350 parts per million of Carbon Dioxide equivalent.
Somalia contends that adaptation is an important component of responsive efforts to climate change, and believes that international cooperation on adaptation to climate change must be further enhanced. As Somalia is one of the countries most affected by the impacts of the climate change, it is imperative to focus on adaptation. But it is also imperative that Somalia, while struggling to restore peace and stability in the country, is provided with the financial assistance required for the implementation of the programmes on adaptation. The developed countries must honour their pledges and provide adequate financial resources for the technology transfer and capacity building.
I would also like to raise a very important issue here. My Government Mr. President is very much concerned about lack of a serious international response vis-à-vis the Somali crisis. While my Government is seriously engaged in post-conflict recovery endeavors, the absence of tangible international support will certainly weaken the Government’s momentum. We believe that climate change - security nexus is well-established. In other words, if security in a country is deprived, then the impact of the climate will be more destructive.
I would like to reiterate the fact that we must not squander this opportunity. The entire world is watching us. Our children are eagerly waiting for tangible results from COP 15.
Let us, Excellencies, seal the deal to save our planet. Somalia, despite its immense post-conflict problems, is ready to work and cooperate with you for the sake of the future of our children.
Thank you for your kind attention.