9 September 2017

Somalia: UN, AU Mull Future Humanitarian Operations

The African Union Mission in Somalia and the UN have launched a joint report that will help guide future humanitarian operations as the Horn of Africa nation moves to establish structures for quick disaster response.

AMISOM and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on Friday launched the Somalia Civil-Military Working Group Report that details achievements made in humanitarian support in the past three years in the country.

Deputy Special Representative of the chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Simon Mulongo, said the relationship between AMISOM and humanitarian agencies has helped improve coordination in delivering much needed aid to local communities.

"When we have a civil-military working group coming up to reconsider what should be the best way of relating between the military and the humanitarian agencies, it is a very welcome gesture, whose formation must be taken very seriously," said Mulongo in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

He noted that the ever changing dynamics in Somalia and the rise in the number of humanitarian actors, calls for even greater coordination between the military and humanitarian agencies, to ensure that aid gets to areas hard to access.

"The increasing number of humanitarian actors who are operating in this Mission requires that AMISOM and OCHA have effective working relations. On our part, we are confident that such joint efforts will help us not only understand our similarities but also resolve the differences," Mulongo said.

The Head of UNOCHA in Somalia, Justin Brady, noted that since the focus of humanitarian agencies in Somalia is shifting to famine prevention, improved relations with the military is imperative, if aid is to reach impoverished communities in hard-to-reach areas.

Brady warned that Somalia was not out of the woods yet in relation to the famine threat, saying the country was still in need of assistance which requires coordination between humanitarian agencies and the military.

"The past nine months has shown that we are not just in a typical protracted crisis in Somalia but rather we have shifted into a famine prevention mode and that is where the relationship with the military has become more important," he said.

"We can ensure the delivery of very vital supplies into areas that are not always accessible in order to assist communities stave off potential famine," Brandy noted, adding that though success has been recorded, a lot still remains to be done.

Apart from detailing the progress made, the report calls for the development and compliance to Somalia Country Specific Humanitarian Guidelines to help in tackling future humanitarian crises.

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