Somalia to Host Conference On Illegal Charcoal Trade

Charcoal trade in Somalia

Somalia will next month host a two-day international conference aimed at stopping the illegal charcoal trade in the Horn of Africa nation, organizers said Saturday.

The May 7-8 conference, which will bring together Somali environment experts and international donor partners, will discuss ways of stopping the illegal trade, unsustainable production and use of charcoal in the country, said the UN Mission in Somalia.

"The Somali government-led event, therefore, aims to urgently build alliances amongst consumer countries and international and local experts and donors," the UN mission said.

The two-day conference is supported by the UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Environment and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Export of charcoal from Somalia has been banned by a 2012 United Nations Security Council resolution and the Somali government due to its destructive effect on the environment, and its exacerbation of conflict and humanitarian crises.

According to the UN, 8.2 million trees were cut down for charcoal in Somalia between 2011 and 2017, increasing land degradation and food insecurity, and illegal trade in charcoal acts as major source of funding for militias and terrorist groups such as al-Shabab.

A UN monitors' report released late 2017 said Somali insurgents earn approximately 10 million U.S. dollar annually from charcoal smuggled to Asia through Somali ports.

The UN report said this enables al-Shabab to finance its operations and undermines counter-terrorism operations in the Horn of African nation.

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