HASSAN SHEIKH MOHAMUD, President of Somalia, said the pandemic showed how unprepared the world was for such shocks and disruptions. In addition, it painfully illustrated how far apart the world was in its ability to respond to such a crisis through the top-down distribution of vaccines, with rich nations able to invest in life-saving vaccines more rapidly for their citizens while the developing countries, like his own, waited for whatever was available and they could afford, or what they were gifted by international partners. He thanked all dedicated medical professionals on the front lines, and the trilateral and multilateral partners who supported his country’s efforts to vaccinate its people and provide protection for their livelihoods. “Today we must ensure that the global inequality of the COVID‑19 vaccine is not replicated in the looming food security crisis,” he underscored. “We, as a community of nations, must be more optimistic and closely work together rather than retreat to nationalistic isolation, which does not and cannot serve our global citizenry in this new age of interconnectivity and interdependence,” he pointed out.
Somalia was working tirelessly to transition from more than two decades of devastating conflict, droughts, famine and developmental stagnation to a new age of stability, progress and prosperity, he said. However, despite its continuing efforts, his country and its people were facing some of the most complex crises in the world. This included ongoing regional droughts, which directly threatened lives in Somalia’s most vulnerable communities. His Government has called on all of its business community, diaspora and international partners to work with Somalia to do everything possible to avert a potential looming famine and provide immediate support and relief to its most affected communities. Moreover, the international community must meet its commitment to invest in and adequately finance climate adaptation in the most affected and vulnerable regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa, he said. Key areas of investment must be sustainable water management, biodiversity protection, climate-smart agriculture, resilient infrastructure and renewable energy, he added.
He went on to highlight that, for the first time, Somalia has established a new Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to lead the urgent process of addressing the devastating impact of its national and regional environmental deterioration. Somalia is caught between floods and droughts on an annual basis, because of climate change and poor infrastructure. “Our people, who have a long tradition of living harmoniously with nature and who barely contribute to poisonous emissions warming the Earth, are the ones paying with their lives today,” he stressed. “We are therefore taking the matter of protecting our environment seriously because we know that climate change is real, and we are living with the evidence of its destructive and painful reality today,” he said. The global climate crisis must be addressed jointly, quickly and effectively, because “our whole way of life depends on the climate”.
Turning to the issue of terrorism, he said international terrorists or terrorism can neither be contained nor degraded; they need to be comprehensively defeated. Somalia was actively fighting terrorist groups in the country, he said, noting that such groups criminally misrepresent the beautiful and peaceful Islamic religion and values. The unprovoked violence and senseless actions of Al-Shabaab against innocent civilians across Somalia in recent weeks had highlighted the urgent need for an expedited and united response to defeating them permanently. At the height of the humanitarian crisis, that group, which falsely claims to be Islamic, blew up desperately needed water wells and water catchments, banned transport carrying food and killed innocent people who were already struggling to leave due to the severe impact of drought in the country. His Government, with the support of the people, was defeating terrorist groups in major localities where they remained, he pointed out, noting that as recently as August, more towns and villages were recovered. At the policy level, his Government would continue to work with all its partners, including the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), in the fight against global terrorism.