In a world brimming with headlines of conflict and chaos, one often overlooked success story is Somaliland, which has defied the odds, transitioning from a post-conflict territory to a thriving, independent nation.
It has been a remarkable journey since 1991, but it is time for the world to finally recognize our extraordinary resilience, progress, and the urgent need for international support.
Looking back to the early 1990s, I recall a country in turmoil, with both men and women suffering, and children bearing the brunt of it all.
Somaliland emerged from the ruins of a post-conflict region, determined to rebuild itself from the ground up. When we seceded from Somalia, we faced a daunting challenge – the task of rebuilding a nation from scratch.
This required not just physical infrastructure but also the rebuilding of our people, their values, culture, and establishing a functional system of governance, from the ground up. Our transformation since then is nothing short of remarkable.
We were fortunate to make tremendous progress over the last 32 years, thanks to the unwavering dedication of our people. Not only did we rebuild our nation, but we also rebuilt our collective spirit and mindset. We engaged in peace negotiations, rekindled our cultural values, and continue to aspire to join the international community.
While the international community offered support, our progress was primarily homegrown and firmly rooted in our collective aspirations.
Our journey was and continues to be challenging. Access to finance and the wariness of investors remain obstacles. But looming over all of this is climate change.
As a nation that relies so heavily on natural resources for sustenance, we are already seeing the impact. Recurrent droughts, previously manageable every decade or so, now strike almost every other year, taking a heavy toll on our agricultural and pastoral communities, who are at the heart of our economy. We’ve also experienced unusual weather events like cyclones and hurricanes. These challenges have opened our eyes to the reality of climate change.
As a government, we’ve taken the initiative to educate our people about climate change and the importance of adaptation. We’ve worked hard to develop policies that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) because we understand that sustainability is key to our existence.
Climate change is a cross-cutting issue, and we’ve fostered collaboration between various government ministries and stakeholders to integrate climate considerations into all aspects of governance and service delivery. Watershed management, forest conservation, and combatting desertification are among our top priorities.
The rural areas play a vital role in our nation’s economy, and they have been severely affected by climate change. We’ve trained our people, from the regional level down to the village level, to raise awareness about climate change and sustainable practices.
Our call for international recognition is not just about recognition on paper; it’s about the support and collaboration we desperately need. We have taken significant steps to minimize the impact of climate change, and we’ve worked hard to develop a comprehensive approach to environmental conservation and sustainability. However, we cannot face these challenges alone.
We are fortunate to have a partner in DP World, a global company that has invested in our nation’s development. Their investments in the Berbera Port and corridor infrastructure have been transformative, generating employment opportunities, improving trade, and strengthening delivery services. These developments have benefitted both urban and rural areas.
DP World’s support extends beyond infrastructure into education, health, and creating livelihoods. It’s a testament to what public-private partnerships can achieve.
We invite DP World and others to support us further, specifically in addressing deforestation, promoting sustainable fishing practices, and developing the marine environment. We recognize the potential of Somaliland’s blue economy and are committed to its sustainable development.
Our optimism and determination reflect our desire to move forward, to seek international recognition, and to stand as an independent nation. We are a rich nation, but we remain untapped. Our unique sea and extensive coastline hold immense promise. We invite you to trust in our potential, just as DP World has, and support us on this journey.
It’s time for the world to acknowledge our resilience, progress, and the urgent need for international recognition. Recognizing Somaliland is not just an act of goodwill; it’s an acknowledgment of the remarkable transformation we have undergone and our commitment to a brighter future for our people and the world.
By Shukri H.Ismail Mohamoud, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Somaliland.