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Water management, policies and legislation related to water use in agriculture
A platform for the coordination of international aid to Somalia is provided by the Somalia Aid Coordinating Body (SACB). The SACB was created in 1994 and partners include donor governments, United Nations (UN) agencies and international and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The aim of the SACB is to share information and to develop strategies for aid in the sectors of health and nutrition, food security and rural development, water/sanitation and infrastructure, education and governance, and economic recovery. The UN development aid in Somalia is coordinated by the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Food security at a household level has been monitored since 1995 by the Food Security Assessment Unit (FSAU) through regular assessments of vulnerability and food economy baseline studies.
The overall responsibility for agricultural development in northwest Somalia rests with the Ministry of Agriculture. A strategic plan for agricultural rehabilitation and development for 2001 and 2003 was developed with assistance from the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The goal of the strategic plan was to ensure household food security by ensuring an equitable allocation of resources, improving crop production and capacity building within the Ministry of Agriculture. The ministry of Water and Mineral Resources is responsible for the management of freshwater resources and for water withdrawal. In northeast Somalia, the Ministry of Pastoral Development and Environment is responsible for natural resource management, including the use of forest and surface water and groundwater resources. It developed the strategic plan for sustainable natural resource management for 2002-2004.
Canal committees and water use associations exist in some areas, but there is no clear pattern of water allocation rights and fees. On most of the small irrigation schemes with hand-dug canals canal committees exists and the schemes are better maintained compared to the large-scale irrigation schemes, which were maintained by former governments. Lack of sustainable irrigation management is also due to the fact that the land is irrigated by people who have no previous experience of irrigation.
Water, electricity and transport are examples of private sectors that work well, but are only accessible for those who can afford to pay for them. There are no subsidies for agriculture and irrigation.
Policies and legislation
In Somalia there are no uniform constitutional and legal rules governing social or economic behaviour, except for a 1971 law governing the Water Development Agency. In Somaliland, a draft water Act and a Water Policy were prepared in 2004. In those areas where public administration has been established, advances have been made in restoring the former juridical system. In most of the rural communities, however, traditional Somali law (xeer) and the Islamic Sharia law continue to be upheld. The ownership of land and water is based on the Somali social organization where each clan is associated with a particular territory. The law says that water is public property but allows appropriation and usage is acquired by administrative permits.