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Programmes in Somalia

A 5-Year Strategy and Plan of Action 2011-2015

Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world. Torn by a twenty – year long civil war, suffering the absence of a functioning national state, enduring climate-driven and manmade natural disasters and degraded natural recourse base, the country’s human development state is in disarray. Food insecurity and threatened livelihoods are pervasive, especially in the South Central region, the physical and economic infrastructure destroyed, delivery of public goods absent or very limited and massive internal and external migration has taken place with large numbers of Internally Displaced Persons.

In this very challenging context, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations set off to formulate its Strategy for 2011-2015 that will be operationalized by rolling Plans of Actions. The overarching objective of the FAO Strategy is to improve livelihoods and food security in Somalia.

The Strategy is articulated around the following six strategic components which constitute the entry points for engagement in Somalia, identified by a series of participatory problem-identification and analysis workshops and in close consultation with national and external stakeholders.

  1. Increasing and stabilizing agricultural production and productivity and rural families’ incomes
  2. Improving profitable and sustainable utilization of livestock resources
  3. Sustainable fishing for increased incomes of fishing communities and fishermen
  4. Managing natural resources for recovery and sustainable use
  5. Supporting Public/Private Partnerships and local institutions and groups
  6. Improving preparedness

The Strategy puts a strong emphasis on fighting poverty as poverty is considered as the main driver of the past and current conflicts. Central to this emphasis is the understanding of the socio-economic impact of poverty on the lives of Somali men and women. Agriculture (and livestock)-led growth, complemented by income- generating activities and diversification, is the basis on which families’ income will be restored and building back better local economies will rest upon. The principle of building back better calls for a linkage at the early stages of humanitarian responses between short-term humanitarian actions and longer-term development interventions. FAO’s cooperation and coordination with bilateral and multilateral organizations working in Somalia will build on linking short-term humanitarian actions to long-term development ones.

The Strategy is therefore based on a holistic cooperative approach that calls for the involvement of a variety of actors and partnerships with the private sector and locally based institutions that over the past years have been the main provider of services to local populations. Traditional knowledge has an important role for the Strategy as it devised, throughout Somali history, natural resource management systems and survival strategies that allowed Somalis to cope with risks and shocks. Future interventions will learn from and be built upon traditional coping and survival strategies. At the same time the Strategy advocates for interventions that do no harm and defuse drivers of conflict.
The Strategy is influenced by the high degree of insecurity in the country and therefore risk management features prominently in the Strategy to adapt the design and implementation of interventions.

Finally, monitoring is recognised as a crucial tool to inform programmes and adapt activities by collecting information and data on impact of conflict and FAO’s interventions. Monitoring is the instrument that will allow the Strategy to remain flexible and dynamic and to adapt to changing circumstances and opportunities.