Dubai(Mogadishu24)-The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, called for global cooperation to address the escalating impacts of climate change during his speech at the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai.

The president stressed the harsh consequences faced by Somalia, which has been on the frontlines of extreme climate shocks, particularly droughts followed by heavy rains and riverine floods.

“As I stand here before you, my country is facing a humanitarian crisis that we are desperately trying to respond to because of severe floods resulting from (El Niño),” President Mohamud stated.

“Only a year ago, Somalia barely averted famine following consecutive failed rainy seasons.”

He added, “These floods have affected more than 2.4 million people, displaced over 1.1 million, resulted in the loss of 120 human lives, and caused substantial agricultural losses.”

He mentioned the challenges faced by many African nations, where climatic shocks increase existing vulnerabilities, hindering sustainable development goals.

The President outlined the complex relationship between climate change, peace, and security in Somalia. He stated that frequent climatic changes had, at times, halted offensive operations against terrorism.

“As we continue to wage our successful fight against terrorists at home, frequent climatic shocks have at times slowed down our combat operations to uproot the terrorists.”

“For a country struggling with debt distress and limited access to finance, fighting terrorism and responding to a humanitarian crisis at the same time is akin to impossibility,” President Mohamud said.

President Mohamud announced Somalia’s revised and enhanced climate ambitions in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), including a commitment to reduce emissions by 30% by the end of the decade.

The President joined the call for developed nations to honour their commitments, particularly in supporting climate actions in the most affected nations, as well as operationalize the Loss and Damage Fund agreed upon in Sharm-el-Sheikh last year.

“We join the call for the developed nations to honour their commitments to the most affected nations, especially on supporting our climate actions ‘means of implementation.’ We also call on world leaders gathered here to agree on the operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund agreed in Sharm-el-Sheikh last year,” he added.

Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Salah Ahmed Jama revealed that Somalia has spent $2 billion dealing with the devastating droughts last year and is expecting to spend $1 billion in flood mitigation and response.

“In the last one year, $2 billion was spent trying to deal with droughts in Somalia. A few months after that, another billion is expected to be spent dealing with floods. Such an ironic turn of events. Yesterday’s victims or survivors of droughts could be today’s victims of floods,” said Somali DPM Salah Ahmed Jama.

He stated that the humanitarian style of responding to climate changes during a crisis cannot solve the devastating consequences.

The deputy prime minister further seconded the president’s announcement to spend an estimated $16 billion through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

“According to Somalia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), we are expected to spend $16 billion in the coming five-six years before 2030. Per year, we are supposed to spend a couple of billion dollars, and we only spend now $300 million on climate financing, which, in reality, is humanitarian financing,” he added.

He urged the multilateral development banks to focus on averting climate impact in a meaningful way and emphasized the need to reform the International Financial Institutions to ensure just, equitable, and meaningful access to climate finance and investment.

According to the Somali National Disaster Management Agency (SoDMA), the torrential rains and riverine floods have affected over 2.4 million people, including more than 700,000 displacement, and killed more than 100 individuals.

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