NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENTAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY - SOMALIA
Natural Resources and Environmental Development Agency- NERDA, a newly founded Non Governmental Organization based in Somalia has the duty to maintain sound environment and establish sustainable economic development by benefiting from natural resources. Nerdaís main responsibility is to preserve health environment of the flora and fauna in Somalia as well as to protect against global warming.
Nerda is free from politics, private profit making and any personal or group interest. This is the first developmental NGO engaged in environmental issues in Somalia. Moreover, there were never an environmental agency or department in the history of Somalia.(only few months before the civil war broke up therein, the Department of Energy Planning of Ministry of National Planning with the help of the Livestock Agency and the local government has tried about the matter, but accomplished nothing).
Qasim H. Farah
Sec. Gen. of Nerda.
CURRENT ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION IN SOMALIA
For almost a decade now, the Somalian territory has been taken to ransom by ruthless warring warlords, gangs and high way robbers, whose catastrophic wrongdoing has brought that land itís people into a position of utter ruin. Today, however, the situation seems to be getting better and there is cause for hope. That is why Nerda has the ambition to benefit from this opportunity.
The prolonged civil wars and draught starvation dragged the citizens into refuge and perpetual vagrant life. As a result of that, a state of anarchy has emerged, which in turn induced famine and starvation. Cities, towns and villages are harshly tackled into anarchy by the cross-long wars, lack of job opportunity, lack of production, lack of stability and amenity. There are now many people concerned about the condition of the countryside and jungles as a nomadic life, but this people had have neither choice nor interest in exploiting it. With the objectively measured increase in environmental problems in the countryside, particularly, people never use latrines due to impossibility in such circumstance. One main reason is that poverty is the main direct source of Somalian ecological problems, and that is, in reality, extremely caused by the civil war. Poverty endured to the population malnutrition, high mortality, poor or lack of medical facilities, lack of educational facilities, low or lack of income per head and lack of productivity at all.
In short, Somalis are stranded in a phenomena or circumstance of extreme poverty, violations of human rights, tribalism, xenophobia and, not least environmental degradation, is moving to the forefront of political awareness. Some of these serious problems are becoming increasingly visible such as the environmental degradation which is the most serious problem. Thus, Somalia is in a state of a major environmental degradation. Little is known about this by the international community.
Somalia is, indeed, a virgin land. It has various kinds of natural resources. Gold, oil, cement, gases, diamond and many other useful materials are enriched therein, but none of these are yet tapped. The grass and fertile lands are suitable for grazing livestock and for crop farming. Mineral resources are relatively diverse, but have not been exploited well. It is known as deposits include oil, corrosion, copper, manganese, gypsum, iron, marble, tin, uranium and others.
WILDLIFE AND LIVESTOCK
Wildlife is abundant and includes crocodile, elephant, giraffe, leopard, lion, tiger, giraffe, deer, hyena, fox, zebra, pig, rhino, all kinds of snakes, and many others. The number of livestock animals was estimated 25 million goats, 14 million sheep, 7.3 million camels and, 5.2 million cattle. All kinds of these wild animals are about to endanger due to environmental degradation. Millions of mixed wild animals migrated to the neighboring countries, Kenya particularly. And millions of livestock - goats, sheep, cattle and camels were unnecessarily killed during civil war, as another millions, without gender discrimination, were exported to the Gulf improperly.
Drinking water comes mainly from natural lakes, streams, rivers and water falls. These are, however, mostly unhygienic. People and their cattle heads fetch from these water resources simultaneously. In fact, this community suffer from various environmental disastrous which are all harm and hazardous to human health. Both diffuse and domestic pollution of air, water and land devastated the territory. Degradation and depletion of all renewable and non-renewable natural resources such as rapid deforestation, soil erosion, fire and occupational hazards are the main sources of pollution therein.
Besides this, there is migration or repugnance refuge manner, that is moving from town to town, town to city, city town, and rural to rural without knowing precisely where are they going to and why to go. This ruthless movement and lack of settlement causes over population in some small areas, in some times, where they gather in every where that they hear there is possibility or better opportunity for life.
Forestry and vegetation in Somalia consists chiefly of coarse grass, and stunted thorn and acacia trees. Trees producing the aromatic resins frankincense and myrah are indigenous to the mountain slopes, as other kinds of timber are available mainly around the river areas. Every part of the land is famous of certain kinds of trees and grasses. For instance, in the south there are eucalyptus, euphoria, palm leaves, timber, and mahogany trees.
Severe deforestation was caused by illegal logging, mining, firewood, fire, and famine which affect unimaginably. Though most of these activities are done for life earning purpose - just to get daily bread, many runs under careless and negligence. Moreover, it may be destroyed for cruelty or playing. For life purpose, they use it for cooking, warming, housing, furniture, and many other purposes. It is not surprising one not to find any instrument or tool for any use other than that made of wood. Selfish groups who hierarchically use the trees for profit making cut millions or, at least, thousands of trees of rainforest to export them to the Gulf regions particularly.
It is miscellaneous history to hear that in this century energy consumption of one country is entirely depend on woods. Almost 100% of Somalian energy used is firewood and charcoal not only for cooking merely, but for all life earnings and utilization. All biomes such as; palms, leaves, straw and dung are eagerly and greedily used in the country. Notwithstanding, draughts and rain shortage, in some areas, where there is temporary security, or at least, are surrounded by tribal militiamen women and children spend over days and more time searching for charcoal. Donkeys, Camel males, and Carts are some times brought into help bringing the firewood. As a result of this purpose and some other minor purposes strikes deforestation, climate change and human density. Only two decades ago, almost half of Somalian earth was covered by forest. However, today this forest is under threat by rapid deforestation caused by famine, war, illegal and ruthless logging and, agricultural practice which is still under the early stage of human lifestyle.
In many areas woodland cannot be degenerated due to the most of the biggest trees are already taken out that made the spread of tree cutting in the land scope a sign of the intensity of destruction. All in all, Somalian forest lays under inadvertent campaign of devastation. It is extremely used for cooking charcoal, firewood, local construction as sheltering and shrine, greediness export, and arming. Another repugnant and harsh problem that usually face the forest is to be burned by cruelty. when tribal militiamen capture any area which is not belong to them they simply put a fire into the whole or least half of the area for some unnecessary purposes that based on enmity purposes like to avoid any possible hidden attack against themselves, to bogg-down the future economical life for the legal residents, to light in the dark times, to warm themselves, to shield themselves with it, to discover whatever inside the jungles and even just for playing and jokes. Surprisingly, a Somali man have to hold a peace of stick or clap in his hand, in any circumstances. That is what they call "Bakorad or ul", and to prepare such kind of sticks they must cut many trees to select one.
The climate of Somalia ranges from tropical to subtropical and from arid to semiarid. Temperature usually average 27.8 c (82 f), but may be as low as 0 c(32 f) in the mountain areas and as high as 46.7 c(116 f) along the coast. The monsoon winds bring a dry season from September to December and rainy season from March to May. The average annual rainfall is only about 279 mm (11 in).
In the term of air pollution, during droughts which are most of the seasons , dust carried out by winds around the earth practically causes some forms of radio-actives and other air contamination. As a result of this, approximately half of the Somalian citizens suffer from the well-known chronic decease of (sanboor) sickness. Similarly, almost the rest half may suffer from Asthma, Allergic, Gastric, Tubercles, Bronchus and some more chronic and serious ills. A better example of how their health is affected happens when, in the traditional life, large heads of cattle are driven towards watering points, it causes huge dust along the trail that is directly to be inhaled by those driving the heads.
Therefore, as a matter of reality, besides the death of goats and sheep from air pollution and waste disposal, there are uncountable number of people who normally die so. The looseness of the soil resulted by that too, practically ensures the presence of dust in the air constantly. Thus, such substance forms some kinds of pollution which is hazardous or potentially hazardous to human health.
In the impact of civil war, pumps and motor arms used constantly left behind a complex types of air pollution mainly carbon dioxide and radio-actives as well as unclassified chemicals that explicitly caused climate change. That is why a great number of Somalis usually die from many unspecified serious sickness including diarrhea, jeoness, etc.
Somalia is blessed with a long resources-rich coastline, extending for about 3,335 km, borders the Gulf of Aden in the North, Indian Ocean in the East to South and Kenya in the South. It is the longest and most full of natural resource coastline in Africa.
This coastline is very fresh of use, perhaps deposited to the posterity. But it dares, nowadays, to be an international garbage can, whereby foreign vessels indiscriminately pollute it sharply without discrimination. Proportionately, every month tenths of indigenous people die in or around every seashore area of the country from direct and immediate effects of unknown and unexpected poisonous substances which is, really, catastrophic blowout. For instance, in Eil-dher, a small town in Gal-gadud region, in April 1996, the seashore water put out a blue-black collar effluence which is oily-liquid with unprecedented proportion. In addition, a large number of sealed strange containers were seen floating out. The residents haphazardly and curiously tried to investigate it. consequently, many were killed as they were to open or destroy such containers. Another event was when the same containers appeared on the Adale seashore in 1992.
The common source of Somalian marine pollution is that caused by external diffuses of pollution from seabed activities and ocean dumping (land based pollution is also there increasingly) which is deliberate disposal into Somalian sea water.
NERDAíS POLICY AND PROCEDURE
NERDA is neither a political nor a profit organization but merely an environmental issue creator and life reformer. we see that an exclusion may occur through the rule of anticipated reactions where by the reputation for power of a particular interest may be such that a challenging groups may anticipate that it is not worth or remedy their while entering the public arena. This NGO which is purely environmental oriented organization has strife to maintain an element of neutrality in intervening intertribal politics. So as to make sure its reputation not to be damaged by such awesome phenomena, or banal disputes.
To facilitate the task, NERDA is divided into six Departments and subsidiary branches, but all in one management. The Departments are stated below:
Each of NERDAís departments will thoroughly and deliberately concern its specialized job, and each expert of its staff will assiduously involve himself or herself in a certain field of implementation.
In the procedure of our task, we are not willing to produce environmental operations much later in one region than in the other. It is our broad prestige to have staffs from each region of the country, as we also have good reputation and confidence in most of the community elders. Since all duties and tasks lying on the table of NERDA are absolutely necessary without discrimination, there is no door for postponement but for incapacity. However, the application of the project proposals will be based on currently functioning project and its impact to the environment as well as its need and necessity. Priority will always be given to the improvement of the existing project shortfall.
The preparation of environmental impact assessment and drafting impact statement will be formalized in extensive suggestions and recommended actions. Though NERDA has no authority to sanction of enforcement of laws and punishments against environmental criminals, it may resort to expose the gravity of new actions to the community elders, chiefs, and any other local authoritative individual or group authority. It may dare to disseminate criticisms and boycott against the offender (see NERDAíS interim constitution). This is the system of peopleís empowerment and public awareness.
OBJECTIVES AND STRATEGIES
Environment as a concept is a series of interdependent sectors, to deal with it as a whole futile to give alongside approach that may facilitate instead an integrated system of environmental maintenance, control, and protect which is to be accomplished besides production, consumption and development. The environmental statement must include data necessary to identify effects which the development is likely to have on the environment. This includes effects on human beings, effects on flora, fauna and geology, effects on land, effects on water, effects on air and climate and other indirect and secondary effects associated with the project. Effects on human beings, buildings and manmade features include such matters as population changes, visual effects, effects arising from emissions during normal operation, noise effects, transportation effects and vibration effects, in each case taking into account the natural resources of the surrounding area and the manmade features within that area as well as the people living in that area. With regard to the effects on flora, fauna and geology, ecological consequences are to be evaluated and loss of and damage to habitants, plant and animal species and geological, palaeontological and physiographical features. Thus, in order to affirm such great and difficult task, we should fulfill several crucial duties on a same time. However, we must engage in our activities periodically and give priority to those which are urgent. We must give a special concentration to protect, abate, and mitigate a number of severely affectionate items including various intolerable pollution, explosives, radioactive substances, pesticides, eradication of disease bearing insects, waste in both domestic and public sanitation and irrelevant mining or logging. Consequently, a deliberate intention will be given to the economy creation with environmental protection.
In the term of industrial pollution, though it doesnít exist much in the country, we shall prepare a precautionary measures that may protect any environmental risk. There will be plans and implementation programs to set forth for the projects which are likely to have negative effects on the human health, animal health, plants, mangroves and the coastal ecosystems. An evaluation of economic making, then booming, may be initiated with agricultural practice, mining, fishing, commercial, and manufacturing by manual factories for small scales and blacksmith men as well as livestock and pastorals. Our first and foremost aim is to maintain, sustain, conserve, preserve, protect, manage and develop the Somalian environment in the factors of; forest, water, air, health, land, wildlife, domestic animals, fish, farms, merchants, natural resources, education, roads, transport, development, sales of food and drugs. In detail, the following are the major objectives and goals which NERDA is going to access:
1- To protect, mitigate or finalize any substances, liquid, solid, or gaseous that may endanger manís life, or it may impair his enjoyment.
2- To create newly and provide the people, livestock and wildlife with access to fresh water and sanitation.
3- To provide the people with access to primary health care system and maternal health care centers.
4- To rehabilitate degraded resources to the extent practicable, and introduce policy making and measures to promote sustainable use of resources for basic human needs.
5- To set up an effective primary education and environmental awareness in modern system.
6- To establish new community based on mechanisms and strengthen existing mechanism to enable communities, or vulnerable groups of the society to gain sustained access to resources needed by the poor to overcome the poverty, and stand on their feet.
7- To create a focus in national development plans with especial policies and programs directed at rural areas, the urban poor, vulnerable group (women, children, handicapped, and aged people).
8- To develop for all poverty-stricken areas integrated strategies and programs of sound and sustainable management of the environment, natural resource mobilization, poverty eradication and alleviation, employment and income generation.
9- To implement or least facilitate all persons urgently with the opportunity to earn a sustainable livelihood.
10-To foster and promote the general welfare.
12-To create and maintain conditions under, which man and nature can exist in productive harmony.
13-To fulfill the social economic, and any requirements of present and future generations.
14-To sensitize decision makers to the importance of environmental considerations.
15-To avert any adverse impact associated with the exploiting the natural resources, trades or any other manner that might have an adverse effect on the environment of the country as a general.
16-To get a convenience instrument to control the kind of pollution caused by the early stage of lifestyle that Somalis are still in.
17-To take remedial actions through local principles, in order to fetch easier ways to protect environmental degradation.
18-To provide guide lines for businessmen and developers. So that environmental considerations may be incorporated into developmental activities.
19-To enhance programs of public awareness by holding seminars, training, capacity building workshops, lectures, preaches, advises, songs, poems and drama concerts. Similarly to publish books and booklets, in the mother tongue, to distribute memos, news letters, pictures, and cassettes.
20-To assist developmental projects and project proponents to incorporate environmental dimensions into land use planning and conduct environmental impact assessment studies.
21-To co-ordinate with any individual or collective developers.
22-To co-ordinate with any developmental organization in the country whether national or international.
23-To have contact and relation with all tribal heads and chiefs, likewise to c-ordinate and consult with rival political parties.
24-To encourage all citizens to keep in touch with NERDAís offices and representatives. So that to have full participation in decision making democratically, and to respect and evaluate good suggestions.
25-To have joint implementation and networking operations with the governmental and non-governmental agencies engaging in environmental activities in the neighboring countries that we may either share natural resources directly or indirectly.
26-To facilitate and encourage other effective implementation of national environmental task forces to secure their enforcement and widest possible adherence.
27-To promote or pave the path of peace and security based on environmental justice among the warring functions. This will automatically come when people engage on development and personal interest, rather than seeking power.
28-To facilitate and make beforehand the task of future central administration which unite all parts of Somalia.
29-To seek and provide education opportunity for younger to save the hard-core gangs who indulged in robbing, genocide and many other corruption on the natural and personís environment.
30-To create and develop beneficence from natural resources, as the right of the living man and unborn child.
31-To introduce Somali indigenous people to their neighboring nations through shared natural resources and environmental awareness.
32-To awake the indigenous people by providing a corridor through which they can understand the lifestyle of others in the other parts of the globe.
33-To hold reforestation campaigns in almost 500 sq. km of land per year (according to the capacity).
34-To invite respective tribal traditional chiefs and military commanders to clear envisages of environmental programs, by convincing them as most convenience way.
35-To register any development project which may or have development task.
36-To categories any impact of pollution, erosion, climate change and so forth, in order to give priority to minimize or eliminate all the elements which are hazardous or effects to the human health and other living resources.
37-To enforce fully the Impact Assessment requirement for newly associated projects as well as hoped developmental projects.
38-To promote environmentally sound technology.
39-To enforce traditional legal system to control the environment in justice, until central government comes to exist.
40-To start our way of development from very basic styles which are friend to the environment such as; solar power to be the main sources of energy in the remote areas especially.
Simon Ball and Bell opened the firs paragraph of their book of environmental law the following slogans: " The 1990s are already been called the green decade" by some commentators whilst this may be some what in nature, there is little doubt that the environment will be a big issue, perhaps the big decade issue of the decade. It is a big issue in political term, since the protection of the environment is high almost peopleís priority for the 1990s. As a result, political parts and governments are falling over each other in their eagerness to appear green, even if as yet their actions hardly much their rhetoric.
Unfortunately, this is not a view that can represent worldly as a whole. Indeed, there are exceptional countries where the environmental issue has annihilated. Somalia is among the small number of countries which absolutely suffer from contamination of fields of pollution. In fact, there is a big size of the problems facing the Somaliís environment as a whole, deforestation and waste disposal especially. Therefore, Somalian situation of environment is empirically contrary to what Ball and Bell have said. The 1990s are already been called the gray decade, in Somalia, by the explicit commentators of air pollution and radioactivity caused by human dead bodies which are approximately one million, and two million of animal dead bodies. Most of the bodies were not buried or carelessly buried. As a result of this, a numerous severe decease broke out of the area, and many people and animals died as the consequence thereof. Bareland, ashes of burned trees and fired weapons causes communicable complex decease.
As a matter of fact, the issue of awareness is unthinkable at all. Neither organization nor interested persons have ever tried to feel and protect this danger. NERDA became the first which engaged so. What is effected is; atmosphere, climate, oxygen, adour test, biological factors of people, animals and plants. The social factors of ethics and all human elements of basic needs of physical factors of surrounding of human beings in any sort of human life state. It is common that all chemicals as well as instruments used with war are content of many different quantities of components whether it is liquid, solid or gaseous which are dangerous or potentially dangerous to the human health are carelessly discharged on the earth.
It is not to use the environmental programs as a barrier of development but a key of development. Letís bear in mind what the Swedish representative of agenda 21 (E/CN,17/1996/19) has said; "The early introduction of compulsory primary education had been a key factor in lifting Sweden out of poverty in the 19 the century" we will keep like these beautiful sayings for encouragement of our population to reach, at least, a meaningful standard of life. One way to achieve this is by harnessing the most sensitive resources such as; reef resources, tourism, energy resources, air transport, maritime transport, telecommunication, housing, damping and others initially. The use of these as economic sources can be simply managed in a sustainable development, because they are not yet used by the nation.
The lack of awareness among the general public, the Somalian population may due to lack of consideration, lack of information and, lack of sufficient understanding of the long term consequences of pollution and environmental deterioration. However, a necessary strategy of the future will be to emphasize awareness among the general public. Hence, seeking for a coherent texts and sources of communication is our immediate project. Thus, to get mass-media transmission is inevitable.
Since environmental studies have interdependent relationships with all the sciences and the nature of human religious teachings and economical associations such as; investing income generation projects and benefiting from natural resources, will be among our sources of information on environmental ethics. In order to achieve the main objectives of environmental awareness and law enforcement concurrently, it would be necessary to run through the following process pragmatically;
feeling the problem, feeling the need of progress and prosperous, presenting the problem, solving the problem. The detail of the above quotations is as follows; problem feeling: this is the first stage in the process of enforcement that may discover a great interest of environmental issues. Problem defining and problem solving; it is already said; "a problem defined is half solved". After a problem is to be presented, the next face of this quasi-enforcement system may involve an investigation to find a reasonable solution. Then the enforcement bodies may get difficulties to attain a mere solution. So it is constraint to attempt to find a pure fruitful solution that may benefit to the present and future generation, by using a strategy of cooperation method. As a consequence, we do not encourage to feed our society by giving them one fish for one day life, but to teach how to fish for life time.
In the term of international aid, we can sum up a short statement stated in half paragraph of Malaysian Law News, October, 1992 that headed; " Somalia, the nation the world left to die"; " aid had been slow in coming compared with relief sent to Sudan in 1988 and to Ethiopia in 1984-5, the amount of aid that had reached Somalia to-date hardly represents 1 per cent of that amount".
However, it is now broadly accepted by the United Nations and developed countries to provide technical and financial assistance to the disabled countries on the environmental issues. This is to maintain the global environment in good condition, because environment is always common among the world population. UNCTAD as a research and capacity building organization focused particularly upon the needs of less/least developed countries must support the right, and provide the technical and policy back up for governmental and non-governmental organizations and social movements in Africa, to pursue development programs that are relevant to their visions and needs. In fact, the preferred solution to balance the global environment and economy is to help developing countries, in order to maintain good environment, to rid off poverty and, to bring to an end to the wars.
Principle six of the Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992 states "The special situation and needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed and those most environmentally vulnerable, shall be given special priority. International actions in the field of environment and development should also address the interests and needs of all countries".
No doubt, our present information is not well detailed and cannot be really accessed, unless a large research and assessment in the field is to carry out and accomplish thoroughly. Therefore, there is urgent need for research to improve understanding of the nature of hazardous materials, to identify their potential environmental effects and, to prepare technology and management to safely handle it. The kind of research we need to hold is broader system of studies, data base environment, and environmental risk assessments used to cope with hazardous materials.
Prepared by: Qaasim Hersi Farah Sec. General of Nerda
P.O. Box 13043,
50796. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
P.O. Box 44445. Nairobi. Kenya.
@Copy right. All rights are reserved for Nerda And its founder, Qasim Hersi Farah
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