The first half of 2005 witnessed the relocation of the Transitional Federal Institutions into Somalia after being in exile in Nairobi, Kenya, since their establishment in October 2004. However, the split relocation of the TFIs between Mogadishu and Johwar, and disagreement between key leaders, impacted on the Institutions’ ability to effectively exercise their functions and control over the national territory. Still, some positive developments were observed, with a number of local reconciliation processes initiated in southern and central Somalia. The situation in Somaliland and Puntland remained generally calm and relatively stable, despite continued friction over the contested areas of Sool and Sanaag.
The humanitarian situation throughout 2005 was characterised by intermittent humanitarian access, particularly in central and southern Somalia, intra-and inter-clan fighting, flooding, environmental degradation, widespread human rights abuses, internal displacement and, towards the end of the year, the beginnings of the worse drought in a decade in southern Somalia. The start of 2005 was additionally marked by the tsunami, which hit the northeastern coastline, further debilitating communities recovering from years of severe drought. OCHA Somalia responded to developments through its three Zonal Offices in Somaliland, Puntland and South/Central Somalia, and five sub offices in the latter.
- Help save lives and assist vulnerable communities and populations at risk to become more resilient to crisis
- Advocate for access to basic services
- Work to enhance the protection of, and respect for, the human rights and dignity of all in Somalia
- Support existing and emerging governance structures to facilitate humanitarian-related and socio economic activities
Throughout 2005, the office worked to enhance in-country coordination with the establishment of sectoral inter-agency meetings and the strengthening of IDP/Protection working groups in Somaliland and Puntland. The deployment of two international staff members to Puntland and south/central Somalia in the first half of the year significantly enhanced field level coordination in the two zones. OCHA provided coordination support to the Puntland Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Agency (HADMA).
OCHA led the UN’s initiative to improve access in southern and central Somalia. In mid-2005, the office facilitated a reconciliation meeting in Nairobi between Gare and Marehan leaders from Gedo region that eventually lead to a peace agreement. OCHA also established an Access Working Group to advise on access priorities and opportunities. In December, the HC and the Middle Shabelle Administration signed an MoU to govern relations.
OCHA expanded the Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF) to cover emergencies beyond the drought, including floods, conflict or displacement. In December 2004, an HRF-Tsunami was also established to improve response to the tsunami emergency and prevent further erosion of livelihoods for populations along the northeastern coastline. Two national officers administered the HRF on a full time basis from July onwards.
OCHA facilitated assessment missions to drought-affected areas and chaired Humanitarian Response Group (HRG) meetings that brought together UN Agencies, NGOs and donors to develop response strategies. The HRG outlined an exit strategy that ensured a smooth transition from emergency to development interventions in drought-prone northern Somalia.
OCHA played a key role in finalising the UNCT’s Joint Strategy on IDPs, as well as in ensuring its application in agency programming and cohesion with non-UN actors. OCHA revived and co-chaired the UNCT Working Group on Protection and IDPs, which also benefited from the participation of partner NGOs.
OCHA facilitated the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance and livelihoods support to populations at risk through enhanced coordination with the Somali Aid Coordination Body (SACB), aid partners and local authorities in Somalia. The office facilitated field assessments, including for the tsunami response, and ensured a smooth transition from relief to rehabilitation activities in northeastern Somalia.
OCHA administered the HRF-Tsunami for 10 projects aimed at providing livelihood support, which helped affected communities cope with the economic impact of the tsunami, displacement, restored livelihoods and improved access in the affected area.
OCHA played a key role in mobilising partners for protection-related activities. The IDP Strategy was adopted by 15 aid organisations, including UN Agencies and NGOs, as well as some local authorities. The IDP Strategy laid the foundation for coordinated action on which subsequent interventions will be based. This has proven to be vital in an environment where protection issues have been given very little attention in the past. OCHA facilitated joint programme planning among UN Agencies involved in protection/IDP issues, including UNHCR, UNCP, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNAIDS and HABITAT, in consultation with local authorities.”
OCHA’s advocacy also helped draw attention to the poor level of access to basic social services, particularly in south and central Somalia.
With regard to humanitarian access to affected populations, the Middle Shabelle Administration signed an MoU with the UN in December 2005 following months of negotiations with OCHA. The agreement provided a solid foundation for relations between the UN and the Administration, and paved the way for improved humanitarian access to affected populations in areas under the Administration’s control.