Consolidated Appeal for Somalia 2009

19 November 2008

At the time of writing the 2009 Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for Somalia, the humanitarian crisis that has engulfed the country for the better part of nearly two decades had reached a new low point.  Nearly half the Somali population is in dire need of humanitarian assistance from a combination of conflict, economic crisis and deepening drought.  The number of people requiring humanitarian and emergency livelihood support almost doubled during 2008, increasing by 77% from 1.8 million in January to more than 3.2 million by July.  The increase in scope and funding size of the 2009 CAP from US$[1]662 million in 2008 to $900 million for 2009 reflects not only the dramatic increase in the number of people in need but also the sharp rise in commodity and delivery costs for Somalia.[2]

Throughout 2008 humanitarian organizations struggled to address the widening crisis, deepening needs and growing number of vulnerable populations in an environment of shrinking and deteriorating humanitarian space.  By 27 October 2008, 30 aid-related workers had been killed, with another ten kidnapped and still in captivity[A1] .  Access to parts of the South/Central region of Somalia, where the vast majority of humanitarian needs are found, became increasingly difficult due to conflict and the targeting and abduction of humanitarian workers.  In Puntland, kidnapping and attacks on humanitarian workers also led to a deterioration in access and limited the presence of international staff.  At the time of writing, two key international NGOs (one serving over a million beneficiaries in central Somalia) had temporarily suspended operations.  In addition, piracy threatened the supply chain of humanitarian assistance and required the deployment of military naval escorts.  This sometimes resulted in the humanitarian response occurring where it could, rather than where needs were highest.

The lessons learned in 2008 illustrate that, while extremely difficult, it is not impossible to deliver humanitarian aid in Somalia.  The common feature of successful operations was a flexible approach, and close collaboration and partnership with Somalis.  The extensive relief network delivering life-saving aid, especially food but also water, health and nutrition, together with the resilience of Somalis and their external support systems, such as remittances, prevented the country from sliding into a wide-scale humanitarian disaster characterised by death rates similar to those witnessed in the 1991/1992 crisis.

The depth and expanding nature of Somalia’s crisis does mean, however, that the humanitarian community will need to increase the delivery of assistance in 2009 as it widens its programmes.  Based on the above, the humanitarian community agreed on the following four strategic priorities to guide humanitarian action during 2009:

  • save lives and provide assistance to 3.2 million people in humanitarian emergency[3]and acute food and livelihood crisis,[4]through programmes for vulnerable populations with special focus on drought-affected rural areas, urban poor and internally displaced persons (IDPs);
  • increase community and local capacity to protect sustainable social and economic assets through a disaster risk reduction approach and asset transfers, across all programme sectors;
  • develop and deliver an integrated minimum package of basic social services based on geographic specific priorities and target groups, engaging communities and authorities;
  • strengthen the protective environment of civilians, with a special focus on vulnerable populations, through advocacy, programming, community mobilisation and access to services.

A large-scale and dynamic aid operation which can function in a constantly fluctuating security situation is essential if these priorities are to be met, and will require an innovative approach allowing aid partners to respond efficiently while working through national partners.  The Somalia Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) is therefore discussing a framework of ‘operational flexibility’ in order to increase opportunities to operate in areas that suddenly open up while maintaining interventions in areas where it remains possible to work.  Such a strategy will require improved local contingency planning, a concept of surge capacity, and flexible funding and operating mechanisms.  The strategy recognises that ‘operational flexibility’ may have certain implications such as increased financial costs, including increased security support systems, expanded and strengthened support services such as logistics and air operations[5], and the possibility of spillage of humanitarian assistance.

Strengthened engagement will need to take place in 2009 with stakeholders such as the Somali diaspora, the private sector and civil society.  The aid community will continue efforts to build the technical capacity of Somali NGOs, which are frequently the main implementers on the ground.  The possibility of ‘risk transfer’ to national partners is of great concern, as is the overall security of humanitarian staff.  Efforts to improve staff safety will continue throughout the year.

The 2009 Consolidated Appeal for Somalia seeks $918,844,549for 213 projects from 14 United Nations agencies, 32 international NGOs and 39 national NGOs.  CAP projects fall within the nine Somalia IASC Clusters: Agriculture and Livelihoods; Education; Food Aid; Health; Logistics; Nutrition; Protection; Shelter; Water and Sanitation (WASH).  Projects in the realm of coordination and security that seek to enable programming have been grouped together under this title.  The cross-cutting issues of gender, capacity building and HIV/AIDS have been integrated into 2009 Cluster Response Plans.

[1]All dollar signs in this document denote United States dollars.  Funding for this appeal should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS,, which will display its requirements and funding on the CAP 2009 page. 

[2]The 2008 Consolidated Appeal for Somalia included155 projects from 13 United Nations agencies, 28 International NGOs and 21 National NGOs.

[3]Humanitarian Emergency: Severe lack of access to food with excess mortality, very high and increasing malnutrition, and irreversible livelihood asset stripping (Food Security Assessment Unit [FSAU] – Somalia).

[4]Acute Food and Livelihood Crisis: Highly stressed and critical lack of food access with high and above usual malnutrition and accelerated depletion of livelihood assets that, if continued, will slide the population into Phase 4 or 5 of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) and/or likely result in chronic poverty (FSAU - Somalia).

[5]Other support services include medical evacuations, general evacuations, establishing medical stabilisation centres, setting up a Security Information and Operations Centre and increased support to NGOs Safety, Preparedness and Support.

 [A1]In the whole country ?  

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19 November 2008

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