The EU and two international aid agencies said Wednesday they have kicked off a new environmental program aimed at tackling food insecurity in Puntland in northern Somalia.
In a joint statement issued in Nairobi, the EU, CARE International and Africa Development Solutions (ADS) said the four- year initiative aims to reduce hunger and food insecurity by improving rangeland conditions focusing specifically on the Sool, Sanaag, Bari, Mudug, Karkaar and Nugaal regions.
"With a total amount of 25 million Euros, the EU will contribute to reversing the decertification cycle by assisting the Puntland authorities in effective management of rangelands and by empowering 120 communities in the region to identify the conservation priorities of natural resources in their territories, " said EU special envoy to Somalia, Michele Cervone d'Urso.
The campaign called "Your environment is Your Life" offers Puntland's broader community including pastoral families, urban households, business community and charcoal traders, the opportunity to collectively benefit from improved and sustainable rangeland resources, alternative energy sources and employment opportunities.
"The project aims to increase community capacity for the development of alternative energy sources that will create jobs and reduce current dependency on firewood and charcoal," said Abdi Dahir, ADS program director for this initiative.
Over the next four years, the Puntland Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism and the EU, through ADS and CARE International, will support local communities with the implementation of customary laws.
"These efforts should lead to improved management of natural resources, greater resource-based conflict prevention and an increase in alternative energy," the statement said.
The environment of Puntland is a semi-arid region where pastoralism dominates land use. Livestock production constitutes most of the economy, with over 60 percent of the population sustained by pastoral livelihoods.
Assessment conducted by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2008 found that the Puntland region has the highest levels of land degradation in Somalia.