Mogadishu, 7 May 2018 – At the opening of a two-day, UN-supported conference on charcoal in
Mogadishu, the Federal Government of Somalia has called for international, African and Gulf
States cooperation in halting the illegal export of charcoal from the country. The export of
charcoal from Somalia has been banned, both by a 2012 United Nations Security Council
resolution and by the Somali Government, due to its destructive effect on the environment and its
exacerbation of conflict and humanitarian crises.
An estimated 8.2 million trees were cut down for charcoal in Somalia between 2011 and 2017,
increasing land degradation, food insecurity and vulnerability to flooding and drought. Over 80
percent of charcoal produced in Somalia is exported to Gulf States and neighbouring countries.
Illegal trade in charcoal is recognised as a key contributor to insecurity in Somalia, providing a
major source of funding for militias, terrorist groups, and other actors linked to conflict, who
illegally tax exports.
In his opening address, the Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia, Mahdi Mohamed Guled, reaffirmed
the Somali government’s commitment to halting illegal trade of charcoal, and providing
alternative livelihood and energy options. He also called for urgent action and support from the
international community and countries that are importing charcoal.
“We need a holistic response to address the issues of charcoal in Somalia. Both the demand and
supply side have to be tackled – to do this we need cooperation to implement the UN Security
Council Resolution and ensure the environmental, economic and human losses that happen
because of illegal charcoal trade are curbed,” said the Deputy Prime Minister.
“The environmental destruction brought on by the charcoal trade contributes to drought,
flooding, the loss of livelihoods and increase in food insecurity. Together with conflict, this
exacerbates the humanitarian situation in Somalia,” said the Deputy Special Representative of the
Secretary-General for Somalia, Peter de Clercq. “But due to high levels of poverty in Somalia and
lack of opportunities, many are forced to turn to unsustainable and illegal livelihoods, such as
charcoal production. The people of this country deserve better”.
Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, UN Environment Regional Director for Africa, said regional partnership
is key to stopping the unsustainable production, use and export of charcoal in Somalia. “UN
Environment and its partners are supporting the Government of Somalia to develop sound policy
frameworks to support the ban and find alternatives to charcoal,” she said.
Participants at the event, which concludes on Tuesday 8 May, are expected to develop a concrete
road map for action, including enforceable regional policies, to halt charcoal trade, as well as its
unsustainable production and use within Somalia. The high-level summit is supported by the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment, and the Food and Agricultural
Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), with funding from Sweden, the European Union and
Abdulkani R Barrow , Advisor to the Ministry of Livestock, Forestry and Range and the Office of
the Prime Minister. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abdul Qadir, Manager, Climate Change and Resilience Portfolio, a.i., United Nations Development
Programme Somalia. Email: email@example.com
Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, United Nations Development Programme Somalia.
Mohamed Atani, Regional Information Officer, Africa Office, UN Environment. Email:
Chi Lael, Communications Specialist, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nation.