Clean gas cylinders distributed to over 300 women in Mogadishu as part of alternative to charcoal plan

11 October 2018, Mogadishu.  The Federal Ministry of Livestock, Forest and Range, in collaboration with Banadir Regional Administration, and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has distributed six hundred cylinders of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to over three hundred women led families and retailers in Mogadishu. The distribution is part of a wide scale UN and Government programme to stop charcoal production and build alternative livelihoods in Somalia.

Cutting trees for charcoal has led to irreversible environmental degradation and deforestation in the country, which in turn has meant greater vulnerability to cycles of drought and flooding. According to a recent FAO study, over 8.2 million trees were cut down for charcoal in the country between 2011 and 2017. Charcoal use in homes and in communities also contributes to an increase in respiratory conditions from harmful fumes, and export of charcoal has been linked to conflict exacerbation as exports are taxed by militant groups for funding.

The LPG cylinders were distributed under a Joint Program for Sustainable Charcoal Reduction and Alternative Livelihoods (PROSCAL) which is led by the Ministry of Livestock, Forest and Range, and implemented by UNDP, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Environment, with funding from the European Union, Italy and Sweden.

It is aimed that expanding LPG use will result in less pollution and dangerous emissions in homes and in the environment, which can disproportionally affect women, boys and girls. The cylinders were distributed to female led households, and to thirty women retailers, to increase the uptake of LPG amongst urban populations, as women often manage day to day household living, are often key distributors of charcoal in the marketplace and can be key influencers in the community in promoting clean energy and alternative livelihoods.

The Minister of Livestock, Forest and Range, Hussein Mohamud Hussein, speaking at the distribution, said the use of LPG instead of charcoal will help to minimise the depletion of valuable forest, but that continued public awareness campaigns were needed to stop rangeland damage which was impacting livestock development.  “Destruction of pasture land through charcoal production has meant that less livestock can be raised. It is reducing our livestock productivity, and the livestock sector is the backbone of the Somalia`s economy,” he said.

The EU Programme Manager for Energy and Infrastructure, Haji Mohamed, highlighted the importance of long term clean energy solutions in stopping charcoal production.  “Alongside immediate solutions such as the use of LPG, there is also a need to continue to work collectively to explore the vast amount of green energy possibilities in Somalia, and to strengthen the local ownership of the programme.”

Abdul Qadir Rafiq, UNDP Climate Change and Resilience Portfolio Manager, said the transition to clean energy was a high priority for Somalia. “UNDP remains committed and looks forward to strengthening its partnerships with the Somali Government, and national and international organizations to address development challenges in Somalia and expand the use of clean energy,” he said.

Under the Joint Program for Sustainable Charcoal Reduction and Alternative Livelihoods (PROSCAL), UNDP supports the Government to build partnerships, develop policies and regulation, and to increase institutional capacity and public knowledge to reduce charcoal use and production.  Alongside clean energy distribution, the PROSCAL program is currently working with the Government to draft a national and regional policy for charcoal reduction, to establish sustainable tree nurseries in Mogadishu and regional member states, and to carry out on going anti-charcoal awareness campaigns in communities.

Contacts:

Abdul Qadir, Climate Change and Resilience Portfolio Manager, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Somalia. Email: abdul.qadir@undp.org.

Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Somalia. Email: keelin.fitzgerald@undp.org

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