Puntland launches public awareness campaign to stop charcoal production

Garowe, Puntland, 23 December 2018. A new public awareness campaign to reduce charcoal production and use in Puntland was launched by the Puntland Ministry of Environment and Climate Change this week, under a UN Joint program for Sustainable Charcoal Reduction and Alternative Livelihoods, which is led by the Somali Government in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and UN Environment.

The campaign was launched with a two-day event attended by community elders, environment advocates, women’s groups, academics, young people, students, and civil society members. During the launch, speakers and facilitators highlighted the link between charcoal production, deforestation and livelihoods destruction,  with over 8 million trees cut down for charcoal since 2011.  Solutions outlined included tree re-planting, use of alternative energy sources, and sale and use of more fuel efficient coking stoves as ways to reduce and halt production of charcoal.  

The launch was hosted by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Saleban Abdalle, and attended by the Puntland Minister of Information, Abdi Hirsi; the Deputy Minister of Interior Abdullahi Hashi, and the Deputy Minister of Education Dr. Mohamed Ali Farah, along with the Governors and Mayors of Puntland Districts and towns.

The event will be followed by TV, radio and billboard messages on the importance of stopping charcoal use. Participants at the event also received t-shirts and caps with key messages as part of the outreach and visibility campaign.

Speaking at the launch, the Minister of Environment, Saleban Haji Abdalle, emphasized the importance of the halting charcoal production in Puntland.  “Somali communities are almost fully dependent on agriculture, and on livestock production. We have experienced the heavy floods as result of cutting trees because the trees stop the water flows and keep the soil intact.”    

“It will take time to stop charcoal production completely, but we can reduce the consumption of charcoal by using cooking stoves which burn less fuel, along with gas cylinder stoves,” he said.

Muse Duale, acting Head of the UNDP Puntland Area Office, said the campaign was an opportunity for all regional and district authorities to raise awareness in their communities on the impact of charcoal production on the environment. He added that UNDP is continuing to work with the government on charcoal use reduction and addressing the impact of climate change.

“UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Environment is working to provide fuel efficient cooking stoves to vulnerable communities in Puntland, and to assist women led cooperatives to sell alternative sources of energy.  We will also continue to work to build resilience to climate change through water management and range land rehabilitation,” he said.

The UN Joint Program for Sustainable Charcoal Reduction and Alternative Livelihoods (PROSCAL) is funded by the European Union, Sweden and Italy.

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