Somalia’s new Minister of Environment and Climate Change has faith in young Somalis

Somalia’s first Minister of Environment and Climate Change Khadija Mohamed Almakhzoumi visited Finland this week on the invitation of Minister Maria Ohisalo.

When visiting Finland, Somalia’s new Minister of Environment and Climate Change Khadija Mohamed Almakhzoumi praised Finns for being reliable and true to their word. She was particularly impressed by the strong position Finnish women have in society.

The humanitarian situation remains difficult in Somalia, and about 8 million people, accounting for half of the Somali population, need humanitarian aid. Five consecutive rainy seasons have failed. The number of undernourished children has grown, too. An estimated 1.8 million children under five-years of age will be suffering from acute malnutrition between August 2022 and July 2023. About 1.3 million people, 80% of whom are women and children, are displaced by drought. Besides acute food insecurity caused by persistent drought, Somalia is afflicted by the ongoing armed conflict.

“Our President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is genuinely working hard to root out the terrorist organisation al-Shabaab from Somalia. We have already managed to drive away al-Shabaab fighters from many regions in Somalia. We are working in close cooperation with the governments in our neighbouring countries, such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, to eradicate terrorism,” says Almakhzoumi.

The price of food has soared in Somalia and the number of internally displaced persons continues to grow because of climate shocks. One major challenge is that sand dunes are encroaching on urban areas and destroying agricultural land. Somalia’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has drawn up a long-term strategy that focuses on environmentally friendly solutions, on reliable weather services and warning systems and on increasing the ecological efficiency of vegetation.

“We need the support of the international community in our fight against climate change. Young Somalis living abroad want to return home and make Somalia a better country,” Almakhzoumi says.

Almakhzoumi studied and lived in London for years. She has served as the Ambassador of Somalia to Pakistan and Iraq. In the end, her path led her back to her beloved Somalia.

“I love a challenge, and I want to leave my mark on Somalia. Somalis have big hopes for their country,” Almakhzoumi says.

Somalia has been one of Finland’s partner countries for development cooperation since the 1980s. In 2021–2024, Finland’s bilateral cooperation in Somalia will focus on statebuilding and women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. The financial frame for 2021–2024 will be approximately EUR 54 million. In addition, Finland takes part in the EUTM Somalia(Link to another website.) military training mission and the EUCAP Somalia (Link to another website.)crisis management operation. Altogether 28 Finnish experts are serving in the two operations.

Text: Anna Palmén