Launch of the Somalia Disaster Management Policy

Published March 5, 2018 by Muna Ali

The Permanent Secretary of the MoHADM Mohamed Moalim opening remark at the policy lanuch event January 16th 2018


Picture this. It is 2017 and you get a sense of déjà vu, only it is not. There are reports of Somalia being at risk of a famine yet again. Only 6 years from and almost to the same scale of that of 2011/2012 which claimed the lives of more than a quarter of a million of people in southern and central Somalia. The country has been experiencing recurrent droughts in the past decade. It is now 2018 and thanks to scaled-up humanitarian assistance the famine was averted. Yet according to a January, 2018 United Nations Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report, 5.4 million people are still currently in need of assistance in Somalia.  At what point does this story change?

The Federal Government of Somalia recognized the urgent need of having a designated government body to prepare and manage disasters while coordinating with Humanitarian actors and donors. Back in 2013 the Somalia Disaster Management Agency (SoDMA) was such a body, housed under the Ministry of Interior, but it had little to no resources or capacity to fully carry out its mandate- disaster preparedness, coordination and early warning information management.

After 5 years of toil, January 16th, 2018 marked the launch of a Somali Disaster Management policy in Mogadishu. A much-needed initiative led by the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management (MoHADM), which has now absorbed the SoDMA. This policy, which was endorsed in November 9th, 2017, is  crucial for a disaster resilient and better prepared Somalia. As Somalia paves way to recovery and development, institutional capacity strengthening is key priority for the Somalia government and the donors

The disaster management policy aims to put directives and measures in place to better prepare people for disasters before lives and properties are lost. By having a policy in place, the Federal Government is able to have a more focused approach to disaster management in the country.

The policy will strengthen national capacities for better disaster preparedness, response, mitigation, prevention and recovery. It will improve responsiveness to early warning, address issues of coordination as well as timely and efficient pooling and use of resources to reduce the devastating impact of a disasters.

The endorsement and the launch of the policy is a huge step forward in working towards a resilient Somalia. However, if this policy is to have long-term impact, effective implementation should follow. This will require political commitment, resources, and the participation of various relevant government institutions and stakeholders at Federal, regional states and local districts in the implementation.

“The policy has come a long way, but we still have a long way to go before it results in positive change,” said Ali Abdirahman the Director General of the MoHADM. “We are now in the process of drawing a roadmap for implementation. This will need the involvement of many actors and a clear definition of roles and responsibilities. The allocation of resources needed to operationalize the policy is another step that the Ministry is working on with the Federal Government on,” he added.

Somalia is receiving a huge amount of humanitarian assistance, assistance that needs to be better coordinated and managed by the Somali government.  In order to fulfil this the disaster management function of the policy has to be streamlined at a political level. The policy has to also be mainstreamed to different relevant government agencies, humanitarian actors, local and national actors and, communities. 

The formation and launching of this policy was supported by USAID/OFDA through Adeso in a journey of collaboration that started 5 years ago. Together with the SoDMA, and in conjunction with the MoHADM, Adeso has assisted the agency to carry out an institutional capacity assessment and provided technical expertise which helped develop a three year disaster management strategy in line with the government’s National Development Plan and Resilience Strategy. This strategy then paved the way to develop the national disaster management Policy.

“I’m very happy to witness the launch- this is a much needed policy. It comes at a time when Somalia is facing a deadly drought. It is my hope that we collectively support and ensure we fully realize the implementation of the policy. Adeso hopes to continue to facilitate the government-owned process and invite all stakeholders to be part of the implementation,” said Mohamed Ali Sharif, Adeso Somalia Country Director.