The HRP aims to assist four million people in the most dire need and to reduce the loss of life for 3.1 million of the most severely vulnerable people, including one million children under five.
Somalia is facing a myriad of persistent and protracted humanitarian crises driven by alarming political instability, widespread insecurity and recurring climate disasters. While we continue to address the emergency phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery challenges remain well ahead.
Among those who bear the disproportionate burden of poverty and insecurity are women, children, people with disabilities, marginalized communities and displaced persons. They deserve far more, and we will continue to stand with them.
The humanitarian community in Somalia faced unprecedented and exceptional challenges in 2020, and I am sincerely grateful to all our partners, in particular the Federal Government of Somalia, the Federal Member States, local and international NGOs and our donors, for the strong collaboration and support that enabled us to reach 2.3 out of 3 million people targeted for humanitarian assistance in 2020. The generosity of our donors who provided 82 per cent of the required funding under the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) enabled us to collectively prioritize the needs of the most vulnerable, saving lives and alleviating suffering for countless individuals.
New emergencies and the lingering impact of last year’s multiple crises resulted in the humanitarian needs of 2021 being estimated as far greater than 2020. Based on this new reality, humanitarian partners and relevant authorities have been diligent in ensuring that the 2021 HRP is strictly prioritized. The 2021 HRP requires US$ 1.09 billion to implement, a slight increase from the $1.01 billion required in 2020. This funding will meet the needs of 4 out of 5.9 million people who will need humanitarian assistance, an increase from 5.2 million persons in 2020. It is imperative that the HRP is funded fully and early to enable a rapid and robust response across the country.
Erratic weather patterns are expected to continue in 2021, including the anticipated La Niña early in the year, with a high likelihood of drought conditions in Somalia.
Already, pre-drought conditions have been reported in several States.
Furthermore, the situation of protection of civilians in the country is alarming. In 2020, 10,300 protection incidents were recorded, including targeted and indiscriminate physical attacks on civilians and on property, widespread gender-based violence (GBV), child recruitment, family separation, arbitrary arrest, land-grabbing and extortion of assets from vulnerable groups. I am deeply saddened that last year, a staggering 255 incidents occurred impacting humanitarian operations, in which 15 humanitarian workers were killed, compared to 151 incidents in 2019. Furthermore, insecurity hindered the delivery of assistance by rendering main supply routes impassable, forcing partners to rely heavily on air transport.
In addition to humanitarian response, including emergency assistance, last year humanitarian partners made great progress in community engagement and ensuring accountability to affected populations. This included enhanced data collection for use in strategic planning and response in the HRP. Similarly, significant strides were made last year to operationalize the humanitarian-development-peace nexus in Somalia. Still, efforts to address the root causes of crises and longer-term development to enable sustainable solutions must continue.
We will keep building on these efforts in 2021, including through resilience-focused activities in the 2021 HRP.
The localization agenda remains central in the Somalia humanitarian response as it is an essential part of the Grand Bargain commitments. I am committed to making the Somalia Humanitarian Fund (SHF) a pivotal instrument in delivering on the localization agenda. In 2020, 53 per cent of its funds was allocated to front-line, national NGOs.
Notwithstanding the enormity of the challenges and a complex operating environment, the resolve of humanitarian partners to work in close coordination with the Government and authorities to provide lifesaving assistance to those who need it most remains firm. It is my most sincere hope that through sustained support from all partners and donors, the humanitarian community will be able to achieve the goals set out in this strictly prioritized plan. The country’s most vulnerable deserve no less. Let us not fail them.