High-Level Partnership Mission concludes a fact-finding visit to Horn of Africa countries with pledges for more humanitarian assistance funding

13 Jun 2017

High-Level Partnership Mission concludes a fact-finding visit to Horn of Africa countries with pledges for more humanitarian assistance funding

Nairobi - A High-Level Partnership Mission consisting of representatives mainly from  Arab states has concluded a six-day fact-finding mission to drought-affected populations in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya.

The delegation included high-ranking officials from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the United States as well as the World Bank and African Development Bank, they arrived in Ethiopia on 7 June to begin their fact-finding visit. The mission ended in Kenya on June 13 and was led by Dr. Ahmed Al Meraikhi, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Humanitarian Envoy, Samate Cessouma Minata, the African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, and Rashid Khalikov, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Partnerships with the Middle East and Central Asia.

Addressing a press conference in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Tuesday, delegation members announced pledges of more funding to mitigate the effects of the drought crisis that has created serious food shortages for 26.7 million people in the Horn of Africa region.

The main aim of the mission was to raise awareness about the humanitarian situation in the three countries by highlighting the threat of famine facing their populations and accelerate the mobilization of resources to avert that possibility.

The UN Secretary-General’s Humanitarian Envoy announced a US$100,000 donation to Somalia by the African Union. South Africa pledged 10 million South African Rand (approximately US$780,000) for the ongoing drought response effort in Somalia.

Dr. Al-Meraikhi also announced a US$1.1 billion package from the African Development Bank to combat drought and famine in six countries that include Ethiopia and Somalia.

The World Bank will contribute US$50 million to bolster livelihoods and resilience programmes in Somalia and also support the UN in developing a framework for economic recovery. 

The Bank has also mobilized over US$184 million through its Multi-Partner Fund for Somalia.

“In the spirit of the season of Ramadan, Qatar has responded to the urgent need for  resources through the allocation of humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia worth $3 million and to Somalia worth $10 million,” Dr. Al-Meraikhi told journalists in the Kenyan capital.

“The US already has a strong ongoing assistance (programme for) Ethiopia worth a total of $215 million for 2017,” he added.

Delegation members announced they had appealed to traditional and non-traditional donors to support their humanitarian mission.

During the six-day mission, the delegation made field visits to internally displaced persons’ camps in Ethiopia and Somalia to assess the effectiveness of humanitarian response operations.

Dr. Al-Meraikhi said the purpose of their field visits was to see first-hand the situation on the ground and “go back to our partners, bring them together to have the assistance and try to fight the famine.”

In Mogadishu, the delegation met with Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Ahmed Guled and held talks with Peter de Clercq, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.

“The number of people in need of assistance is more than half the population. It went up by 500,000 over the past few months to 6.7 million,” Mr. de Clercq told the delegation.

He added that “3.2 million people are in crisis and emergency and the displacement figures have gone up by 740,000, in addition to the 1.1 million already displaced so far.”

The UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that more than 13.4 million people are facing severe food insecurity in Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. Over 4.4 million people have become refugees who have fled to neighbouring countries to escape the debilitating drought.

“We have seen with our own eyes what is the need because this is what we need to take back to the donors and partners and tell them about the situation and how we can give more assistance for Somalia,” summarized Dr. Al-Meraikhi at the end of the fact-finding visit.