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A Shift in Focus: Putting the interests of Somali people first


About this resource

Resource type:Research, reports and studies
Keywords:Children & young people, Disasters, Drought, Food aid, Food and nutrition, Food security, Needs assessment, Non-food, Protection, human rights & security, Shelter and housing, Urban
Date published:February 2012


More than six months after the UN declared a famine, Somalia is still in the
throes of its worst humanitarian crisis in decades, with 325,000 children
suffering acute malnutrition and 31 per cent of the population estimated to be
in crisis. A large scale-up of the international response from July, combined
with the efforts of Somali communities and civil society, saved many lives.
But access to those in need has deteriorated due to expulsions of aid agencies
and also to intensified, internationally backed military operations. The impact
of drought is receding, yet the outlook for the more than 2.3 million Somalis
still in need of humanitarian assistance is bleak.
Responsibility for this situation lies first and foremost in Somalia, where
warring factions are accused of impeding and diverting aid flows, but the
international community has also been at fault. Policies focused more on
international security concerns than on the needs, interests and wishes of the
Somali people have inadvertently fuelled both the conflict and the
humanitarian crisis.
In February 2012, key governments and institutions from the region and the
wider Islamic and Western world will meet in London to chart a way
forward. They must seize this opportunity to refocus on the Somali people
that past policies have failed, developing more coherent strategies to ensure
that aid and protection reach those who need it and addressing the root
causes of the protracted conflict and chronic vulnerability in the country.

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