Some analysts looked at the 2012 elections in Somalia as a possible turning point for the country, and the first months afterwards saw a renewed sense of optimism. Unfortunately, that possibility has yet to materialise and the country continues to be plagued by security concerns. In fact, the UN has warned that a food crisis similar to that witnessed in 2011 is possible if current aid funding is not increased significantly. Operational difficulties are evident; in August 2013, MSF decided to pull out of Somalia due to safety reasons. Since then, the security situation has continued to deteriorate.
Political and Donor Support
On the political front the Turkish government, which until the end of 2013 was one of the largest donors to the Somali government and one of the few that gave direct cash contributions, has decided to remove direct budgetary support to Somalia. Instead, Turkey has now taken a greater interest in the states of Puntland and Somaliland, which have traditionally had less support from international donors. A recent academic paper argues that it has been this fact, namely the lack of external donors, that has promoted a greater degree of co-dependence between local elites and better institutions in the state of Somaliland.
On the 13th of February, a car bomb detonated outside of the international airport in Mogadishu. Witnesses believe that the attack was aimed at a U.N. convoy passing by near the airport, which killed 5 civilians, injuring 12, including 4 Somali security forces. During the week of the 10th February, Somalia’s major telecommunications network Hormuud closed down its mobile internet service after receiving threats from Al-Shabaab. This situation compounded difficulties for humanitarian organisations trying to communicate with staff working in country, delaying donor reporting and feedback and raising the potential impact of security incidents by hampering the flow of information between field, country and HQ offices. Recent news also suggests that a spike in violence in the capital of the country has led a number of civilians to flee Mogadishu.
On the 21st of February, an attack on the presidential palace by a car bomb underscored the current lack of stability and security in the capital, and Al-Shabaab personnel have infiltrated the presidential compound, although at the time of writing no one from the government was injured and news reports say that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has already been contacted and remains safe.
Somali presidential palace: ‘Car bomb’ attack in Mogadishu, BBC, 21 February 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26288846
Somalia diverting arms to Al-Shabab, UN report claims, ABC News, 20 February 2014, http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/hundreds-somalias-capital-flee-clashes-22596399
UN warns of ‘grave humanitarian crisis’ in Somalia as more than 850,000 face starvation, The Independent, 19 February 2014, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/un-warns-of-grave-humanitarian-crisis-in-somalia-as-more-than-850000-face-starvation-9138630.html
Somaliland v Somalia: great new paper on an extraordinary ‘natural experiment’ in aid and governance, From Poverty to Power, 19 February 2014, http://oxfamblogs.org/fp2p/somaliland-v-somalia-great-new-paper-on-an-extraordinary-natural-experiment-in-aid-and-governance/
Some aid groups affected by mobile Internet shutdown in Somalia, Devex, 18 February 2014, https://www.devex.com/en/news/some-aid-groups-affected-by-mobile-internet/82875
Somalia diverting arms to al-Shabab, UN report claims, BBC, 14 February 2014, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-26200015
Biggest donor Turkey stops direct budget support to Somalia, Reuters, 13 February 2014, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/02/13/us-somalia-budget-turkey-idUSBREA1C1S320140213
Car Bomb Kills 5 Outside Airport in Somalia, NY Times, 13 February 2014, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/14/world/africa/car-bomb-outside-airport-in-somalia.html?_r=0
Humanitarian Bulletin Somalia January 2014, ONCHA, 19 February 2014, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/OCHA%20Somalia%20Humanitarian%20Bulletin%20January%202014.pdf
Somalia: Puntland’s Punted Polls, International Crisis Group, 19 December 2013, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/horn-of-africa/somalia/b097-somalia-puntland-s-punted-polls.aspx
Political Settlements and State Formation: The Case of Somaliland, Developmental Leadership Program, December 2013, http://www.dlprog.org/ftp/download/Public%20Folder/Political%20Settlements%20and%20State%20Formation%20-%20the%20Case%20of%20Somaliland.pdf
Assessing Turkey’s Role in Somalia, International Crisis Group, 8 October 2012, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/africa/horn-of-africa/somalia/b092-assessing-turkeys-role-in-somalia.aspx
While digital tools undeniably facilitate humanitarian response, the risk of connected societies and access to data leaves organisations vulnerable to cybercrime attacks. In this blog, CyberFish’s Berta Pappenheim explores how effective cyber crisis management differs from traditional crisis management responses and how organisations can build digital resilience to limit their vulnerabilities in the digital realm.
When Security Risk Management and Technology Collide: getting humanitarian notification systems right
At first blush, the notion underlying humanitarian notification systems (HNS)—also sometimes called ‘humanitarian deconfliction’ or ‘humanitarian notification systems for deconfliction’—might appear quite simple. Humanitarians operating in conflict settings seek to cultivate relationships with armed actors to enable humanitarian access, mitigate humanitarian insecurity, and promote civilian protection. When engaging with an armed actor exhibiting no evident intent to harm humanitarian actors, how complex could it be to devise an information-sharing platform (i.e., HNS) that can enhance the armed actor’s situational awareness by transmitting geolocations for static humanitarian sites (e.g., warehouses, offices, or even education and health facilities) and planned aid worker movements (e.g., road movements or flights)?
Greater Accountability and Respect for Human Rights: A Contract Guidance Tool for Private Security Services
As an NGO, do you hire or are you considering hiring a private security company (PSC) to ensure the security of your operations? Do you implement guidelines for the hiring of private security services? How do you select a PSC? Does the contract include respect for human rights? DCAF is…