13 June 2019, Mogadishu - A network of environmental journalists in Somalia – the first of its kind in the Horn of Africa nation - was today launched in the capital, Mogadishu. The Somali Environmental Journalists Network (SEJN) aims to bring together media professionals to increase reporting on environmental challenges and opportunities in the country.
“The Network will allow us, for the first time, to come together as media professionals in a deliberate effort to increase the media focus on environmental issues such as land degradation, deforestation, pollution and climate change,” Yahya Mohamed, the newly-elected chair of the Network, said at a media dialogue on charcoal reduction and alternative livelihoods in Mogadishu.
The Network, he added, will work in collaboration with stakeholders – including the Somali Government, communities, the private sector, donors and UN agencies – to report in a coherent and inclusive manner on the challenges and the solutions available to tackle the environmental issues facing the country and its sustainable development.
The Network is open to all Somali Journalists covering the environment and sustainable development issues.
“We have agreed to take the lead in helping to find a solution to our environmental challenges. We feel that media has a key role to play in changing the situation in our country,” Mohamed said.
Loss of natural resources is a major contributor to the severity of Somalia’s humanitarian crisis, as well as conflict at national and regional level; deforestation and land degradation remain the main environmental challenges in the country.
Saynab Adan, a Somali journalist, said the scale of destruction caused by charcoal trade is not widely known in the country. “This media dialogue has opened our eyes to the role we can play in reversing the environmental degradation in our country,” she added.
“This Network of journalists will be a key partner in supporting the ongoing environmental interventions in the country – it will increase awareness on environmental conservation among communities, policy makers and other stakeholders,” said Hussein M. Sheikh Hussein, the Federal Government of Somalia’s Minister of Livestock, Forestry and Range.
The Minister said the overexploitation of forest and rangeland resources was responsible frequent drought and floods that affect communities, creating a chronic humanitarian crisis.
“Members of this Network know very well the environmental situation in the country and are close to their communities; their work will certainly contribute in reversing the current environmental trend in the country,” Hussein added. “I call on all UN Agencies and donors to support the network.”
The SEJN was launched with support from UN Environment, the UN Development Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
PROSCAL (Programme for Sustainable Charcoal Reduction and Alternatives Livelihoods) is an interagency programme implemented by the Federal Government of Somalia, in collaboration with UN Environment Programme, UNDP and FAO and is funded by the European Union, and the Swedish and Italian governments. PROSCAL aims at coordinating international efforts to support the implementation of the ban on illegal export of charcoal from Somalia.
For more information, please contact:
Mohamed Atani, Head of communication and Outreach, UN Environment, Africa Office Tel: +254 727 531253