Sixth National Report
Section I. Information on the targets being pursued at the national level
By 2022, Somali people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the required steps for its conservation, protection and sustainable use/management. ()
Peace building, health, education and responding to the recurrent droughts and floods are the top agenda of the issues faced by the government of Somalia. Environmental degradation such as biodiversity loss contribute to vulnerability to disasters and climate related. Sensitizing the stakeholders like the government, private sector, and communities to the values of biodiversity especially its roles in terms of livelihoods, reducing vulnerability to climate change, health etc. is vital to the achievement of the goals of the CBD and well-being of the Somali people because this will lead to attitude change and influence actions that will lead to conservation and sustainably use the biodiversity.
The national target was developed from the Aichi targets.
By 2028, at the latest, biodiversity values have been integrated into national and zonal development plans (specifically 5 years plans) and other poverty reduction processes and are being incorporated (as appropriate) into national accounting and reporting systems. ()
Integrating biodiversity conservation in the development plans secures raises awareness and secures funds to be allocated to the sector. It also ensures that economic development to be considerate to the environment hence preventing further degradation of the biodiversity in the name of development since targets for economic development shall be checked by targets for biodiversity conservation in the same development plan.
By 2030, at the latest, incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity are eliminated, phased out or reformed in order to minimize or avoid negative impacts, and positive incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are developed and applied, consistent and in harmony with the Convention and other relevant international obligations, taking into account national socio economic conditions ()
Providing positive incentives is important for influencing change in communities and private sector. Such incentives could be subsidies for the environmentally friendly businesses, support for community based initiatives and promoting alternative livelihoods for persons involved in unfriendly businesses like charcoal burning and wildlife killings. At the same time actions need to be taken against those found disrubting environment and ecosystems.
The target has been developed from the Aichi targets.
By 2020, at the latest, Governments, business and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption and have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits. ()
Since Somalia is recovering from long periods of civil unrest and with continued recurrent of droughts, floods and cyclones, always dealing with the humanitarian crisis is prioritized and very little attention is given to preparation and resilience building in which environmental management is important. This target is to motivate the stakeholders that they should always think of sustainability of their actions and ensure that they do not cause more harm to the fragile ecosystems. This would be done by reducing the demand for biological resources through efficient systems and involving the government, private sectors and communities in getting alternative sources and efficient systems in order to reduce rate of degradation of the biological resources.
Somalia's economy and livelihoods are predominantly driven by livestock sector, with grazing rather than stall feeding is the norm. The predominant livestock species are goats, sheep, camel and cattle. Free-grazing prevails on indigenous pattern, the nomadism follows the availability of forage and water, and is not done on rotational purposes to provide rest period for the vegetation to be on sustainable basis except in Dharoor valley of Puntalnd. The free/over grazing has led to habitat degradation in multiple ways such as leading to stunted growth of vegetation due to browsing pressure, over grazing on the other hand has marred the natural regeneration of the woody vegetation. The hoeing phenomenon together with the removal of the vegetation cover has facilitated the gully and sheet erosion. Thus the process of land degradation is perpetuated by the mutually reinforcing degradation factors of soil erosion together with suppressed regenerative capacity of the natural vegetation - the protective cover of the soil and habitat in general.
The excessive number of the livestock, besides the overgrazing, pushes away the wildlife in general and ungulates in particular, because of direct competition for forage and space. On the other hand predator in general and cats in particular are threatened as the ranching communities clears them a way to protect their livestock. In some areas such as Nugaal, Puntland, the grasslands are profusely rich, and support the grazing pressure with less depletion, however, the huge presence of livestock outcompete the wildlife, due to the mentioned factors.
The target was developed from the Aichi targets.
By 2025, the rate of loss of all natural habitats, including forests, is at least halved and where feasible brought close to zero, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced. ()
Habitat is vital for the survival of organisms. For wildlife species, forests play very important role because it provides shelter which they can hide from prey, poachers, extreme weather conditions. In Somalia, deforestation, illegal arms and droughts are believed to have played the biggest role in the out-migration and reduction of wildlife. Other than the direct interventions on protecting the forests, the target works to reduce the pressure on the resource by reducing the demand.
Open kilns (shown below) with efficiencies less than 10% are common methods for producing charcoal in many parts of Somalia. Production of charcoal with this limited efficiency cause deforestation and do little in covering the demand for charcoal. For one big tree cut down for making charcoal, branches from other trees, small trees, shrubs and grasses are also cut to help with the pyrolysis and carbonization process.
The target was developed from the Aichi targets.
By 2030 all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem based approaches, so that overfishing is avoided, recovery plans and measures are in place for all depleted species, fisheries have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits. ()
Somalia has a coast that is 3,333km and 200 nautical miles of which 12 miles close to the coast are restricted for only the local fishermen and banned for foreign fishermen. Illegal and unregulated fishing activities by foreign bottom trawler vessels is common in Somali waters. The presence of the foreign vessels who are responsible for the overfishing leads to conflicts whenever they collide with local fishing boats in the 24 miles exclusive zone for the local fishermen.
The main commercial fish normally landed by artisan fishermen comprise many demersal and pelagic species. The most important groups include the following families:
1. Serranidae: Groupers, Sea basses, Rock cod, Hinds, Combers, Coral trout, Iyretails and Soap fish.
2. Carangidae: Jacks, Trevallies, Scads, Queen Fish, Runners and Pompos. Lutjanidae: Snappers, Job fish.
3. Haemullidae: Grunts, Sweet lips, Rubber lips and Hot lips.
4. Lethrinidae: Emperors, Breams, Pig face, and Large eye breams.
5. Mullidae: Goat fish.
6. Scombridae: Albacores, Bonitos, Kawa kawa, Mackerels, Tuna and Waho.
Inadequate information about the fish stokes and categories has been the major challenge in determining the appropriate conservation strategy for the marine resources.
Somalia has the following coastal zones
Zone 1: From south to north, this commences from the coast of Kenya and ends at the south of Kismayu. This also includes the barrier islands. The zone possesses diverse and complex collection of mangroves, coral reefs, beds of sea-grass and lagoons.
Zone 2: This zone runs from Kismayu to Adale and is characterized by sand dunes and low cliffs. The coastline has a very narrow continental shelf and the coast undergo high energy waves. In some places fringing coral reefs are found in this zone.
Zone 3: This zone forms the longest section of the coast and runs from Adale to Ras Asyer at the Horn. Upwelling occurs and the area provides important fish nursery and rich fishery off the coast. This zone has sandy beaches, rocky reefs, cliffs and salt marshes & saline lagoons; this stretch is further divided into the following four sections:
· Adale to Gara’ad, upwelling is dominant phenomena here. The section possesses sandy beaches and rocky reefs with profound coverage of algal coverage.
· Gara’ad to Foar, upwelling is also common here, with small stretches of beaches the coast is dominated by rocky headlands and cliffs. Rocky reefs with algal coverage are a dominant feature of this section.
· Foar-Hurdiya to the Hafun Complex, this region provide important fish nursery due to its shallow sandy bays, saline lagoons and salt marshes.
· Hafun Peninsula to Ras Aseyr; in the southern part cliffs form the coastline whereas sand dunes forms the northern part. This is a high energy coastline where towards the north upwelling occurs with relatively lower energy
Zone 4: Around the Horn of Africa, this is a unique section as here Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea meet. Due to its biodiversity potential and its unique global position, this section has the potential to be developed into a biodiversity hotspot of international importance.
Zone 5: This belt covers the entire coastline of the Gulf of Aden and possesses sandy beaches, cliffs, rocky shores and coastal mountains. There are two sites of mangroves present in this zone. Some of the beaches are important bird and turtle nesting grounds such as Saad a Din, etc. Patches of corals and offshore islands with fringing coral reefs are also found here.
By 2030 areas under agriculture, aquaculture and forestry are managed sustainably, ensuring conservation of biodiversity. ()
Agricultural, aquaculture and forestry areas host great number of biodiversity that need to be conserved. On the other hand biodiversity is also important for the production of these areas because of the different roles that species play which are necessary for these areas to become productive. Such roles include pollination, species balancing, nutrient cycle, which are all free services delivered by biodiversity and without them could cost us a lot. The ever growing pressure on producing food and the existing extreme weather (droughts and floods) events in Somalia has made land unproductive and reduced biodiversity resources. Agriculture represents about 93% of the national total exports and is the most important sector for the livelihoods of more than 80% of Somalis. Livestock and crop production are threatened by the recurrent droughts and floods and also by unsustainable management of the land resources which provide nutrients for the production of crops and pasture growth.
By 2025, pollution, including from excess nutrients, has been brought to levels that are not detrimental to ecosystem function and biodiversity. ()
Pollution from plastic materials, used automobile oils and municipal wastes in general threaten the lives of animals (avian, aquatic and terrestrial), plants and agricultural production in Somalia. Beaches, fields surrounding settlements and towns have turned to non-productive due to mismanagement of municipal wastes plus one-time use plastic bags buried or hanging on top of trees, suffocating plants, harboring disease carrying vectors, constipating livestock that eat them, etc. The toxic wastes dumped in the seas and land areas poses threats to humans and biodiversity resources. This target was developed to help the government to take specific actions in identifying the sources of wastes and putting in place mechanisms to reduce and clean up.
By 2027, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritized, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment. ()
Invasive alien species are dangerous to biodiversity because they eliminate the indigenous species. Some of them are hazardous to humans and animals. Alien species are introduced either by humans (deliberately or mistakenly) for other purposes or can sometimes be brought by migration species (especially birds) from other areas. Prosopis Julliflora which was introduced in Somalia in the 1970s and 1980s as part of actions to combat desertification and moving sand dunes has now taken over large parts of agricultural and grazing valleys eliminating indigenous and nutritious grasses, shrubs and trees that livestock survived on for generations affecting the socioeconomic of communities. The results also confirms that Prosopis is widely spread across Somaliland with a particularly high concentration in the Woqooyi Galbeed region. Also the pattern of invasion confirms that it invades first lowlands next to rivers and Wadis as well as peri-urban areas both inland and along the coast (FAO-SWALIM, Rembold, F. and Leonardi, 2014). The other leading invasive species is Indian crow, and this in particular affect the avian biodiversity, not only due to competition for food but also the chicks and eggs of various birds form the feed of the Indian crow, the worst factor is its ever increasing number without much control mechanism available for both these leading invasive species. So far the available eradication measures are not cost-effective and in the rather limited financial and institutional capacity of the Government, this can be only be attempted in a project mode.
In freshwater habitats, the introduction of alien species is the second leading cause of species extinction, and on islands it is the main cause of extinction over the past 20 years, along with habitat destruction (WRI, 2005). Although not limited to, however the major invasive species in Somalia is Prosopis juliflora, together with Prosopis pallida and P. chilensis were initially introduced to East Africa for the stabilization of dune systems and for providing fuel wood after prolonged droughts in the 1970’s (Von Maydell 1986). In many areas the species have hybridized to an extent that the current varieties have lost most of their valuable woody attributes and aggressively outcompete native shrub and tree vegetation (Pasiecznik 2001). The recent study (unpublished) conducted by FAO-SWALIM, assesses the invasion of Prosopis in Somaliland and confirms that it is encroaching only productive areas under agriculture or forestry. In the desert or semi-desert areas its infestation is rather insignificant. The islands and mountain areas are also infested.
The target was developed from the Aichi targets
By 2025, the multiple anthropogenic pressures on coral reefs, and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change or ocean acidification are minimized, so as to maintain their integrity and functioning ()
Somalia has 3,333 km long coastline with 604 fish types out of which 420 can be commercialized and currently, the sector generates average annual revenue of 135 million US dollars. At the local level, the sector is mainly small scale fishing using small motorized boats that catch fish up to 50km in the ocean. Coral reefs provide habitat and life to variety of species that are depended on by the local fishing communities and the economy of Somalia through export. The marine coastal and coral reefs of Somalia are threatened by overfishing done through illegal, unreported and unregulated and dumping of toxic wastes by foreign vessels. The presence of armed groups (pirates) in Somalia also increases the risk of oil pollutions especially if targeted ships are oil and gas tankers.
The National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA) provides an elaborate account of the climate change – biodiversity nexus under the sectoral vulnerabilities. The extreme climate events of alternating droughts and floods cause adverse effects on biodiversity. The drought exacerbates deforestation