Mogadishu set to host conference on illegal charcoal trade

Mogadishu set to host conference on illegal charcoal trade

Mogadishu is set to host a government-led conference to stop the illegal trade, and unsustainable production and use of charcoal in Somalia.

Export of charcoal from Somalia has been banned by a 2012 United Nations Security Council resolution and the Somali government due to its destructive effect on the environment, and its exacerbation of conflict and humanitarian crises.

Some 8.2 million trees were cut down for charcoal in Somalia between 2011 and 2017, increasing land degradation and food insecurity. Illegal trade in charcoal acts as major source of funding for militias and terrorist groups such as Al Shabaab, who illegally tax exports.

High level government officials, senior UN representatives, international and Somali environment experts, and international donor partners are expected to attend the conference.

The two-day conference will be held from May 7-8, 2018, according to the organizers. It is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), with funding from the European Union, Sweden and Italy.

The Somali Government-led event therefore aims to urgently build alliances amongst consumer countries and international and local experts and donors. It intends to rally support for concrete action, including partnerships with investors, to stop the illegal trade and to strengthen ongoing work in developing alternative livelihoods and alternative energy sources in Somalia.