For some countries, climate action comes with an extra set of challenges.
Yemen and Somalia joined the Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) project in 2020, along with 15 other countries. The two countries face difficulties from both an economic, social and security perspective, while at the same time struggling with serious consequences of climate change.
Despite challenging circumstances, both countries are actively engaging with both regional TNA centres and UNEP DTU Partnership experts working on the project.
With the combined efforts, momentum and progress in Yemen and Somalia is high, underscoring the importance of addressing climate change and the adaptability, versatility and usefulness of the TNA approach.
The first climate change project in Yemen since 2015
The TNA work in Yemen represents one of the first climate change-related projects in the country since the armed conflict started in 2014.
As is also the case in Somalia, the conflict is exacerbating the negative impacts of climate change. Changes in rain patterns, extreme weather events and the many other effects of a changing climate hit people who are already suffering through years of conflict, insecurity and food shortages.
Moreover, the financial support for environmental activities has become insufficient to implement needed actions due to the current economic situation in the country, which also faces a weakening of institutional structures, lack of data and difficult access to information.
The TNA project is considered the first climate project to be implemented since 2015, and in spite of the weak institutional structure, the TNA team is reactivating the communication and coordination among climate change stakeholders and raising awareness among stakeholders and policymakers.
The team is working with all relevant ministries to collect required data and is actively participating in the TNA training and capacity-building workshops.
Conflicts fueled by the climate crisis in Somalia
In Somalia, the existing COVID-19 situation coupled with increased political disruptions has created challenges, slowing the start of the TNA process. Despite these challenges, climate change is a critical issue for both the sustainable development and the stability of the country.
“Climate change is a development and security issue for Somalia and thus addressing it is critical towards achieving peace, stability and prosperity/development for the country,” Fatuma Hussein, TNA consultant for Somalia and Team lead, Climate Change and Natural Resource Management at Horn of Africa Sustainability Solutions, explains.
“Conflict in Somalia is to a large extent being fueled by the climate crisis and natural resource degradation. On the other hand, the conflict situation makes the country and communities more vulnerable to the effects of climate change resulting in recurrent humanitarian crises. The government recognizes that climate change impacts exacerbate local and national conflict drivers, and that stability and security will not be achieved without increased climate resilience,” she adds.
Progress on the project is made possible thanks to close coordination between the Somali government and the TNA coordinator and consultants. At the same time, the TNA process has benefitted substantially by considering the priority mitigation and adaptation technologies identified under the updated NDC for Somalia.
Climate change needs to be addressed, even during conflicts
Yemen and Somalia represent two of the countries with the most severe challenges surrounding their TNA work in the fourth round of the TNA project. In this round, 17 Least Developed Countries and Small Island Development States are working to identify their main priorities for climate change mitigation and adaptation and to develop concrete plans for finance and implementation.
In countries such as South Sudan and the Central African Republic, climate change is causing and worsening already existing conflicts over access to water and food and causing internal migration. Yet they are, along with the rest of the TNA countries, working closely with UNEP DTU Partnership to identify the best suited technologies to their specific climate change situation.