Last‑minute effort to avert famine: an international conference on Somalia in London

Some 40 countries and international organisations convened in London on Thursday (11 May) to discuss aid for Somalia. In addition to combating the current threat of famine, the aim of long‑term stabilisation of the country was also discussed. Foreign Minister Gabriel represented Germany at the conference. 

The international community must prevent the food crisis 

The urgent appeal by UN Secretary General António Guterres has been heard, Foreign Minister Gabriel said at the start of the conference: “We have meanwhile collected 55% of the funds that are needed to combat the food crisis in Somalia and the Horn of Africa .... However, this also means we are still missing 45%,” he then added.

These funds are urgently needed for the last‑minute effort to stave off famine in the country. 

Gabriel visited the refugee camp near Baidoa in early May 2017

Gabriel visited the refugee camp near Baidoa in early May 2017
© Inga Kjer/photothek.net

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Gabriel visited the refugee camp near Baidoa in early May 2017

Gabriel visited the refugee camp near Baidoa in early May 2017

Gabriel visited the refugee camp near Baidoa in early May 2017

Only recently, Foreign Minister Gabriel travelled to Mogadishu and Baidoa to get a first‑hand impression of developments there. The situation in the country is dramatic, Gabriel said. The people are suffering from the effects of war and civil war. The continuing drought is making the crisis even worse for many.

In 2017, Germany has already doubled its humanitarian aid for Somalia, to 140 million euros. Now, it is also up to the international community to join the aid effort: “We hope, of course, that others will follow our example,” Gabriel said in London. Foreign Minister Gabriel and Development Minister Müller had issued an appeal at the beginning of April in the form of the Berlin Humanitarian Call, urging that action be taken before time runs out.

Stabilising and strengthening state structures 

That is why, under the co‑chairmanship of the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the Somali Government, the international community met today to discuss further support for Somalia. The conference did not, however, focus exclusively on addressing the current severe humanitarian crisis. It also looked at ways to stabilise the country in the long term. 

Top priorities in this respect are improving national security, strengthening state structures and promoting the country’s economic development. The Federal Foreign Office is therefore supporting efforts to strengthen the police force in order to make the population feel safer. At the same time, the Max Planck Foundation, which is supported by the Federal Foreign Office, is helping to strengthen local initiatives and accountability through the establishment of a federal state. The reintegration of former fighters into Somali society is another important task. With German support, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is able to prepare up to 1000 former soldiers for a life in peace each year. 

In the margins of the conference, Foreign Minister Gabriel met with, among others, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, to whom he reiterated his support for the work of the United Nations with regard to Somalia.

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Gabriel in Somalia: The international community must not look the other way

Last updated 12.05.2017

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