Somalia is in Eastern Africa at 10 00 N and 49 00 E, it has a total area of 637, 657 square kilometres. Somalia’s coastline extends 2,720 kilometers along the Gulf Aden and the Indian Ocean. Its topography ranges from hilly in the north, where the land rises to between 900 and 2,100 meters above sea level, to flats in the central and southern regions (USDS, 2010). Somalia’s current climate is hot and dry, with uneven rainfall and regular droughts (USDS, 2010). It experiences a northeast monsoon from December to February, at which time temperatures in the north become moderate while the south is hot; a southwest monsoon from May to October occurs when the north is extremely hot. Hot and humid conditions occur between monsoon periods (CIA, 2010). Land degradation is a prominent environmental issue in the country, driven by drought, desertification and poor agricultural and pastoral practices (UNEP, 2011).

As a result of approximately 25 years of internal conflict, Somali’s governance systems are very weak. The country is governed by the Transitional Federal Government, with the regions of Somaliland and Putland having declared unilateral autonomy (USDS, 2010; Kolmannskog, 2009; UNEP, 2011). Despite these challenges, the country maintains a relatively active informal economy based on livestock, remittances, and telecommunications (CIA, 2010). Livestock accounts for 40 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and over 50 per cent of exports (CIA, 2010). Approximately 60 per cent of Somalia’s population is comprised of nomadic or semi-nomadic pastoralists who typically breed cattle, camels, goats, and sheep (USDS 2010). Although only 1.64 per cent of the country’s land is considered arable (CIA, 2010), a further 25 per cent of Somalis are farmers. From 15 to 20 per cent of the country’s population residing in urban areas (USDS, 2010). According to the 2010 Human Development Report, 81 per cent of Somalis live in multidimensional poverty whereby they experience “acute deprivation” in health, education and standards of living (UNDP, 2010).

As livestock and agriculture form the basis of the Somali population’s livelihoods, the country is highly vulnerable to the current and future impacts of climate change. This vulnerability is further compounded by the fact that the country is coastal, low-lying, poor and disrupted by war (Kinyangi et al., 2009; Kolmannskog, 2009). These climatic changes are likely to increase in both frequency and severity. Somalia’s environmental problems include deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion and desertification. The UNDP has provided assistance to Somalia to strengthen its national capacity so that it can engage in the Global Environmental Facility and implement programmes to protect Somalia’s fragile and significantly degraded environmental resources.

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Enhancing Climate Resilience of the Vulnerable Communities and Ecosystems in Somalia

With financing from the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Least Developed Country Countries Fund, the Federal Government of Somalia, in partnership with UNDP, is working to bolster the resilience of vulnerable communities and ecosystems to climate change. The project is working in semi-autonomous states in Somalia: South West State, Galmudug State, Puntland, and Somaliland, which unilaterally declared itself an independent republic in 1991. The project is working to respond to the adverse impacts of climate change and improve the adaptive capacity of vulnerable farmers in pilot areas, and the ecosystems on which they depend.

Building resilience to climatic events is critical for Somalia as the country stabilizes after decades of conflict and commits long-term development for its people.

Level of Intervention: 
POINT (45.70312499461 4.0505767912589)
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Communities in the selected areas in South West State, Galmudug State, Puntland, and Somaliland - especially small-scale farmers
Funding Source: 


Sand dams save lives - Fatima's story

Sand dams save lives- Mohamed Ismail's story

UNDP Somalia Climate Resilience Project - Documentary Film

UNDP under its Enhancing Climate Change Resilience (CCR) project of the Poverty Reduction and Environment Protection Programme (PREP), in partnership with the Somali Government, have initiated innovative project activities aimed at enhancing the climate resilience of vulnerable communities and ecosystems. The project also seeks to address some of the underlying drivers of conflict by empowering both the concerned National and Civil Society institutions, as well as the women, men and children from the most vulnerable communities.

Financing Amount: 
8,000,000 USD
Co-Financing Total: 
64,820,000 USD
Project Details: 

Green shoots of peace and development are emerging in Somalia, after a particularly difficult period of instability. UNDP is at the forefront to help the people of Somalia to recover from years of conflict, while setting the country on the path to sustainable development. In recent years, Somalia has experienced changes in weather and climate that are affecting the country’s economic and social development. Facing increasing uncertainty for seasonal and annual rainfall levels, rising surface temperatures, sea level rise, and the loss of lives and livelihoods dependent on fragile or over-exploited ecosystems and natural resources, there is concern that future climate changes could exacerbate displacement in the region and intensify conflict over scarce natural resources, including water.

Approximately 70% of Somalis are dependent on climate-sensitive agriculture and pastoralism. As floods and droughts become more severe and frequent in Somalia, there is a need to find approaches that can reduce the sensitivity of farmers and pastoralists to increasing rainfall variability. To address these issues, LDCF financing will be used to support ministries, districts, NGOs/CBOs to integrate climate change risks in Natural Resource Management and disaster preparedness. Climate risk management will be institutionalized from national to local levels. CBOs will be revitalized to take the lead on implementing community-based Ecosystem-based flood preparedness and other adaptation measures.

Tom Twining-Ward
Regional Technical Advisor
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Signature Programmes: 
Project Status: 
News and Updates: 

Pioneering Masters Programme in Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability launched in Somalia
30 students receive scholarships to programme with support from GEF, UNDP and University of Amoud
25 April 2018, Borama, Somaliland - The University of Amoud, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has launched a first of its kind Masters Programme in Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability, with 30 students from Somaliland, Puntland, Jubaland, Galmudug, South West, Hirshabelle, and Mogadishu awarded full and part time sponsorships by UNDP and Amoud University to study in the programme.

16 December 2017: Water dams build resilience for communities in Puntland

Guardian News Highlight, 10 May 2017: A life-or-death search for water in drought-parched Somalia – in pictures

Display Photo: 
Expected Key Results and Outputs (Summary): 

Component 1: Enhancing Policies, Institutional Frameworks and Government Capacities

1.1 Policies, plans and tools reviewed, revised, developed, adopted and implemented by government to mainstream and enhance adaptive capacity and mitigate the risks of climate change on vulnerable communities and critical ecosystem services

Component 2: Piloting Ecosystem Based Adaptation strategies

2.1 Models of community and ecosystem resilience developed and implemented in pilot areas selected in consultation with government and community stakeholders.

Project Dates: 
2014 to 2019

Press Release: Enhancing Climate Resilience of the Vulnerable Communities and Ecosystems in Somalia

21 November 2014

Mogadishu, Somalia —The Government of Somalia, in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is set to begin an innovative and novel project enhancing climate resilience of vulnerable communities and ecosystems through a US$8 million initiative.