Pioneering Masters Programme in Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability launched in Somalia
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.
It is expected the year-and-a-half-long postgraduate degree will train a cadre of young professional environmental experts to address issues such as scarcity of water and land degradation, which in turn can help build resilience to drought, flooding, and other climate change-related events. The aim of the programme is to provide a pathway for young professionals to move into positions in environmental and government institutions, contributing increased knowledge to the area of environmental sustainability and resource management. In bringing together young people from Somaliland, Puntland, Jubaland, Galmudug, South West, Hirshabelle, and Mogadishu, the Programme aims to also contribute to cohesion and dialogue on environmental issues, supported by technical expertise from UNDP and other United Nations agencies.
The Director General of the Ministry of the Environment and Rural Development, Dr. Abdirizak Jama, speaking at the opening ceremony, thanked UNDP and the Global Environment Facility for their support, and highlighted the contribution the students will make in evaluating environmental impact and sustainability. “The challenges arising from climate change need to be understood, particularly in our context, and we need to find proper ways to address them through adaptation and mitigation,” he said.
Addressing partcipants at the event, the President of Amoud University, Professor Suleiman Ahmed Guled, underscored the importance of knowledge in addressing climate change. “Knowledge is a commodity - there are lot of challenges in the world and climate change is one of the largest. The students starting here today will be pioneers, and we will ensure that the programme is sustainable,” he said.
Ilaria Carpen, Head of Hargeisa Area Office, United Nations Development Programme, reiterated that the students attending the Masters programme are leading the way. “Climate change is a reality. We rely on you, we are full of hope, that from this programme you will provide the technical expertise to address issues relating to climate change. UNDP is investing in youth because we know that young people like you can come up with new inventions and new ways to address issues affecting the environment,” she said.
The students attending the Masters Programme are expected to graduate in Sepetember/October 2019. Originally published on UNDP Somalia.
About the project
The Enhancing Climate Resilience of the Vulnerable Communities and Ecosystems in Somalia project uses GEF Least Developed Countries Fund financing to support ministries, districts, NGOs and community-based organizations (CBOs) to integrate climate change risks into natural resource management and disaster preparedness efforts. It further provides support to institutionalize capacities to plan for climate risk management from national to local levels, reducing Somalia’s dependency on humanitarian aid. CBOs are being revitalized to take the lead in implementing ecosystem-based flood preparedness and other adaptation measures at the community level. To support community-led activities, water will be captured using small-scale infrastructure. Flood impacts will be reduced with water diversion techniques and reforestation. With 73% of the population under 30 years of age, youth are being sensitised with climate change knowledge so that they can serve in understaffed ministries and support CBO efforts on the ground. Furthermore, the project is empowering women to market and to scale-up the distribution of adaptation technologies, providing women an improved asset base.
The project aims to create a solid foundation for communities to have access to improved ecosystem services and to develop more climate-resilient livelihoods by mainstreaming CCA and NRM in Somalia’s nascent national and community governance structures. Policy development will create an enabling environment for sustainable land management to combat the deleterious impacts caused by extensive deforestation and over-grazing. Women and youth will be empowered with climate change knowledge so that they can seize employment and business opportunities, and women will become agents of change, with the capacity to make decisions on the use, management and protection of natural resources.