Hargeisa – The European Union Delegation to the Federal Republic of Somalia jointly with the Government of Somaliland and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)’s Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) project today launched in Hargeisa the Integrated Land and Water Management (ILWRM) Project. The event was graced by the EU Charge d’Affairs Dr. Hjordis D’Agostino Ogendo, FAO Deputy Representative for Somalia Mr. Peterschmitt Etienne and representatives of the Ministries of Planning, Agriculture and Environment, Livestock, Water and the Agency for Disaster Management as well as other Somali and International partners and stakeholders.

The Project, with an overall EU contribution of EUR 3.2 million (shared with Puntland where the project will also be implemented), will support the establishment of an Information Management Centre which will inform the Somaliland Government on Water and Land resources management.

The Somaliland Minister of Finance Development and acting Minister of Planning and National Development, Hon. Dr. Saad Ali Shire, appreciated the collaboration and support from the EU and the partnership with FAO. The Minister highlighted the importance of the project to improve access to water for local communities in a context like Somaliland constantly affected by increasing natural emergencies such as drought and where natural resources are scarce and progressively deteriorating.

“Water and land are critical resources for Somali economy and people’s livelihoods but are also extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change. While access to water needs to increase, needed infrastructures are to be designed and managed in a sustainable way on the basis of adequate plans and information. This project was designed with this purpose” said Dr. Hjordis Ogendo, EU Charge d’Affairs.

The projects builds on the expertise and information accumulated during more than 10 years by FAO SWALIM and will create the conditions for a progressive transfer of capacity and responsibility to the Government. It will work as a pilot for further expansion to all the country, expressed Mr. Etienne Peterschmitt, Head of Programme of FAO.

ILWRM is a contribution to the SWALIM Phase VI project and will strengthen the capacity of all responsible Government institutions creating an Inter-ministerial Information Management Centre able to provide all the information and services required to design strategies, plans and infrastructures to improve access to water and sustainable use of land resources, especially for rural communities.