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On the 25 April, the United Nations Office for Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and The Humanitarian Forum (THF) held a strategic roundtable meeting in Mogadishu to discuss the humanitarian situation in Somalia. The roundtable meeting was attended by 40 senior representatives of leading humanitarian actors from UN agencies, Red Crescent societies, international and national organisations. Representatives from the Humanitarian Affairs Department in the Federal Government of Somalia also participated in the one day meeting.
Dr Hany el Banna, president of THF chaired the meeting and welcomed the progress and relative stability that Somalia has witnessed over the last eight months. He raised the importance of collaboration between humanitarian actors to jointly address the pressing humanitarian and development challenges that communities face. OCHA Somalia Deputy Head of Office a.i., Ms Edem Wosornu, provided an overview of the humanitarian situation in the country and indicated that despite gains made in the last couple of years and in particular since the 2011 famine there are more than 2.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. She stated that the Humanitarian Country Team in Somalia has recognized that the best and most efficient way of averting crisis is to invest in preparedness and disaster risk reduction programmes. It, therefore, has developed a three-year Consolidated Appeals process (CAP) in 2012, in order to refocus humanitarian programming from life-saving interventions to resilience-building. The Somali Relief and Development Forum presented findings of consultation it conducted with representatives of more than 90 Somali NGOs in the three regions of Somalia on humanitarian priorities, aid accountability and roles of diaspora. For the OIC, Mr. Ahmed Adam highlighted the importance of delivering practical solutions to chronic challenges of humanitarian work in Somalia and welcomed avenues of constructive dialogue between different humanitarian actors that leads to increased collaboration between various organisations. Mr Sikander Khan, the country representative for UNICEF, called upon organisations and governments regardless of their backgrounds to work genuinely and collectively on alleviation of human suffering of Somalis. Ms Alessandra Morrelli, the UNHCR country representative, welcomed the relocation of many organisations and UN agencies to Mogadishu closer to Somali communities from their current base in Nairobi.
The participants made the following recommendations to governments, multilaterals and international institutions meeting in London on the 7th of May 2013:
1) Humanitarian principles and its imperative should remain the basis for aid delivery to communities in different parts of Somalia. Some areas remain out of reach due to security concerns when access to all communities in need should be guaranteed
2) Efforts to provide protection and safety to civilians and vulnerable groups, especially IDPs, must be supported and encouraged.
3) Donors should continue to include approaches that embed communities' resilience into relief and recovery interventions through the development of service delivery infrastructures, income generation and food security programming for linking relief efforts to sustainable solutions.
4) Donors are encouraged to continue to generously invest in building local capacities of Somali communities and government institutions, public services and civil society organizations.
5) NGOs, governments and donor agencies are collectively asked to strengthen their coordination mechanisms and improve the accountability of their aid programmes. These frameworks should be based on mutual transparency, inclusion and effectiveness in meeting communities' needs and priorities.