2008 Good Starts From Somalia
A first piece of good news for the new, leap, year 2008 comes from the
Warsangeli Sultanate that has been seriously engaged in environmental
protection. As deforestation has advanced much in all parts of Somalia,
the way to re-forestation passes through the elimination of the charcoal
Before bringing natural catastrophe to Somalia, charcoal trade was a curse
for various countries allover the world. We know now that due to wood tar
production, all Finnish forests are younger than 300 years; as by-product
of the wood tar production, the charcoal had caused great environmental
disaster in Finland. The end of tar production signified rapid
reforestation in that Scandinavian country.
England, Central Europe, and the Alpine region were also severely hit by
the charcoal production that was a major reason of local deforestation.
Somalia, gravely devastated by a civil war that triggered severe
deterioration of social and environmental conditions, is by definition a
major ecological concern at a global level. The ominous 2004 Sumatra
tsunami caused an additional disaster in parts of the northeastern Somali
coast, around Ras Hafun in today's Puntland.
The charcoal production and trade tolerated by the Puntland authorities in
the province of Sanaag (at the Western confines of Puntland, bordering
with the secessionist state of Somaliland) was among the reasons the local
population enthusiastically supported the charcoal export ban.
Environmentally conscious, the Warsangeli People had persistently
denounced the lucrative but disastrous charcoal trade that was an
important part of Puntland's income at the prejudice of the severely
damaged Somali environment.
In its first six months of existence the local administration delivered
much of their promise; establishing the Environmental Protection Corps was
a real local need, after the official ban of the charcoal trade.
I received a report compiled by an influential Warsangeli who has been
deeply involved in the shaping of the local environmental policies, and
the related law enforcement. I publish it with great pleasure as it
heralds an augur and much promising new year 2008 for Maakhir itself, and
Somalia in its entirety.
Charcoal trade banned and ban enforced in the
The roots of the destructive nature of the charcoal trade in Sanaag region
was due to lack of rules and regulations stemmed from the collapse of the
central Somali Government. The Environmental Protection Corps (EPC) of
Warsangeli-Land is growing in numbers and contributing to a larger
slowdown of charcoal trade and illegal trade of wild animals.
The authority of the Warsangeli Sultanate has banned charcoal trade
because of the environmental destruction and desertification that it does
to the fragile Somali environment. Traders drastically cut entire swaths
of forests, and as a result the trade was flourishing due to the high
demand for charcoal in the Arab Gulf States and other countries in Asia.
These are the reasons why the Environment Protection Corps are confronting
the charcoal profiteers and their militia that have been menacing the Gebi
Valley and Sool Plateau.
It is important to highlight that the Warsangelis did not receive any
international aid for this effort. This largely local effort has made an
immediate impact on preserving and protecting the environment in the Gebi
Valley and Sool Plateau.
As indicated in last Thursday's press release; "The Administration used
traditional conflict resolution methods to stop the traders and their
militia, however these militia are heavily equipped with automatic
firearms who would not cooperate, but the most effective and successful
method for limiting the harmful distress of our environment was creating
and using the EPC forces".
The EPC in Warsangeli-Land apprehended more than 80 criminals over the
past 4 months and jailed them in the district of Dhahar. The
administration constructed a new program of materials, structures, and
training to educate militia while they are held in jail. Jama Dahir Kodah,
one of the program directors of the EPC, told the media that their next
sustainable occurring project is to implement a plantation program in the
The EPC is divided into three forces in the following areas with its main
base is in the town of Dhahar, the capital city of Boharo region:
1) The first battalion is responsible for the protection in vast areas
which stretches from Baragaha-Qol in Southern Sanaag to Eilbuh in Central
2) The second battalion is responsible for an area which stretches from
Dhahar to Western Part of Bari region of Somalia near Boosaaso.
3) The third and most important battalion has bases along the highway that
links Warsangeli-Land to Puntland and does stop and search in suspected
adopted from an article by
Prof. Dr. Muhammad Shamsaddin Megalommatis
The illegal charcoal trade,
carried out by desperately poor people, but caused by the demand of rich
oil-states, goes on in most parts of Somalia. This despite the fact that
charcoal from Somalia had been
declared Xaram (unclean) by several religious leaders from the importing
countries like the UAE and
the Sultanate of Oman, who had been informed by an ECOTERRA campaign since
1991 of the
disastrous impacts on the environment caused by unregulated charcoal
burning in war-torn Somalia.
However, the campaign is more and more supported by Somali journalists and
NGO's as well as
local Authorities and shows positive effects in certain areas over the
last years. But as long appaling
poverty prevails in most parts of Somalia the destruction of nature by
local people can not be stopped