Preventing widespread famine before it is too late: International Somalia Conference in London

12 May 2017
FM Gabriel at the Somalia Conference in London

International community must prevent famine

About 40 states and international organisations discussed aid for Somalia on Thursday, 11 May in London. In addition to combating the impending famine, the country's long-term stabilisation was also on the agenda. Foreign Minister Gabriel represented Germany at the conference.

The urgent appeal of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was helpful, as Foreign Minister Gabriel said at the beginning of the conference, because 55 percent of the resources needed to fight famine in Somalia and the Horn of Africawere available. But 45 percent were still missing, according to Gabriel.

This was urgently needed to prevent the impending famine in the country.

At the beginning of the month, Foreign Minister Gabriel travelled to Mogadishu and Baidoa to get a picture of the current situation. The situation in the country is dramatic, Gabriel noted. People suffered from the consequences of war and civil war. The persistent drought also exacerbates the plight of many people.

Germany has already doubled its contribution to humanitarian aid to Somalia in 2017 to €140 million. Now it is down to the help of the international community. Germany hopes that others will follow their example, said Gabriel.

Stabilising and strengthening state structures

Under the auspices of the United Kingdom, the United Nations and the Somali Government, the international community has therefore discussed further support for Somalia yesterday. Participants of the conference, however, did not only discuss the relief of the acute humanitarian emergency, but also plans for the long-term stabilisation of the country.

The focus here is the improvement of national security, but also the strengthening of state structures and the economic development of the country. Somalia’s reconstruction is still hampered by terror and violence, but considerable progress has been made since the last Somalia conference in London five years ago.

On the fringe of the conference, Gabriel also met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and reaffirmed his support for the UN's work on Somalia.

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Foreign Minister Gabriel and UN Secretary General Guterres

Foreign Minister Gabriel and UN Secretary General Guterres

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