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Interview with the new UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, A. Abdelmoula

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced on 28 August 2019 the appointment of Adam Abdelmoula of Sudan (as well as a national of the United States) as his Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, where he will also serve as the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).  He will succeed George Conway of Canada who served as Acting Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator since April 2019 and to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his dedication and service in Somalia.

Currently Director of the United Nations Human Rights Council and Treaty Mechanisms Divisions at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Mr. Abdelmoula brings over thirty years of experience in development, rule of law, human rights, and security.  From 2013 to 2016, he served as Country Director of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq, and from 2010 to 2013 as Resident Coordinator in Kuwait and Syria.

In his earlier career, Mr. Abdelmoula served as the Chief of the Middle East and North Africa Section in OHCHR and held various assignments with the United Nations in Liberia, Iraq, and Somalia.

Mr. Abdelmoula holds an LL.B. in Common Law and Islamic Law from the University of Khartoum, an LL.M. in International Law from Harvard Law School, and a Ph.D. in Public International Law from Georgetown University.

The Somali Observatory for Humanitarian Action (SoOHA) is presenting its visitors the following interview which was conducted by the Somalia Humanitarian Bulletin issued by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Somalia.

Q. Since you arrived in Somalia in September 2019, what is your assessment of the humanitarian situation and the aid operation?

A. It is an undeniable fact that Somalia is making strides in building a peaceful, prosperous and resilient nation. Still, many challenges, climatic shocks continue to affect large parts of the population, particularly vulnerable groups, including internally displaced persons, many of whom become displaced several times due to man-made and natural disasters.

Q. What is your main priority this year?

A. Many families are still recovering from the 2016/17 drought and 2.6 million Somalis remain displaced. Recurring climatic shocks and ongoing conflict require comprehensive, sustainable solutions that build resilience in communities to ensure they are able to deal with crises. We must find ways to address these challenges in a manner that will break the cycle of humanitarian emergencies and enable people to bounce back from shocks.

Q. What do you think needs to be done to achieve this?

A. We as international partners must continue supporting recovery and resilience initiatives. The recent Somalia Partnership Forum held in October gave us an opportunity to agree on a number of tangible commitments between the Government and the international community through the Mutual Accountability Framework. Together, we can build on our successes and produce lasting results.

Q. How important is the humanitarian-development nexus to ending humanitarian needs and reducing poverty in Somalia?

A. The importance of the nexus cannot be overstated. It is a triple nexus – comprising humanitarian/development/peace elements, all of which are crucial in achieving sustainable progress. I applaud the Government’s efforts in prioritizing these components and we will continue to support Federal, State, and local authorities in these initiatives as we strengthen our partnership in this worthy endeavor.


Source: Somalia Humanitarian Bulletin, UNOCHA 

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