The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), has adopted an action plan that will see the Mission integrate environmental issues in its operations in Somalia. The action plan was adopted at the end of a one-day workshop organised by ATMIS and the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) in Mogadishu and attended by environment focal points from the military and police components.
The document sets out a raft of measures ATMIS personnel will apply in their day-to-day activities to contribute to environmental protection, especially when utilising precious resources such as water, food, and energy. Speaking at the workshop, the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Mohamed El-Amine Souef, said the action plan will strictly be applied when handing over Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) to the Federal Government of Somalia to minimise environmental damage ahead of the expiry of the ATMIS mandate in 2024.
“We therefore need to increase our efforts to integrate climate change considerations into our ongoing operations while we recognise the different vulnerabilities and capacities of women, men, girls and boys in the communities where we are deployed,” noted Ambassador Souef.
The decision, he said, will fulfil the commitment made by ATMIS and UNSOS during the 23rd session of the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency held in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of the year. The Director of UNSOS, Amadu Kamara who also attended the workshop urged ATMIS personnel to adopt sustainable practices that promote environmental conservation by reducing energy consumption and ensuring proper waste disposal.
“Protecting the environment is a critical task that requires everyone’s effort. As ATMIS personnel, you have a unique role to play in this effort by recognising the importance of the environment.,” Kamara noted. “By adopting sustainable practices and leveraging your resources, you can help protect the environment and safeguard our planet for future generations,” he added.
UNSOS, which provides logistical support to ATMIS, is implementing environmental protection measures such as installing incinerators, constructing portable toilets, and establishing tree nurseries at ATMIS FOBs. ATMIS Deputy Force Commander in charge of Support and Logistics, Maj. Gen. Peter Kimani Muteti, who spoke at the close of the workshop, noted that through environmental protection, ATMIS personnel will help avert climate-change-related conflicts in Somalia.
“We want to leave Somalia peaceful and stable; not with other conflicts resulting from poor environmental management,” said Maj. Gen. Muteti.