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Mogadishu to host conference on illegal charcoal trade

High-level government officials, senior United Nations representatives, international and Somali environment experts, and international donor partners, will for the first time convene in Mogadishu for a milestone conference to stop the illegal trade, unsustainable production and use of charcoal in Somalia.The two-day conference to be held from 7-8th May, is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN FAO), with funding from the European Union, Sweden and Italy.

Export of charcoal from Somalia has been banned by a 2012 United Nations Security Council resolution and the Somali government due to its destructive effect on the environment, and its exacerbation of conflict and humanitarian crises.

As many as 8.2 million trees were cut down for charcoal in Somalia between 2011 and 2017, increasing land degradation and food insecurity.

Illegal trade in charcoal acts as major source of funding for militias and terrorist groups such as Al Shabaab, who illegally tax exports.

“The conference aims to urgently build alliances among consumer countries and international and local experts and donors,” the FAO said in a statement issued in Nairobi on Monday.

The conference further intends to rally support for concrete action, including partnerships with investors, to stop the illegal trade and to strengthen ongoing work in developing alternative livelihoods and alternative energy sources in Somalia.

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