UN Joint Programme for Sustainable Charcoal Reduction and Alternative Livelihoods (PROSCAL)

Charcoal making and its export from Somalia have been in practice since pre-colonial times to meet local and regional energy requirements and provide livelihoods opportunities for Charcoal Value Chain Beneficiaries (CVCBs).

However, the unscrupulous plunder of forest and range resources for charcoal production has been witnessed during the last two decades. The breakdown of state institutions in 1991, protracted conflict, weakening of traditional systems of decision-making, vague tenures or resource ownership, illegal imports of huge quantities of Somali charcoal by neighboring countries of the region, absence of alternative sources of energy and limited livelihoods options for a large “warring & marginalized” population has led to unsustainable production, trade and use of charcoal. In recent years, charcoal became the most sought after commodity to fuel the war economy with militia groups generating revenue in excess of USD15 million per annum from illegal exports.

As such, a multitude of complex issues surround the production of charcoal in Somalia leading to triple threats – in the forms of irreversible environmental degradation, perpetual conflicts and dependence on short-term income from an unsustainable livelihood option. Realization of these multifaceted issues resulted in imposition of a ban on the import of Charcoal from Somalia by the UN Security Council in February 2012.