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UNFPA Somalia and Puntland authorities are strengthening their partnership in serving Somali people with reproductive health services and prevention of gender based violence in the face of the severe drought currently ravaging the country. 

Representative for UNFPA Somalia, Mr. Nikolai Botev, paid a courtesy call on the Vice President of Puntland State of Somalia, H.E. Eng. Abdihakim Haji Omar at State House on March 29, 2017, to provide an update on drought response and coordination, including the official launch of Puntland Drought Operations Coordination Centre (DOCC), which is being co-led by UNOCHA and UNFPA. The UNFPA Representative expressed concern on the suffering and destitution of Somali people being caused the drought.

“We are particularly concerned about the impact on pregnant women who are among the most vulnerable groups in drought and famine situations,” said Mr. Botev.

He pledged UNFPA’s commitment towards responding swiftly and effectively to get lifesaving medicines and supplies to the most affected, including those in displacement camps.

Mr. Botev also flagged the end of the project on strengthening medico-legal response to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), highlighting national leadership and ownership of the pilot phase of the project, which, he said, Puntland portrayed effectively.

“The pilot project materialised with the generous support of the Government of Sweden and we’re thankful to them,” said Mr. Botev.

With respect to the pilot project on strengthening medico-legal response to SGBV, H.E. Eng. Abdihakim Haji Omar noted that he had been following its progress with interest, given the centrality of a well-functioning forensic system for legal redress in Puntland. He emphasized the importance of a strong coordination arrangement among stakeholders expressed Puntland’s appreciation to UNFPA for the hard work, technical assistance and overall support that made the pilot project a reality.

The Vice President and UNFPA Representative formalized the transfer of title of forensic equipment and supplies during the meeting.

H.E. Eng. Abdihakim Haji Omar called for a faster and stronger response to the drought. The Vice President also welcomed the official launch of the DOCC in Puntland.

On March 30, Mr. Botev attended the official launch of the DOCC. He delivered a statement on behalf of the UN Humanitarian Coordinator.  The official launch was characterised by high and diverse level of representation including the Puntland Vice President, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Honourable Shire H. Farah, the Ambassador of Finland to Somalia Tarja Fernández and members of other UN agencies, representatives of civil society constituents and other humanitarian actors.

While in Puntland, Mr. Botev also met the Minister of Health, Honourable Abdinasir Isman Cuuke, State Minister of Health, Honourable Omar and other officials in the ministry to also discuss UNFPA Somalia drought response, coordination arrangements for setting in motion a well-functioning forensic system and the upcoming Somali Demographic and Health Survey.

The UNFPA Representative thanked the Ministry for its constructive role in the implementation of the pilot project and making a two storey building available to accommodate the forensic laboratory, which, he said, can potentially evolve into a full-fledged training and research center.

Another interaction happened with the Deputy Minister of Justice, Religious and Rehabilitation, Honourable Yusuf Botan Ise and Director General of the Ministry Mr. Mohamed Ali also on the future of medico-legal response to SGBV and forensic system governance, coordination and oversight and Sexual Offences Act Implementation Plan.

Mr. Mohamed Ali underlined the fruitful collaboration among the government, UNFPA and other stakeholders in taking forward the project.

Mr. Botev also met the Minister of Women Development and Family Affairs (MOWDAFA). Honorable Anisa Hajimumin who appreciated the support that UNFPA has been providing to Somali people. The UNFPA Representative appreciated the role of Honorable Hajimumin in promoting the Sexual Offences Act, which, he said is key to legal redress. Mr. Botev also commended the Minister for her efforts as a champion of women’s rights and as an advocate against SGBV.

During his visit to Puntland, the UNFPA Somalia representative also attended the closing ceremony of the consensus building workshop on forensic system governance, coordination and oversight in support of the programme on medico-legal response to gender-based violence. Representatives of the criminal justice system, the health sector and law enforcement agencies underlined the importance of coordinated actions for the forensic system to succeed and expressed their appreciation to UNFPA for the technical and coordination support.


Ridwaan Hassan ABDI


For more information please contact UNFPA Somalia Communications Specialist Pilirani Semu-Banda on e-mail:

– Abdisalam Bahwal



For more information please contact UNFPA Somalia Communications Specialist Pilirani Semu-Banda on e-mail:

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