On January 18-21 the government of United Arab Emirates hosted the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week under the leadership of Masdar organization which has brought the following themes under one roof: World Future Energy Summit, International Water Summit, Eco Waste Exhibition and Solar Expo.
What have attracted me to the exhibition was to find out the latest technology and know-how of the water sector in the arid lands. To my surprise, during the opening ceremony, Sheikh Secondary School (SOS) of Somaliland has won the Africa secondary school category of the Zayed Al Nahyan energy price for creativity and researching new solar technology for the energy sector. Sheikh Secondary school is an elite school which graduated many of the Somaliland politicians and professionals. Abaarso Secondary school was nominated three years in a row, but Sheikh has shown due diligence in the competition to gain the prize which includes some monetary reward.
4th International Water Summit (IWS) is one of the leading regional exhibitions where companies show case their products and develop solutions for water sustainability in arid regions. The third week of January 2016, IWS has brought together government leaders, policy makers, academics, entrepreneurs, and technological companies to rise the challenges faced by water scare countries including Somaliland.
Water is scarce resource in Somaliland especially in the urban & pre-urban areas. The rainy seasons are Gu (April-June) and Deyr (September-October). Somaliland is a drought prone country. The average precipitation is 300mm. Recently, due to global climate change the country is experiencing below normal rain fall and recurrent droughts are normal.
In general, Somalia has missed the target opportunity of meeting the Millennium Development Goals of 2015 for water and sanitation, including Somaliland according to the latest KAP survey commissioned by UNICEF. UNICEF and WHO report of 2012 has indicated only 29% of Somalia’s population has access to improved source of water and 23% has access to sanitation facilities.
Therefore; events like the 4th IWS may bring the solutions to this kinds of challenges. Personally, It was an eye opening for me and the government of Somaliland may participate this kind of forums to find solution for the water scarcity.
We hope Somaliland government & together with the private sector can meet and exceed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the future so that the population of Somaliland may be part of the global community in terms of sustainable development.