MOGADISHU, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- Somalia has called for joint efforts by the international relief agencies to strengthen disaster response in Somalia.
Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management Maryam Qasim on Thursday called on foreign relief agencies to team up with local organizations to deliver assistance to the intended recipients.
"We need to work with local responders and ensure they are prepared to manage huge funding and that systems are in place to ensure that aid reaches its intended recipients," Qasim told a conference in Mogadishu.
She said the federal government was working to institutionalize national disaster management to promote effective disaster preparedness.
According to a statement from the UN mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the minister also called for greater involvement of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector in the funding and assistance to vulnerable groups in order to foster a culture of resilience and safety in communities
"We need to promote the growing role of local responders and the private sector. We need to see more local investment going through the local responders," the minister said.
The conference brought together local and international organizations engaged in delivering humanitarian aid to drought victims.
The Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia and UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Peter de Clercq, lauded Somali NGOs for their crucial role in averting famine thus far this year.
"We can again look at some of the positive aspects that are coming out of the drought in terms of empowering local actors and I want, in this respect, to mention the Somalia Humanitarian Fund that we have used where we continue to prioritize national NGOs," Clercq said.
He noted that of the 45 million U.S. dollars that was allocated under the humanitarian fund, 38 percent was channeled to national NGOs.
The meeting was a follow up to a similar conference held in May in Nairobi that examined the role of local humanitarian organizations in the overall drought response effort.
The head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Somalia, Justin Brady, praised local actors for their role in preventing the current drought afflicting the country from causing a famine.
"In order to prevent famine, it required a shift into more rural areas, and that by definition necessitated reliance on more Somali national actors. I think some of what we did in the area between 2011 and 2012 and the beginning of this crisis paid off," noted Brady.