A Shift in Focus: Putting the interests of Somali people first

More than six months after the UN declared a famine, Somalia is still in the throes of its worst humanitarian crisis in decades, with 31 per cent of the population estimated to be in crisis.

Responsibility for this situation lies first and foremost in Somalia, where warring factions are accused of impeding and diverting aid flows, but the international community has also been at fault. Policies focused more on international security concerns than on the needs, interests and wishes of the Somali people have inadvertently fueled both the conflict and the humanitarian crisis.

In February 2012, key governments and institutions from the region and the wider Islamic and Western world will meet in London to chart a way forward. They must seize this opportunity to refocus on the Somali people that past policies have failed, developing more coherent strategies to ensure that aid and protection reach those who need it and addressing the root causes of the protracted conflict and chronic vulnerability in the country.

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