What's In Blue

Posted Thu 7 Sep 2023

Somalia: Vote on Draft Resolution*

This afternoon (7 September) the Security Council is expected to vote on a draft resolution authorising a one-off exemption to the ban on the import and export of charcoal from Somalia, in order to allow the Somali government to dispose completely of charcoal stockpiles in and around the city of Kismayo by export. The draft text was authored by the UK, the penholder on Somalia.


In a 4 January 2012 letter, the Somali government requested the Council to consider imposing an international prohibition on the importation of charcoal from Somalia. The letter stated that “charcoal production not only destroys the environment and contributes to food insecurity, but also funds the deadly campaign being carried out by Al-Shabaab”. The Security Council subsequently imposed a ban on importing charcoal from Somalia through resolution 2036 of 4 January 2012. The resolution expressed concern that charcoal exports from Somalia are a significant revenue source for Al-Shabaab and exacerbate the humanitarian crisis in the country. It decided that Somali authorities shall take the necessary measures to prevent the export of charcoal from Somalia, and that all member states shall take necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect import of charcoal from Somalia, whether or not such charcoal originated in Somalia. The resolution further decided that the Security Council committee established pursuant to resolution 751 of 24 April 1992 and resolution 1907 of 23 December 2009 concerning Somalia and Eritrea may designate individuals and entities engaged in such commerce as subject to the targeted measures established by resolution 1844 of 20 November 2008.

In resolution 2182 of 24 October 2014, which reauthorised the mandate of the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for one year, the Council introduced several sanctions-related measures, including authorisation for naval deployments to interdict charcoal exports and arms imports violating the 751/1907 Somalia-Eritrea sanctions regime.

The Panel of Experts on Somalia pointed out in its final report in October 2022 that despite measures being implemented by member states in regard to charcoal destination markets and the ongoing monitoring of the charcoal trade at sea by international actors, gaps remain in Somalia’s ability to restrict large-scale exports of charcoal. Following its 5-7 September 2022 visit to Kismayo, the panel reported that the stockpiles of charcoal in five areas in and around Kismayo amount to a total of 12,900 metric tonnes, valued at roughly $12 million in international markets. The panel recommended that the Security Council include in its upcoming resolution on the Somalia sanctions regime a one-time partial lifting of the charcoal ban to allow the clean-up of stockpiles identified by the panel, conditioned by procedural requirements, including a request of approval and notification to the sanctions committee.

Resolution 2662 of 17 November 2022, which last renewed the 751 Al-Shabaab sanctions regime until 15 November, noted the need to reduce the size of charcoal stockpiles in and around Kismayo. It further urged the Somali government to monitor and control existing charcoal stockpiles at export points and requested the government to consider to develop a proposal—with support from the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)—for the one-off and complete disposal of the charcoal stockpiles and to submit it to the 751 Al-Shabaab Sanctions Committee for consideration .

In a 14 August letter (OP/NSA/1121/023), the Somali government proposed a plan stipulating that the disposal of the charcoal stockpiles will take place between September and December in cooperation with the Jubaland state government, through a Kismayo-based company named Waamo Trading and Logistics Company. The letter stated that the Somali government, Jubaland state government, and the Panel of Experts on Somalia will jointly monitor the shipment and allocation of the proceeds from the sale of charcoal, along with implementation and compliance with relevant Security Council resolutions. The letter provides detailed information about the proposed division of proceeds from the sale of charcoal, including towards covering the cost of the charcoal’s disposal, as well as funding for reforestation programs, Kismayo’s recovery program, livestock management initiatives, and construction of water wells.

Draft Resolution

The draft resolution in blue is a short one-page text which takes note of the proposal for the complete disposal of the charcoal stockpile by export presented to the 751 Al-Shabaab Sanctions Committee by the Somali government in its 14 August letter. The draft text authorises the Somali government to implement its proposal as a one-off exemption to the ban on the import and export of charcoal from Somalia set out in resolution 2036 and resolution 2182. It further directs the 751 Al-Shabaab Sanctions Committee to follow up on the implementation of the Somali government’s proposal.

It seems that the negotiations on the draft resolution were smooth. After the Somali government submitted its 14 August letter, Russia apparently requested a Council resolution authorising the government to operationalise its proposal. It seems that there was no major disagreement among Council members on this approach. The UK therefore circulated a straightforward one-page zero draft on 1 September and requested members to submit comments on the text until yesterday (6 September). In introducing the draft resolution, the penholder apparently argued that the Somali government’s 14 August proposal would allow the government to generate revenue and remove the risks associated with the stockpile, including smuggling and environmental damage.

After Council members submitted comments, the penholder circulated a revised draft yesterday (6 September). There was no disagreement over the draft resolution’s substantive provisions, although some members proposed minor adjustments. The draft text was placed under silence procedure until 5 pm on the same day. The silence procedure was extended until 10 am today (7 September) at the request of Russia. The draft passed silence and was put in blue earlier today, to be voted on this afternoon.


*Post-script: On 7 September, the Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2696, authorising a one-off exemption to the ban on the import and export of charcoal from Somalia, set out in resolution 2036 of 4 January 2012 and resolution 2182 of 24 October 2014.

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