Trade unions lauds enactment of Environmental Management Bill in Somalia


Somalia’s apex labour body; the Federation of Somali Trade Unions [FESTU] has lauded parliament for enacting historical Environmental Management Bill, following a long legislative journey, that triggered consultations among stakeholders.

The passage of the Bill, the organization said, signifies a notable advancement towards the creation of a sustainable and equitable future for Somalia. Members of both the Lower House and the Upper House were adequately involved in the process.

This ground-breaking achievement, the body said, positions Somalia as a pioneering African nation, formally enshrining the principle of Just Transition into its legal framework. The critical provision empowers the Federal Government of Somalia, in collaboration with social partners and stakeholders, to formulate and adopt a comprehensive national policy for Just Transition, it added.

“The importance of the Just Transition principle cannot be overstated, particularly for workers and their families who often bear a disproportionate burden due to the impacts of climate change-induced environmental crises,” stated Omar Faruk Osman, General Secretary of FESTU.

“This principle serves as a safeguard, ensuring that amidst complex environmental and economic shifts, workers’ livelihoods, rights, and well-being remain protected. It signifies a balanced equilibrium that prevents the displacement or vulnerability of workers and marginalized groups during inevitable energy and economic transitions.”

The body further says integration of Just Transition principles into the Environmental Management Bill underscores Somalia’s proactive dedication to mitigating the adverse effects of climate change. This strategic alignment with international agreements, notably the Paris Agreement and consequential decisions such as the establishment of the Just Transition Working Programme [JTWP] during COP27 and also bridges the gap between environmental sustainability and the protection of fundamental rights.

The organization further commended the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change for their “visionary leadership in shaping an inclusive and progressive Bill”. Their commitment to crafting a robust legal framework that prioritizes environmental protection, defence of basic rights and the welfare of the working people on a sustainable basis is commendable, it said..

Furthermore, FESTU extended gratitude to the Parliamentary Committees responsible for environmental matters in both Houses of the Federal Parliament. Their unwavering support and recognition of the value of social dialogue have paved the way for an inclusive and forward-looking approach in the development of this significant Environmental Bill

In addition, FESTU lauded Stockholm-based Olof Palme International Centre and the International Labour Organization [ILO] for financial support. Both entities have provided invaluable assistance throughout this process with the backing of the International Trade Union Confederation [ITUC] and African Regional Organisation ITUC-Africa, the statement read.

The environment bill, FESTU notes, “resonates” deeply with the collective aspirations of organized labour for a future that prioritizes the well-being of Somali workers, vulnerable communities, and environmental preservation.

“This milestone underscores trade unions’ dedication to a Somalia characterized by sustainable progress, equitable growth, and environmental preservation, based on strategies aimed at urgently combating climate change and its ramifications through social dialogue,” emphasized Osman.

Somalia’s transition towards a cleaner and more sustainable economy will inherently yield job opportunities for many while potentially leading to job transformations, losses, and replacements for others. This, analysts argue, underscores the need for coherent policies to maximize opportunities and mitigate the social costs of the transition.