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Somali aid envoy meets Canadian officials, community groups in Ottawa

Thursday September 29, 2022

Ottawa (HOL) - Somalia's special drought envoy Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame was in Canada's capital this week, meeting with the Somali diaspora community and high-level Canadian government officials to secure additional funding for the impending famine.

Warsame met with Canada's Minister for International Development Harjit Sajjan on Tuesday to lobby officials toward directing more resources to Somalia.

Canada contributed $84.45 million to the region in 2022. Its most significant contribution came in April when Global Affairs Canada announced $73 million in funding to respond to the drought in the Horn of Africa.

Abdishakur said that Canadian officials did not commit to funding, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau citing global food security as a chief priority at the UN.

Abdishakur also hopes Canada will fund projects to help Somalia cope with future droughts.

He said Canada expressed that it is willing to support Somalia.

"He (Sajjan) showed me some commitment and a willingness to support the drought situation, but he didn't specifically promise or pledge funding," Abdishakur said.

At a community event in Ottawa's east end on Wednesday, Abdishakur met members of the Somalia diaspora.

Abdishakur briefed the attendee's on the current crisis facing Somalia and urged Somalis in Canada to step up and do more for the relief efforts.

He also met with local community leaders to discuss a fundraising campaign expected to be launched.

The head of the UN's World Food Program, David Beasley, urged Canada and international leaders to continue supporting Somalia, warning that food insecurity could worsen due to Russian sanctions.

"Right now in our operations, we're having to take food from hungry children to give to starving children because of a lack of funding," he said during a Tuesday visit to Ottawa.

Beasley, also in Ottawa this week, met with Harjit Sajjan to convince Canadian officials to increase their 2022 pledge of US$360 million.



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