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Somaliland Environmental Laws



Somaliland Constitution:

Article 18: The Environment and the Relief of Disaster

1.  The state shall give a special priority to the protection and safeguarding of the environment, which is essential for the well being of the society, and to the care of the natural resources.  Therefore, the care of and (the combating of) the damage to the environment shall be determined by law.

2.  The state shall undertake relief in disasters such as famine, storms, epidemics, earthquakes, and war.

Somaliland Laws Dealing with the Environment:


A major environment law has been promulgated in the Republic of Somaliland with effect from 1 September 2018.  - Xeerka Maareynta Deeganka Lr. 79/2018 as gazetted in Somali. Copy of the Environmental Management Law No. 79/2018 together with the arrangements of the Law (Tusmada in Som-Eng) are also available here.

Other Environmental Laws:

  • National Environment Research and Disaster-preparedness (NERAD) Agency Law – Law No: 35 of 2006 (passed by both Houses in 2007) (in Somali)
  • Law on the Prevention of Deforestation & Desertification (Law N: 04/1998) (in Somali)
  • Ministerial Programme on marine reserves and conservation April 2004 (in Somali)
  • Wildlife & Forest conservation (see below)

Somaliland Wildlife and Forest Conservation Laws


The Somaliland Forestry and Wildlife Conservation Law – No. 69/2015 (As Gazetted 06/02/2016) has come into force on it signature by President on its publication in the Official Gazette on 02 February 2016. The Law is the first comprehensive law on this subject that has been passed in Somaliland since 1991 and replaces the dated 1969 Law in so far as the provisions  of the that Law are inconsistent with the new Law - an imprecise repealing wording which is commonly used in Somaliland legislation (as well as in most of the pre 1991 Somali Republic laws). (Summary notes on the Law to follow).


Previous Somaliland Forestry and Wildlife Laws:

Pre 1969 Laws: The  two main laws dealing with the Conservation of Fauna (Wildlife) and Flora (Plants) in Somaliland were:

The Fauna Conservation Ordinances - No. 18 of 1955. Government Notices issued under this Ordinance dealt with appointment of Conservation Officers and Game Rangers Close seasons, Controlled  Area Permits .

The Forests Ordinance – No. 7 of 1944, as amended by Ordinance No. 7 of 1956. A number of Rules and Orders made under this Ordinance were still current after independence in June 1960 and related to the Forest Areas of Hargeisa, Burao, Dalo, Gan Libah, Wagger, Al Medu and Holholka.

Geedkadebleh Reserve Area Orders & Rules 1960:

The Geedkadebleh Quarantine Game Reserve OrderGov’t Notice No 18 of 10th February 1960 setting aside a reserve of “approximately 40 square miles” was issued under the 1955 Fauna Conservation Odinance.

The Geedkadebleh Quarantine Forest Reserve OrderGov’t Notice No 19 of 10th February 1960 relating to the same reserve of “approximately 40 square miles” was issued under the 1944 Forests Ordinance.

The Forests (Geedkadebleh Quarantine Forest  Reserve) RulesGov’t Notice No 20 of 10th February 1960 dealt with the bans on grazing stock in the Reserve, erecting human dwelling or building or clearing land for farming or for any other purposes, and making or using any fires in the Reserve.


Post 1969 Laws: The main Law was Law on Fauna (Hunting) and Forest Conservation (Law No. 15 of 25/1/1969)  (in English)- This was the last pre-dictatorship law which dealt comprehensively with  conservation. Article 79 of this Law expressly repealed the 1955 Somaliland Fauna Conservation Ordinance and the 1944 Somaliland Forests Ordinance, but also added that “all licences, permits, permissions, certificates or other documents and all forest, grazing and game reserves declared and valid shall be deemed to have been declared and issued under the provisions of this law. As far as Somaliland is concerned, this Law confirmed in its Schedule 1 Geedkadebleh Game Reserve and Mandera Game Reserve; and in Schedule 2 a Borama”Controlled Area”.  Schedule 3 listed A) Prohibited Game and B) Protected Animals. The Amendments to the 1969 Law that I can trace are, as follows:

  • Trophies Decree No. 30 December 1969 (titled Protection of Wild Games)  – ordering the surrender of trophies  meant for export and ordering any dealers to abide by the provisions of the 1969 Law.
  • Fauna (Hunting) and Forest Conservation (Amendment) Law – No. 68 of 31 August 1970.
  • Fauna (Hunting) and Forest Conservation (Amendment) Law – No. 65 of 13 October 1971 – suspending Article 16 of the 1969 Law only.
  • Establishment of National Park Agency – Law No 34 of 1 March 1971Agency for national parks and reserved areas.
  • Fauna (Hunting) and Forest Conservation (Amendment) Law  and of the 1971 (Law No. 34 of 1 March 1971)  Law: Law No. 79 of 12 April 1975 – Change of title of Park Agency to “Wildlife and Game Reserves and Protection Agency” and changes to its functions & structure.
  • Fauna (Hunting) and Forest Conservation (Amendment) Law – No. 43 of 1 November 1978 – increases the offences and levels of fines in respect of the killing of  a number of listed wild animals listed in Articles 2 and 3 of this Law, or possession of their ivory, horns, hides etc.
  • Fauna (Hunting) and Forest Conservation (Amendment) Law – No. 32 of 1 August 1979  – Adds one article (numbered 3 to the 1978 amendment law) that makes aiding or covering up offences or purchasing illegally wild Fauna hides, horns etc.
  • Range Development & Management law – Law No 3 of 4 February 1979 – deals mainly with rangeland reserves but it also covers “absolute reserves” set aside for wildlife.  
  • The other law of  historical significance only  is the Assimilation of the Wildlife Protection Corps (Game Rangers) into the Police Law (Law No. 4 of 10 January 1980).

Somaliland’s International Commitments to date:

According to UNEPA, the Somali Republic has signed a number of important international conventions relating to natural resource use and management, including:

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES);
  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals;
  • Regional Convention for the Conservation of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden Environment;
  • Protocol concerning Regional Co-operation in Combating Pollution by Oil and other Harmful Substance in Cases of Emergency;
  • UN Convention on the Law of the Sea;
  • Protocol concerning Protected Areas and Wild Fauna and Flora in the Eastern Africa region;
  • Protocol concerning Co-operation on Combating Marine Pollution in cases of Emergency in the Eastern African region; and
  • Convention for the protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Eastern Africa Region (Nairobi Convention).

The Somali Republic has also signed but has so far  ratified the following international and regional agreements these:

  • Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and Under Water;
  • Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space including the Moon and other Celestial Bodies;
  • African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources;
  • Bamako Convention on the Ban of the Import into Africa and the Control of Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within Africa; and
  • Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community.

See: The State of the Environment in Somalia - A desk Study UNEP, Dec 2005: Large pdf File

This study recommends immediate action such as:

  • proper management of waste, including effective containment and/or clean-up of all remaining stocks of pesticides in the country;
  • institutional development and strengthening;
  • control of soil erosion;
  • fisheries management including taking measures against illegal fishing by foreign vessels;
  • improved and controlled charcoal production;
  • conducting field-based environmental assessments to inform future decision making; and
  • improving national disaster preparedness and response capacity.

It also Recommends interventions for medium-term action, such as:

  • reclaiming the protected area network;
  • protection of marine resources;
  • sustainable management of forest and woodland resources; and
  • development of an adequate policy and legal framework for environmental management.”



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