Somaliland issued a new NGO law this month to curb NGO activities. It establishes a legal framework for local and international organizations operating inside their jurisdiction. It’s a decent attempt to limit the presence of international NGOs, transfer responsibility to local actors, and reduce local corruption, but at twenty-something pages, it’s a lengthy read and still a bit ambigous in some parts which could lead to larger-scale corruption and mismanagement if not clarified soon.
Among other things, the language leaves too much room for government corruption, arbitrary decision making, and misuse of funds. There is also concern that the law will severely impact effective delivery of aid, including increased operational transactional costs.
- Establishes a a registration process and a Consultative Committee to govern and supervise NGOs. Places heavy reporting requirements on NGOs with limited appeal process.
- Enforces government regulation of all aid delivery, including humanitarian aid. Failure to distinguish what type of aid the government intends on regulating could create complications for aid that should legally be delivered based on need.
- Government will intervene in disputes between NGOs.
- Government will monitor whether NGOs are abiding by their constitutions
- Project implementation will be redirected from international NGOs to local NGOs, apparently to build capacity and minimize the number of INGOs in the country. This could lead to a potential vacuum of aid delivery. The law doesn’t indicate how that transition would happen and a majority of the local NGOs don’t have the technical skills or capacity required for the projects.
For more about Somaliland’s new law, click here.