Saturday, Oct 21, 2017

01-08-2017, Nairobi (Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) signed tripartite grant agreements of US$ 34.8 million and US$ 43.8 million with the African Development Bank (AfDB), Federal Republic of Somalia and the Republic of South Sudan respectively) under the Bank’s ‘Say No To Famine – Short Term Regional Emergency Response Project – STRERP’. IGAD will oversee the implementation of the project through an agency to be recruited in each of the countries.

IGAD will manage funds for the governments to put in place structures, systems and facilities that will enable them respond drought and mitigate.

The STRERP was approved by the Boards of Directors of the African Development Bank on 21 July 2017 and falls within the context of the Bank’s “Say No To Famine” framework. Under this framework, the Bank plans to invest about US$ 1.1 billion as a coordinated response to its Regional Members Countries that have been severely affected by prolonged drought periods and unstable food production.

Targeting 804,000 individuals in Somalia and 300,000 individuals in South Sudan, STRERP’s direct food, water, fodder and medical assistance will provide relief to meet the immediate hunger and malnutrition needs faced by communities affected by drought, conflicts and famine. It will also provide food for more able-bodied members of beneficiary households to enable them engage in restoration and creation of community assets that will assist the targeted communities in enhancing livelihoods and build resilience against future shocks.

The Grants are geared towards providing emergency food assistance and medical aid to the most vulnerable populations in Somalia and South Sudan. In addition, the project includes activities to put in place the preliminary building blocks to strengthen links between the production, distribution and consumption hubs of the food systems in the affected regions.

This will help facilitate an increased system-wide efficiency and longer-term resilience, which is generally aligned with the Bank’s High-5 priorities, and particularly the Feed Africa Strategy. The project is also aligned with the Bank’s Strategy for Addressing Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa (2014-2019) through its focus on strengthening relevant government institutions’ capacity to effectively plan, coordinate and implement disaster risk management and humanitarian responses.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, IGAD Executive Secretary, His Excellency Amb, Mahboub Maalim said “It is great to see AfDB provide support to deal with this humanitarian emergency currently being experienced in the two countries; Somalia and South Sudan. IGAD is thrilled to be associated with this project and we look forward to its implementation,”

Also in his behalf Mr. Gabriel Negatu, AfDB Director General, Eastern Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office said, “We are delighted that through STRERP, we will provide immediate action to increase food security, boost household incomes, promote regional trade in food products and kick start community recovery, ultimately contributing to inclusive growth and resilience in Somalia and South Sudan.”

The project will strengthen the capacity of relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management in Somalia and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in South Sudan.

Maryan Qasim, Somalia’s Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, who signed on behalf of the Federal Government of Somalia, said; “In the name of the Federal Government of Somalia, I would like to extend my gratitude to AfDB for their generosity and for the continued support to the drought response through this substantial grant.

The establishment of the Ministry of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Management is a milestone for Somalia, particularly now when we are faced with an extreme humanitarian situation. Through this ministry, we are working to address structural issues so that we can prevent being in crisis mode every few years. We are working to ensure that the humanitarian investment goes beyond alleviating short term suffering and concentrate on enabling people living in arid lands to build viable and food secure futures.”

Signing on behalf of the Government of South Sudan, the Minister of Finance and Planning, Stephen Dhieu Dau Ayik, said, “My government is proud and grateful for this grant which we will implement immediately to help save many lives threatened by the humanitarian crisis. We also look forward to continue to strengthen our partnership with the Bank as this will be very beneficial to our people and the economy at large.”

In addition to meeting the daily nutritional needs of vulnerable members of the population, STRERP will facilitate emergency response activities. This will be accomplished through meeting communities’ nutritional needs and creating opportunities for affected communities to re-engage in agricultural production. Integral to this will be stimulating the local private sector and reducing drought and hardship-induced cross-border migration in search of scarce food, water and pasture.

 

26-07-2017, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in partnership with the World Bank this morning opened a two-day workshop aimed at considering The role of Groundwater in Drought Resilience in the IGAD Region under the chairmanship of the Director of Boundary and Transboundary Rivers Affairs Directorate of Ethiopia, Mr. Teshome Atnafi, the Programme Manager of Natural Resources and Renewable Energy, Mr Daher Elmi, and Senior Water Resources Management Specialist-World Bank Washington, Mr. Marcus Wijnen.

The objective of the workshop is to inform Member States’ ministries in charge of water resources management of the World Bank Regional Groundwater Initiative (RGI) developed under the Regional Initiative in Support of the Horn of Africa (2014), and in view of adjusting the RGI initial steps in coordination with the most relevant experts in the IGAD region. Also, the participants are to debate on the potential solutions and ways forward to improve the status of both the groundwater knowledge base and the capacity to manage the resources in a way that optimizes the benefits of the resource in building resilience.

Mr. Fred Mwango, Regional Water Expert-IGAD, noted that Groundwater resources management has not attracted lots of resources in proportion to the importance of its utilization in a region largely arid and semi arid in size. That is why he thanked the World Bank for showing interest in supporting IGAD, “a region that is repeatedly visited by drought”. “We are glad of the high turn-out of officials from IGAD Member States which shows a strong commitment in a collaborative work, and the very significant presence of water Experts from inside and outside the region”, he said.

“The World Bank suggests an approach that combines different funding sources to advance components of a regional groundwater agenda in the IGAD region that would strengthen ongoing efforts in the region in the field of drought resilience and water resources management by regional and global partners”, were the words by Mr. Marcus Wijnen for the World Bank.

Mr. Teshome, as Chief Guest of Honour and Chair for the opening session, welcomed the audience and declared the workshop officially open. He highlighted the importance of cooperation in regional matters.

The objective of the World Bank Regional Groundwater Initiative (RGI) is to assess the potential of the regional groundwater resources, considering their variability in space and time, to strengthen drought resilience and contribute to poverty reduction.

The IGAD region covers 12 rivers basins, either entirely or in part. The proposed RGI project will focus on the whole IGAD Region.
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14-07-2017, Addis Ababa (Ethiopia): Ministers in charge of biodiversity, environment and natural resources drawn from Member States of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) this morning adopted the IGAD Regional Biodiversity Protocol in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during a session that was chaired by the Minister of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change of Ethiopia, H.E. Dr. Gemedo Dalle.


The Minister of Environment of Djibouti-H.E Mr. Moussa Mohamed Ahmed, the Minister of Environment and Water of Uganda-H.E Cheptoris Sam Mangusho, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Range of Somalia-H.E Mr. Abdikarim Khalif Abdidhalac, the Under Secretary of Environment and Forestry of South Sudan-H.E Mr. Joseph Africano Bartel, Mrs Elkhitma Elawad Mohammed of the Higher Council for Environment and Natural Resources of Sudan, and Dr. Kennedy Ondimu of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources were in attendance while IGAD Executive Secretary, H.E Amb (Eng) Mahboub Maalim, and Mr. Jose Puig Vara of the European Delegation to Djibouti and IGAD were officiating from the high table.


The IGAD Regional Biodiversity Protocol was adopted alongside related strategies for the control and management of invasive species, conservation of transboundary wildlife and sharing of biodiversity benefits, as well as domestication of regional, continental and global instruments.


During his opening remarks, H.E Dr. Gemedo, noted the very high level commitment by Member States to the “conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity” that is “fundamental to sustainable development”. While noting that the endorsement of the regional protocol was “not enough to protect diversity resources in the region”, he highlighted that it was “rather the level of commitment to properly implement the Protocol that would contribute to the sustainable management of the biodiversity resources”.


Amb (Eng) Maalim made the link between drought/desertification and environment degradation: “the more the environment is degraded, the more the frequency of drought and the acceleration of desertification increases”; thus, the need to “focus on enhancing ecosystem resilience” and to have instruments, such as the Protocol, towards these goals.
Mr Puig Vara also had opening remarks to highlight the commitment by the European Union to the IGAD ecosystem resilience agenda.


Leading to the adoption of the Protocol and related strategies, the Biodiversity Management Programme that IGAD implements with the support of the European Union, organized a series of meetings to validate the documents.
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