Saturday, Jan 22, 2022

The maritime domain and marine environments form a major component of the IGAD region and they represent a significant economic and social driver. More than 60% of the external borders of the region are coastal/waterside related, and a huge proportion of the population directly depends on the marine domain to make a living.

In fact, a considerable portion of the IGAD region internal and external trade is transported by sea. Besides that, the Seas and Oceans bordering the shores of the IGAD Member States are one of the most strategic maritime zones of the world. The Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden (GoA) and the Western rim of the Indian Ocean are crossed by the most important maritime corridors for seaborne trade transiting through the Suez Canal. The Gulf of Aden hosts a critical global maritime route which encompasses the Suez Canal on one hand, and the Bab El Mandeb which is a global shipping natural “choke point” on the other.

The IGAD Security Sector Programme (IGAD SSP) Maritime Security Pillar was set up in May 2013 and is currently based in Addis-Ababa with the mandate to assess the regional maritime domain, conduct diagnostic actions and baseline studies of the profile of each Member state’s regional maritime priorities, concerns and requirements.

The Maritime Pillar of IGAD SSP works to enhance the capacity of IGAD States to deal regionally with common maritime security challenges and threats. The mission of IGAD SSP Maritime Pillar is to enhance the visibility of the regional maritime domain and spearhead the implementation of the 2015-2030 IGAD Integrated Maritime Strategy (2015-2030 IGAD IMS) validated in December 2015 in Djibouti.

The IGAD Integrated Maritime Strategy is devoted to address holistically the priorities of the regional maritime domain and goes far beyond a single focus on piracy. Rather, it addresses other maritime related challenges, as well as opportunities for our region. It is a cross-sectorial framework formulated in order to anchor a sustainable regional maritime domain as well as adhere to the overall objectives of the blue economy in light of our regional and continental perspectives.

The IGAD Integrated Maritime Strategy covers the following priority areas:

  • maritime governance;
  • maritime domain critical routes and infrastructures;
  • sustainable development and protection of the marine environment;
  • maritime economy; and
  • maritime research and mapping.

The 2015-2030 IGAD Integrated Maritime Strategy incorporates aspirations set out by the African Union 2009 Maritime Transport Charter and the Africa Integrated Maritime Strategy 2050, and comprises a cohesive and coherent framework that will help achieve the objectives of IGAD to strengthen the region’s marine and maritime sector and increase its economic vitality.

The IGAD Integrated Maritime Strategy vision statement is to achieve: “a healthy and vibrant marine and maritime sector for the IGAD region, free from threat and criminal activity, providing real employment and viable economic prospects for local communities.”

It is to be recalled that the African Union Commission (AUC) has designated 2015-2025 as the decade of the African Seas and Oceans, and hence IGAD as a Regional Economic Community (REC) has since been working towards aligning itself along those lines

All international cooperating partners’ financial resources and technical assistance are welcomed in the effective implementation of IGAD Regional Maritime Security Programme.

Daoud A. Alwan
Head of Counter Terrorism/ Maritime Security
September 3, 2021



Prospects for Future Development and Intermediate Challenges to the IGAD Region

IGAD has a Maritime Safety & Security Strategy (IMSS 2015-2030) which was validated on December 15, 2015. The strategy remains the guiding instrument for developing IGAD Member States’ own capacity for maritime safety and security and addressing programming interventions for a comprehensive maritime economic development activities in the region.

Maritime security is not a new thing in the list of international security buzzwords. Maritime Security refers to threats such as maritime inter-state disputes, maritime terrorism, piracy, maritime crimes i.e., narco-trafficking, illegal fishing , arms trafficking using the maritime domain, environmental crimes at sea. - In short our seas should be peaceful and pacified to a level that all insecurities aforementioned defining maritime security do not exist anymore, and member states are able to govern the littoral spaces.

If we elaborate on one specific aspect of the Blue Economy in relation to maritime security, the effect of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing by foreign vessels is known to be impacting on overall sustainable and profitable fisheries for coastal communities across in Somalia and Kenya. Other maritime crimes such as toxic waste dumping have also been reported in the past. Both constitute threats to maritime security, as well as to peace and security on overall. The sustainable exploitation of the maritime domain could be economically beneficial to IGAD’s littorals, so much so that an IGAD Blue Economy Desk was launched at a right time – the Desk would be promoting multi-sectoral maritime economic development, under a new concept known as “Blue Growth” which is also in line with the 2030 Agenda and the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

With such goals, it would be futile to discuss sustainable blue economy, without having a grip on maritime security in the maritime domain since there is a nexus between maritime security and blue economy.

It is also critical to have maritime security regulatory regimes as requirements to govern all facets of maritime domain activities and operations, more so when maritime resources exploitation or blue economy and its development is now more than ever being contemplated in the IGAD region.

In this connection, IGAD region is taking a proactive role especially, when the region is bestriding an important Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOCs) specifically, Western Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and Red Sea.

Enhanced inter-state cooperation between Member States is a priority if a secure maritime domain devoid of transnational crimes such as piracy, illicit human and arms trafficking, terrorism threats and environmental crimes, including aggressive resource exploitation, are to be averted.

The blue economy development and resource exploitation will only take place when most if not all insecurities besetting the maritime domain at the moment are dealt with broadly. Therefore, important in the way forward would be the application of security and governance in the blue economy interventions and projections of state action at sea…

IGAD region is a very important region. Five of its Member States are maritime littoral states, and straddles a strategic waterway for global trade and commerce. It is important to note that critically strategic goods, including oil and gas pass through the narrow straits of Bab-el-Mandeb. Moreover, IGAD Member States have continued to observe various international instruments, including United Nations Conventions on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) and other maritime related global conventions as well as regional treaties/memoranda like the Code of Conduct Concerning the Repression of Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden also known as the Djibouti Code of Conduct.

IGAD is the lead organisation in the service of the overall coordination of the Programme to Promote Maritime Security in the ESA-IO region also known as MASE, through coordination of all regional organisations undertaking programme interventions i.e. the East African Community (EAC), the Common Market for Eastern Southern Africa (COMESA), and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). The MASE also involves United Nations partners, i.e. FAO, UNODC and INTERPOL.

Being a cross-regional programme relying on strong coordination as well as seamless implementation of various programmatic strands allowing for individual RECs and respective partners to implement under an agreed results-based framework.

The advent of COVID 19 caught the IGAD region like the rest of the world, depressing economies, leaving high mortalities. The pandemic has overwhelmed healthcare systems in most Member States in the region and seem to be the main preoccupation. Joint efforts in mitigating regional maritime crimes should not take a backseat at this point in time. The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on areas prone to insecurities could to lead to an increase in illicit maritime trading and related insecurities.

Ahmed Yusuf Hersi
Senior Advisor – IGAD Peace and Security Division
September 3, 2021



August 26, 2021 (MEDANI, Sudan): The Mediation Support Unit of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) held a Capacity Building workshop on Conflict Sensitivity on August 24-26 in Medani.

The participants made up of 20 Peace Building actors from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ministry of Interior, Representative from CSOs in different States, Faith-Based Organisations, Media Outlets, Private Sector, Academia/Research Think-Tanks, women and Youth Groups, Women in Peace building, Traditional Leaders/Elders, Representatives from different States were trained on Conflict-Sensitive Approaches/Practice towards peace building.

The programme was designed on the principle of giving the basic theoretical framework for security, conflict sensitivity, peace building and the role of IGAD MSU in peace building in Sudan; which role is aiming at reducing risks of relapse into conflict and creating awareness on suitable mechanisms for conducting peace building efforts in conflict settings.

The three-day Workshop was officially opened by the Head of Mission to South Sudan, Dr. Aleu Garang. In his opening remarks, he welcomed the participants on behalf of H.E the Executive Secretary, and his own behalf. He went on to state that “conflict could have devastating effects on the people, the economy and the government. IGAD Region is known to be one of the most complex and conflicted regions with a series of civil wars. Our overall objective is to take a moment and reflect on the peace building approaches, as we aim to expose you to further areas of best practices and approaches that will contribute to the reduction of the risk of violent conflict. After reducing these violent conflicts that institutions, we will work, as we are working now towards strengthening of institutional capacities as we look forward to seeing institutions that are viable, service oriented and free from conflicts.” Wishing them a fruitful workshop, the workshop officially commenced.

On the first day, the participants were introduced to peace and security strategies and framework, conceptualizing of conflict and peace process, and the role of the government in peace building.

On the second day, they received an overview of peace building in Sudan; context of conflict, achievements, challenges and recommendations on Political arrangements and security arrangements; social security; transitional justice; mass media; the capacity of national institutions to peace building; transition to democracy; and the role of youth, women and NGO’s.

On the final day, the participants made a summary of achievements, challenges and needs of peace building in Sudan, giving recommendations and way forward as outcomes of the workshop.



The IGAD region is a source, transit and final destination of a wide range of common transnational security threats. The region faces or contends with a variety of serious and complex common Emerging, Evolving and Existing Transnational Security Threats (EEE-TSTs), including terrorism, extreme violent radicalization, organized crime, piracy, cybercrime, and trafficking in drugs, humans and weapons -- to name but a few. The security architecture of the region has evolved significantly over the past decade, but the nature and variety of transnational security threats has been evolving even further and faster.

IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) is a comprehensive regional program of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) established and restructured in the year 2011 from its previous focused program of the IGAD Capacity Building Program Against Terrorism (ICPAT) launched in 2006. IGAD SSP has the mandate of preventing and countering the Transnational Security Threats (TSTs) including terrorism, transnational organized crime (TOC) and maritime insecurity as well as providing capacity building for the security sector institutions of Member States. The objectives of IGAD SSP are to contribute to the effective prediction, prevention and management of the EEE-TSTs as well as to the enhancement of member states’ capacity to address security threats contributing to security and stability of Member States and the region thus, engendering sustainable economic development. IGAD-SSP has the following three tier complimentary approach to address EEE-TSTs:

  1. Strengthen regional cooperation and coordination;
  2. Enhance member states’ and IGAD’s institutional and human capacities; and
  3. Promote and support the signing, ratification and domestication of relevant regional and international legal instruments.

TSTs have caused social, economic and political menaces in our globalizing world with the increasing trends of movement of people and goods across borders. TSTs have evolved through time in line with socio-economic, political and economic changes. The overall level of awareness about the consequences of the existing TSTs to IGAD member states and their citizens remains relatively low across all member countries. There cannot be effective mechanisms to prevent and control crimes and the threats they pose without appropriate, accurate and timely information and knowledge about the characteristics and features of the criminal activities and their networks. It is through knowledge about the nature, typologies and the behaviours of the criminal networks that we can enhance our capacity building efforts to prevent and counter TSTs through knowledge-based decision making at policy and operational levels - a proactive crime prevention and management approach.

The general conclusion is that attempts at countering insecurity will entail putting into operation a grand strategy and mechanism revolving around the State, regional and community-based engagements. To this end IGAD SSP has been carrying out various activities to support the efforts of the Member States in preventing and countering such threats. It has been engaging all relevant stakeholders from both State and Non-State Actors like the law enforcement agencies, various ministries, policy makers including parliamentarians, CSOs, and the media on various interventions aimed at contributing to the national and regional efforts. These interventions are through:

  • the provisions of theme focused trainings to enhance the capacity, skills, and knowledge of practitioners in dealing with various forms of criminal matters, and
  • conducting and sharing the findings and recommendations of various in-depth national and regional assessments or researches on the vulnerability of the threats by Member States, capability of the relevant institutions, mechanisms of dealing with the threats, and other identified areas on need-based approach

The results of these interventions have made significant contributions in enhancing the capacity of Member States as well as creating various networks among the institutions for strong cooperation and coordination including sharing of criminal information. In addition, legal instruments such as the IGAD Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition Conventions and other pertinent regional, continental and international instruments have been supported that resulted in the adoption, domestication and developing of the national legal instrument within the States providing effective legal frameworks in dealing with the various forms of the transnational security threats.

IGAD SSP continues to engage and support the Member States at all levels within regional mechanism to prevent the security threats. As stated above, ccountering the EEE-TSTs requires a common regional framework and effective security cooperation and coordination between states that facilitate criminal information and intelligence sharing; mutual legal assistance and extradition; joint operations capable of investigating, prosecuting and convicting complex transnational cases. To this end, IGAD SSP has been working, through the full consensus by all Member State, towards having an institutionalized regional cooperation and coordination platform for effecting prevention and countering of such threats. Having these regional platform and coordination mechanism is believed to contribute to the overall peace and security of the region and beyond.



Nejat Abdulrahman Issa
Counter Terrorism Capacity Building Program Officer
August 27, 2021



The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is one of the foremost regional economic communities (RECs) championing for peace, stability and sustainable development in Africa. IGAD has used all available platforms to build peace, prevent and resolve conflicts and support its member states in reconciliation processes, post-conflict reconstruction, good governance, and transition towards democracy.

A very large portion of the population is the IGAD region is youth under the age of 25.

Education in general and skills development in particular are seen as important interventions in fostering durable peace, gainful employment and socioeconomic transformation in the region.

This is one of the reason why IGAD adopted a regional education policy framework that aspires to promote quality, relevant, affordable, accessible and inclusive education in the region. This policy framework emanated from the Djibouti Declaration on Education for Refugees, Returnees and Host Communities adopted by IGAD ministers in charge of education in line with the commitments made by the IGAD Heads of State and Government under the Nairobi Declaration in 2017.

Since then, IGAD has been implementing a number of projects and initiatives in the education sector. One of this is a regional scholarship scheme launched by the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, during the First IGAD Universities’ Forum held in Jigjiga, Ethiopia, on 5-6 April 2021.

The rationale behind the IGAD scholarship scheme is to facilitate inclusive access to scholarship among the youth in displacement and refugee situations, since higher education and skills development opportunities are extremely inaccessible for this category of people. Moreover, IGAD considers scholarship for young people as a cornerstone of regional integration, people-to-people interaction and mutual understanding; all of which are building blocks for peace and stability in the region and beyond.

IGAD will continue to work with a wide-range of bilateral and multilateral partners to ensure equitable access to education and to inculcate the spirit of solidarity and fraternity among the youth so that they will continue to play constructive roles in society.

Another aspect of IGAD promoting Youth for the wider agenda of peace and prosperity for the IGAD region, the IGAD Peace and Security Division launched the IGAD Youth Forum for Peace on April 29, 2021 in Entebbe, Uganda in the presence of the IGAD Executive Secretary, Minister of State for Youth of Republic of Uganda, representatives of National Youth Associations and Youth Ministries of IGAD member states.

The IGAD Youth Forum for Peace is a regional platform to give youth an opportunity to express their ideas, opinions, and needs to decision makers, and mobilise the youth community for peace at national and regional level. The regional platform will create opportunity for the youth of the region to play their role for durable and sustainable peace. The initiative aims at inspiring young people to be change makers and to take responsibility to make a difference in their community. It will also encourage the youth to commit personal responsibility in their respective countries in promoting, peace building, social cohesion and actualisation of respective development agenda. The forum will be instrumental to link the policy space and the voice of the youth, and to mobilise the Youth for peace, security and stability in the region.

The forum is expected to provide the institutionalised platforms for deliberations and communications to enhance understanding of youth’s aspiration, priorities and concerns, and shared values. It will also serve as a platform for youth to engage with IGAD and the Member States on regional peace and security agenda and enable to enhance a better understanding of how the youth can contribute to peace in the region. The next step will be operationalising of the Forum mainly in developing institutional instruments and training of selected youth leaders of the Region. IGAD will also appoint IGAD Youth Envoys in collaboration with member states’ relevant institutions.


Kebede Kassa Tsegaye, PhD
Senior Program Coordinator
Education, Science, Technology and Innovation

Moges Ali
Governance Officer
Political Affairs Programme
August 17,2021




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