The 2017 Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) “Drought Resilience Summit: Visioning a Transformational Agenda for the Next 5 Years” is a three-day event to be convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 29 – 31 August 2017.
The Summit’s objectives is being planned:
- To raise awareness of the current need to redouble resilience and economic development focused investment in the region in light of the recurrent drought situation;
- To reaffirm the objectives of the IDDRSI resilience agenda that was set in response to the drought of 2010-2011;
- To review the progress made, the challenges met and the opportunities available to advance the process of building drought resilience through national investments programmes as well as partners investments;
- To highlight the need for closer cross-border cooperation and ecological zonal development approach;
- To mobilize all affected stakeholders, including investors; and to accelerate development in critical areas such as infrastructure, agriculture and energy, building greater capacity to manage climate and related economic shocks.
The 2017 IGAD Drought Resilience Summit follows the historic inaugural 2011 Summit, which followed a period in 2010 when the Horn of Africa region witnessed one of the worst droughts in history, which impacted more than 12 million people (predominantly from pastoral and ago-pastoral communities) in the region. To address this situation, the Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) and IGAD countries convened a summit in Nairobi to address the root causes of the crisis and with the objective of ending drought emergencies through building sustainable livelihoods. The Summit called for the introduction of strategies, policies and programs that involved increased investments aimed at building resilience within Member States and at the regional level. The Summit also assigned the IGAD Secretariat with the task of leading and coordinating the implementation of the collective decision to end drought emergencies.
To guide and coordinate the implementation of the decision to end drought emergencies in the region, the IGAD Secretariat, with inputs from Member States, Development Partners and other stakeholders, developed a strategy entitled the IDDRSI Strategy, aimed at addressing the effects of drought and related shocks in the IGAD region in a sustainable and holistic manner. The IDDRSI Strategy (whose implementation is coordinated under the IDDRSI Platform) identifies seven priority intervention areas, in which investment and action will help build resilience by reducing the vulnerability of target communities to climatic and economic shock. These priorities include ensuring equitable access and sustainable use of natural resources, improvement of environmental management, enhancement of market access, facilitation of trade, enhancement of access to finance, provision of equitable access to livelihood support and basic social services, improvement of disaster risk management capabilities and preparedness for effective response, enhancement of the capacity to generate research, knowledge, technology and innovations in the region, conflict prevention, resolution and peace building, coordination system and institutional arrangement strengthening toward more organized, collaborative and synergistic action and an improvement in partnerships that increase the commitment and support necessary to execute the objectives of the initiative.
In 2017, five years after embarking on the IDDRSI, the Horn of Africa region is again in the midst of a major drought While most IGAD Member States are more adept at managing droughts than they were in 2010/11, the current drought has been devastating because it follows two consecutive poor rainfall seasons in 2016; and the likelihood of depressed rainfall persisting into the March - May 2017 rainfall season remains high. The most affected areas include, most of Somalia, South-eastern Ethiopia, Northern Eastern and coastal Kenya, and Northern Uganda.
The current drought has depleted water points, reduced crops, forages and livestock production; increased food insecurity and adversely affected the livelihoods of vulnerable communities in the region. It is currently estimated that 17 million people have been impacted by the drought and certain areas in South Sudan and Djibouti are already under an emergency food insecurity phase; and in Somalia, the number of food insecure people doubled in the last year alone. In addition to crop failure and higher livestock and small ruminant mortality, the terms of trade have also declined in the region.
There are three key thematic focus areas that undergird the planned 2017 Drought Resilience Summit:
- Geographic Investment Focus - Geographically, while the Summit will focus on the overall IGAD region), particular emphasis will be placed on the cross-border areas that feature arid and semi-arid terrain (the “Arid and Semi-Arid Lands or ASALs”) where climate change, advancing desertification and ecological degradation are having the greatest negative impact. The IDDRISI Platform stakeholders have specifically targeted eight “Cross Border Clusters” for intervention, and these areas will be of particular importance in terms of the Summit’s resilience and economic development focused resource mobilization and investment aims.
- Economic Development Investment Focus – Agriculture (particularly livestock husbandry) infrastructure, energy and trade are key sectors of importance within the IGAD region. Thus, investment in sector related infrastructure (including storage, irrigation, processing, roads, rail, ports and energy) is of great importance to drive job creation, value added goods production, and inter-regional and international trade. Tourism, a key services sector foreign exchange earner for some countries in the region (especially Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda), and inclusive sector for youth job creation, also requires transport (and other physical) infrastructure and energy sector development to flourish.
- Resilience Investment Focus – Recognizing that capacity enhancement was a key part of the developmental needs within the IGAD region, in terms of the ability of the Member States to respond to the climatic changes that brought on drought and its attendant socio-economic challenges, a significant focus within the IDDRISI program to date has been to address the PESTLE (political, economic, socio-cultural, technological, legal and ecological) aspects and related circumstances within the IGAD region, within the framework of the vision, mission and overall goal as defined by the IDDRSI Strategy.
Notwithstanding this investment, given the continued and increasingly recurrent nature of drought in the region, redoubled and expanded investment in this area is needed to support the accelerated implementation of IDDRSI over the next five years.