Cross-border Dialogues intensify in the IGAD region with support from the EU/BMZ “Strengthening the ability of IGAD to promote resilience in the Horn of Africa” Project
By Caroline Kigira
Within the framework of the GIZ-IGAD Cooperation, a series of cross-border cooperation meetings were held in 2019. The meetings included cross-border dialogues, Cluster Focal Group and Technical and Expert Meetings, with the common aim of developing drought resilience projects in the region. The Cluster Focal Group Members were selected during the initial cross-border dialogues to represent the communities’ interest at the next level meetings in collaboration with the National Technical Teams in project development.
These cross-border meetings are organised using a cluster approach, a mechanism spearheaded by IGAD, which was introduced to strengthen resilience in the region and is currently active in 4 IDDRSI (IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative) clusters, namely: i) IGAD Cluster 1: the Karamoja Cluster, representative of the cross-border communities along the common borders of Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda, ii) IGAD Cluster 2: Borena Cluster – Marsabit County in Kenya and Borana and Dawa Zones of Ethiopia, iii) IGAD Cluster 4: the Dikhil Cluster for the communities sharing the common borders of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia and iv) IGAD Cluster 6: the Ethio-Sudan Cluster shared by the communities of the Ethiopian-Sudan border.
Cross-border cooperation is a multi-stakeholder initiative that involves actors with different experience, opportunities and objectives. The cross-border dialogues address the concerns and interests of the grassroots communities in harmony with the views and opinions of actors in the formal government administration systems.
The Karamoja Cluster Focal Group Members and Technical Expert Meetings were held in March in Lodwar, Kenya and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, respectively. The two complementary meetings produced a draft project document, which provided substantial data and information for further refinement of the Karamoja Resilience Project, which will be presented at a high-level meeting later this year.
In August, IGAD organised the inaugural cross-border dialogue of IGAD Cluster 2 in Moyale, Kenya; and the Ethio-Sudan Cluster cross-border dialogue took place in Assosa, Ethiopia in November 2019.
By the end of the year, the Technical Expert Meetings for the Dikhil and Borena Clusters had been held in Tadjourah, Djibouti and Naromoru, Kenya respectively.
IGAD’s efforts to promote the involvement of the community grassroots in the development of cross-border areas have achieved considerable success, with the active participation of over 200 participants in cross-border dialogues, more than 10% of whom were women.
The cross-border activities were supported by the EUTF and implemented by IGAD and the GIZ within the framework of ‘’Strengthening the ability of IGAD to promote resilience in the Horn of Africa’’ project (SCIDA II).
 IGAD is the Intergovernmental Authority on Development; while GIZ refers to the implementing partner the ‘Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH’
Caroline Kigira is the GIZ Advisor for Multistakeholder Dialogues & Policy Events, Strengthening the Capacity of IGAD towards enhanced Drought Resilience in the Horn of Africa