IGAD struggles to respond to drought in the Horn of Africa
The encounter was supposed to be critical. However, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) meeting in Nairobi on 13 May made only a half-hearted attempt to come together to cope with the drought that has affected the area for the previous two years.
This is the fourth such drought in a decade, and the lack of precipitation has an exponential impact. Food insecurity presently affects 40.3 million individuals.
Few member nations were well-represented at the conference, which took place in the sumptuous salons of the Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel. Workneh Gebeyehu, Ethiopia’s former foreign minister, and Esther Anyakun, Uganda’s minister of state for disaster preparation, were present.
Anyakun is from the drought-stricken Karamoja area and was one of the IGAD countries’ most senior members.
Ethiopia’s delegate, an advisor to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, canceled his travel at the last minute for undisclosed reasons. Due to air traffic issues, Sudan’s envoy could not attend the conference.
Kenya, the host country, sent Abdul Bahari, the number three in the labor and social welfare ministry, instead of Margaret Kobia, cabinet secretary for public service, youth, and gender issues.
The participants urged donors in their final communiqué to fund the remaining $4.7 billion of the $6.3 billion needed to get through the next six months until the long rainy season in October.
The cash will be disbursed following a method that considers how seriously impacted nations have been by the drought. Somalia’s requirements are $1.8 billion, whereas Uganda’s are $6.7 million. The delegate from Kampala sought in vain a raise in her country’s allocation.
Donors are raising the alarm as the situation worsens. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) official said that the effort made to address the core causes of the issue was “insufficient.”
In contrast to the 2016-2017 drought period, which had been better expected, a spokesperson from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said unequivocally that “we have failed” in 2021-2022. Martin Griffiths, the UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, had visited Kenya a few days previously, visiting the dry Turkana County.
IGAD highlighted its drought response plan, emphasizing the need for finances to strengthen its analytical and forecasting capabilities and construct risk management centers.
However, Kenya’s Abdul Bahari said that the funds asked from donors will only be utilized to support emergency help due to the country’s pressing requirements. While near-normal rainfall is expected in the next months, early estimates for the rainy season of October-November-December are negative.