Embarking on a Drought Resilience Initiative
The third Interim Steering Committee Meeting of the IGAD Drought Resilience and Sustainability Initiative was convened at the AU Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This one day technical meeting precedes a General Assembly meeting.
In the recent past and present times, the frequency, severity and impact of droughts and famine in arid and semi arid lands (ASALs) of the Horn of Africa have increased. Previous efforts focused on measures for disaster preparedness and mounted responses to emergencies. At the same time, weak cooperation among the affected countries in the region did not help the situation.
The focus is now shifting towards disaster prevention and preparedness to end drought emergencies by addressing the root causes of vulnerability to drought disasters. This time around, there is widespread recognition of national and regional dimension of drought resilience.
The decision to end drought emergences was taken by IGAD and East African Community (EAC) Heads of State and Government at a Summit convened in Nairobi on 9th September 2011, following the severe drought that devastated the region in 2010/2011. The Summit took the bold decision to address the effects of recurring droughts on vulnerable communities in the IGAD region, calling for increased commitment by affected countries and Development Partners to support investments in sustainable development especially in the Arid and Semiarid Lands (ASALs). The Nairobi Summit assigned the IGAD Secretariat the role of leading and coordinating the implementation of the decision; and urged all countries to work together as a region and all concerned to do things differently, working concertedly and holistically, combining relief and development interventions, aimed at building resilience to future shocks.