UN and IGAD strengthen ties on resilience and humanitarian action

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 26 Mar 2014

(Kampala, 26 March 2014) The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) agreed today to enhance their collaboration in disaster preparedness, coordination of humanitarian aid, and advocacy for the protection of civilians affected by conflict and natural disasters.

The agreement was signed by Ms Kyung-wha Kang, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Mr Mahboub Maalim, Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, during the IGAD Drought Resilience Summit in Kampala, Uganda.

The accord comes amid growing cooperation between the two organizations to enhance resilience efforts in the greater Horn of Africa, a region prone to recurrent drought and other natural and man-made disasters.

“We already enjoy a strong partnership with IGAD, and we intend to work much more closely on meeting the humanitarian challenges facing the people of this region,” noted ASG Kang. “We need to strengthen the linkage between humanitarian and longer-term interventions, as we collectively work towards building the resilience of communities dealing with drought and other emergencies.”

“Working together, we can redouble our efforts towards ending drought emergencies in the greater Horn of Africa region through the Resilience Initiative,” said Ambassador Maalim at the signing ceremony. “The UN and IGAD can play complementary roles, enhancing humanitarian operations and assisting people more quickly and effectively.”

Around 65 per cent of the IGAD region, which includes Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya,
Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda, receives less than 600 mm in rainfall every year. The devastating drought in 2010-2011 affected more than 13 million people and brought food insecurity to fatal levels in many areas. This year’s Summit seeks to keep the spotlight on commitments made to end drought emergencies in the region including IGAD’s Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI).

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreed between OCHA and IGAD also aims to enhance the integration of international humanitarian law and principles on the protection of civilians in crises, particularly in support of IGAD’s role in implementing the AU Convention for the Protection and Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, also known as the Kampala Convention. Stronger advocacy for humanitarian access, humanitarian principles and more effective delivery of assistance is also a key objective.

For further information, please contact:

Matthew Conway, OCHA Eastern Africa, conwaym@un.org, Tel. +254 20 762 2156, Mobile +254(0)732 500010 Amanda Pitt, OCHA New York, pitta@un.org, Tel. +1 212 963 4129, Mobile: +1 917 442 1810 OCHA press releases are available at www.unocha.org or www.reliefweb.int

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.