The IGAD Region remains one of the most vulnerable regions to food insecurity in the world1 . In 2019, of the 135 million people estimated to be in Crisis or worse (IPC2 Phase 3+) levels of acute food insecurity in 55 countries analysed across the globe, 27.6 million were from the IGAD Region – Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
Climatic shocks, conflict and macro-economic shocks remain the main drivers of food insecurity in the region.
High levels of malnutrition also persist in the region. In 2019, about 9 million children under the age of 5 years in the region suffered acute malnutrition, 2.3 of them severely so, according to UNICEF. In addition, an estimated 13.6 million – or 1 in every 3 – were stunted.
Moreover, the IGAD Region is one of the world’s largest producer and host of internally displaced persons (IDP) and refugees who, due to limited livelihood opportunities and degraded coping mechanisms, are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. UNHCR estimates that the region currently hosts up to about 8 million IDPs and 4 million refugees, some protracted, after having been displaced for up to more than 10 years.
Of even greater concern now is the unprecedented shocks of desert locusts and the COVID-19 global pandemic which have not spared the IGAD Region. Second-generation of desert locust swarms have recently formed and continue to spread in northwest Kenya and in large parts of Ethiopia and Somalia. At the same time, measures to mitigate spread of the COVID-19 pandemic are driving economic slowdowns causing loss of livelihoods, especially among urban and periurban populations who predominantly derive their livelihoods from the informal sector, and hence limiting their access to food. In light of this, experts are warning of a food security and nutrition crisis of an unprecedented magnitude.
It is against this background that IFRAH, in collaboration with the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Global Support Unit (IPC GSU) – East and Central Africa and with the support of the Government of Sweden, brought together IGAD Member States and partners to jointly discuss the food security and nutrition situation in the region, and to propose practical response actions for decision makers in support of improved food security and nutrition across the region.
1.2 Objectives of the meeting
Specifically, the meeting provided a forum for IGAD Member States and partners to:
• Discuss individual country food security and nutrition analyses, including the potential combined impact of observed floods, desert locust invasion, COVID-19 pandemic and protracted food insecurity from past shocks on the food and nutrition security situation in the region
• Share experiences, best practices and lesson learnt in developing and utilising IPC, country teams or other partners-led analyses
• Discuss appropriate strategic response actions to address food insecurity and malnutrition in the region
• Review the IGAD Regional Food Security and Nutrition Response Strategy
• Discuss the IPC regional analysis calendar, work plan as well as new developments such as virtual trainings and analyses Notably, there have not been any formal regional forums for IGAD Member States and partners to specifically jointly discuss their food security and nutrition analyses and share their experiences, lessons learnt and best practices in developing and utilising these analyses, as well as discussing practical strategic response actions that are being or can be undertaken to address food insecurity and malnutrition in the region.