Djibouti + 6 more

Improved drought management in the greater Horn of Africa through support to drought preparedness, risk reduction and early warning

Originally published


Location of operation: GREATER HORN OF AFRICA (GHA)(2)
Amount of Decision: EUR 10,000,000
Decision reference number: ECHO/-HF/BUD/2006/02000

Explanatory Memorandum

1 - Rationale, needs and target population

1.1. - Rationale:

DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction), of which disaster preparedness is a component, needs to be mainstreamed into both humanitarian and development action to be effective. DRR places the emphasis on the reduction of vulnerability of populations to disasters and on reduction of risk.

LRRD(3) (Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development) remains central to EC external action. In the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA), the linking of humanitarian and development assistance is all the more significant in pastoralist areas because development actions at community and institutional level have been insufficient. The resultant absence of disaster preparedness from development plans affecting pastoralist areas in the GHA have contributed to increasing the vulnerability of populations to the onset of drought and thereby increasing their risk to it.

There is, therefore, a clear, albeit short-term, role for humanitarian donors to fund disaster preparedness in GHA in the absence of appropriate development action. Meeting the challenges of the cross-border, regional nature of pastoralism as well as structural food Horn of Africa. This action will contribute to laying the foundations for such a sustainable regional strategy for pastoralism. Furthermore, the RPS also recognises the need to reinforce disaster risk reduction strategies in the region. This Decision will focus on one hazard, drought, covered by disaster preparedness measures in GHA. It will lay the much-needed foundations for drought preparedness in the GHA and work through existing structures and not create parallel ones, especially insofar as Early Warning Systems are concerned. Moreover, the regional approach is necessary to address cross-border issues and migratory patterns inherent to pastoralism. It will have a bottom-up approach and strengthen local community-based networks and institutions at district, sub-national and national level. Once preparedness measures are in place, these communities and institutions will be expected to manage drought and humanitarian donorship may return to core activities of emergency response and relief. The actions supported under this Decision are understood to the bridge the gap in the "grey zone" between relief and development before medium-term preparedness measures can be subsumed into official government policy and development plans in all countries of the GHA. Drought preparedness measures are considered to be essential and comparatively cost-effective, reducing the need for additional calls for resources.

Drought in GHA is usually understood to be a slow-onset disaster. This means that it is recurrent, inevitable and can be forecast with some degree of precision through existing Early Warning Systems (EWS). Years of analysis of recurrent drought cycles(4) have led to the conclusion that Drought Cycle Management (DCM) is the most appropriate intervention strategy for the reduction of the impact of drought on livelihoods. Drought preparedness must not be understood to be an ex ante mechanism valid only at the onset of drought: it intervenes prior to, during and after what are commonly known as the four stages of the drought cycle: Normal, Alert, Emergency and Recovery. Preparedness itself is made up of its own concentric circles which can overlap or turn autonomously within the drought cycle. An example of preparedness actions across all drought cycle stages is animal health: during Normal stage, the emphasis is on routine health services and training of community health workers; during the Alert stage this can shift to mass vaccinations and prevention of infectious diseases among weakened animals. Emergency places the focus on keeping calves alive and milking and controlling infectious diseases whilst in Recovery phase, drugstores must be restocked and animals vaccinated and dewormed. The complexities of drought management in the GHA are therefore self-evident.

Drought is the single-most consequence(5) of environmental change in the GHA. It is a common occurrence caused by rainfall deficit and it leads to a shortage of water and crises in vegetation cycles. For nomadic pastoralists(6) of the GHA, drought is manifest in the reduction in water sources, increased numbers of herds around depleted, poor quality water points, and lack of available pasture for grazing. Pastoralists survive on meat, blood and milk. Livestock are the mainstay of pastoralist livelihoods and pastoralists have traditionally sought to manifest their wealth through the accumulation of large herds of livestock. The more livestock, the wealthier the pastoralist is (a herd of cattle is akin to the number of shares on the stock market). A drought can have a direct consequence on livestock health because the livestock do not have access to sufficient quantities of pasture or water as a result of lack of rain. As this becomes a protracted phenomenon when successive rains fail, the livestock start to become thin and eventually die. Cattle and sheep die faster because they cannot live without pasture; camels and goats are more resistant. Loss of livestock to a pastoralist (estimates in northern Kenya are between 60-80% losses of cattle in the latest drought) is equivalent to a stock market crash and sends shockwaves through the whole community, affecting traditional coping mechanisms and causing - inter alia - the increasing phenomenon of "pastoralist drop-outs" in urban centres. As it is now a recurrent phenomenon (shorter cycles of 2-3 years), there is little time for recovery to withstand the next drought, i.e. the accumulation by herders of same levels of livestock they had prior to the drought. As each recurrent drought cycle closes in, the gradual erosion of the economic base of nomadic pastoralism across countries and beyond borders is being witnessed. This situation is made worse by insecurity, rising poverty and declining asset levels (human, social, financial and physical assets).

The human factor and its potential can also play a major role in either exacerbating or mitigating the effects of drought on indigenous populations. Policies on dry land management, restriction on movement of nomadic pastoralists and land tenure have been largely neglectful; they hamper natural mobile herding systems, prevent the adequate sourcing of nutritious grazing lands for livestock, and contribute equally to a transformation in societal organisation and to a breakdown in traditional trading practices. They can also fuel conflicts and tensions. Furthermore, in pastoralist areas, governance issues are overlooked and national legislative instruments fail to reflect the voice of pastoralists. There is currently no effective policy framework to deal with the economic regeneration of these dry lands. All this has contributed to the increasing marginalisation of nomadic pastoralism as an economic activity.

DG ECHO(7) has been exemplary in laying the foundations for its exit strategy(8). LRRD will continue to be the overarching framework for DG ECHO's interventions throughout the region. LRRD remains crucial because it permits an exit strategy and will put a time-limit on the need for DG ECHO's presence in the region. The foreseen Drought Management Initiative (DMI) of the EC Delegation in Kenya, for example, provides for a Programme for EUR 17 M to work through government (through a Programme Implementation Unit, fully integrated in the Special Office under the President of Kenya, but funded by the EC). It will hopefully be in a position to take over from DG ECHO's activities in 2007/2008. In Ethiopia and Eritrea it will be of importance to ensure that actions funded under this Decision are coherent with and reinforce national or regional policies. Given the reduced autonomy of the local communities, all efforts will be made to work through national policies and to ensure activities are steered by the authorities. Actions financed under this Decision throughout the region will link up with the nutritional, food aid and food security programmes managed by EC Delegations. For example, the EC Delegation in Ethiopia has launched a call for proposals under the 2005 Food Security Programme (allocations for NGOs) for actions in the

pastoral areas of South Ethiopia. The amount is EUR 5 M and 4 NGOs have been selected for funding. Another envelope of EUR 5 M is being allocated by the Delegation for emergency relief interventions in the pastoral areas of Ethiopia, with a deadline of June 2006. It will compliment another EUR 1 M ongoing emergency action funded by the Delegation in the past. Given the important presence of development funds in the region, DG ECHO has agreed with the Delegation to compliment these actions in South Ethiopia under this Decision to fill the gaps. Furthermore, the Water Facility run by DG AIDCO(9) will enable linkages for an important sector in drought management and preparedness and the recent emphasis on food security linkages in the Sahel throughout EC services will lead to better synergies in planning and targeting of food security interventions.


(1) The legal basis of the present decision is the Article 2 (f) of Council Regulation (EC) n° 1257/96 of 20 June 1996.

(2) Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda. However, even if Sudan is part of GHA it already receives considerable funds covering these activities. It is included should additional funds be required.

(3) Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament - Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development - An assessment /* COM/2001/0153 final */ "The pursuit of effective linkage is not simply a matter of ensuring a smooth transition from emergency to development assistance. It must be seen in a broader context, as part of an integrated approach towards preventing crises and disasters, in particular through disaster preparedness, as well as preventing and resolving conflicts and assuring a return to structural stability. .....This Communication must also be seen in the context of the overall efforts to increase the effectiveness of the Union's external action, including the reform of the Community's external assistance, and to improve the quality of development policy and of ECHO strategies."

(4) 1980, 1984, 1989, 1992, 1997 2000 2002 2003 and now 2005/06 are all drought related crises in the GHA of different magnitudes. Each of these events has caused the international community to intervene. Kenya declared a national drought disaster on its territory in July 2003, only for that to be repeated in January 2006.

(5) Floods and volcanoes are also high risk. And they are also common in the dry land regions: the El Niño phenomenon in 1998/99 in Kenya wreaked havoc causing loss of grazing and livestock. The South-East Asian tsunami of 2004 reached the coast of Somalia, causing severe damage to the coast-line through flooding

(6) Pastoral production systems are defined as those in which 50% or more of household gross revenue comes from livestock or livestock related activities.

(7) Directorate-General for humanitarian aid - ECHO.

(8) "Emergency assistance must increasingly be designed in such a way that a take-over is consistent with long term development objectives and sustainability. Development policy must in turn be better adapted to cope with these issues." Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament - Linking Relief, Rehabilitation and Development - An assessment /* COM/2001/0153 final */

(9) Directorate General - Europe Aid Cooperation Office.