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Landmark Workshop on Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Program in the Horn of Africa Underway

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The workshop on the Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods Program (DRSLP) in the Horn of Africa (HoA) commenced on Friday, February 22 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop, which runs to February 24, was jointly organized by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The objective of the workshop was to discuss the implementation of Phase 1 of the program, which was approved by the Bank in December 2012 (including Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia and IGAD) and to prepare for the Second Phase that is expected to be financed under ADF-13. The participants included the representatives from IGAD member states (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda), members of the IGAD Secretariat, representatives of NGOs, CSOs, private sector, development partners and staff of different Bank Departments.

In his opening remarks the Executive Secretary of IGAD, engineer Mahboub Maalim, acknowledged the leadership of the Bank in embarking on the drought resilience program and supporting the shift from emergencies to long-term building of resilience in the region. He also expressed appreciation of the Bank’s responsiveness in providing support to the countries and reinforcing the capacity for the IGAD Secretariat to meet its obligations in the region. Lamin Barrow, the Bank’s Resident Representative in Ethiopia, expressed his expectation that other development partners in Africa will join the Bank in well-coordinated and efficient aid delivery. He reiterated the importance to ensure efficiency and complementarity in all operations implemented by various partners, working together for the same objectives particularly given the relatively scarce financial resources. He assured the IGAD member country delegates of the Bank’s continued support to ensure the countries achieve the national and regional objectives of the Drought Resilience and Sustainable Livelihoods program.

For his part, Abdirahman Beileh, Acting Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department, reminded the meeting of the urgency of the actions required, such as the need for adequate planning for food, animal feed and water management, particularly through investing in the necessary infrastructures along with conflict resolution and rebuilding of governance institutions. He reminded the delegates of the responsibilities and accountability to the vulnerable communities. The Ethiopia Government Representative underscored the importance of the program for Ethiopia and noted that the main challenge is effective implementation. He gave examples of Ethiopia’s achievements in successfully demonstrating that drought does not have to result in famine. He assured the participants of his country’s commitment to play its full role in the program.

The Bank team made a presentation on the overview of the DRSLP, outlining the challenges being faced such as the recurrent droughts that decimate and reduce the economic value of assets such as land and livestock, social and human assets and the purchasing power of already vulnerable households. The team also discussed the Bank’s vision to assist countries to effectively address the impacts of the recurrent drought. Following a presentation of the Phase I program components, sources of financing and roles of various actors, there was a better understanding of the program, its expected outputs, outcomes and the targeted beneficiaries.

There was an obvious interest of countries to engage in the second phase of the program. The workshop provided an opportunity to discuss financing options from the Bank, such as the performance based allocations, regional operations window, the Fragile States Facility and the Global Environment Facility. The country delegations were encouraged to formally express their interest in participating in the program and include it among the national priorities to enable the Bank provide the required support in a timely manner. The country representatives in the meeting took the floor and all expressed appreciation of the Bank taking the lead in an historic program of building drought resilience and indicated keen interest of their countries to be part of the second phase.