Press Release - IGAD Ministerial Meeting on Peace, Security and Development in the Karamoja Cluster
14 October, Kampala – A half-day meeting of ministers in-charge of Karamoja Cluster affairs from Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda that convened in Kampala’s Munynyo Commonwealth resort today concluded with the launch of an annual ministerial forum as well as a collective commitment on harmonizing peace, security and development initiatives across the Cluster.
The meeting that was co-hosted by First Lady and Minister of Karamoja Affairs of the Republic of Uganda Hon. Janet Museveni and IGAD Executive Secretary Amb. Eng. Mahboub Maalim, appraised and commended ongoing initiatives of concerned governments and other actors targeted towards achieving peace, security and development in Cluster. At the same time, the ministers identified lack of effective coordination and harmonization of these efforts as the main reason behind limited progress.
According to a 12-point communiqué issued by the meeting, ministers committed to the establishment of strong institutional arrangements that ensure multi-state coordination and harmonization of interventions. They also announced an annual Ministerial Forum on the Karamoja Cluster that will continuously monitor and review progress.
Ministers and Other senior government officials from these countries that took part in the meeting include: Mr. Ole Lenku, Cabinet Secretary of Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government of the Republic of Kenya, Hon. Benjamin Marial Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Sudan; and Mr. Omod Obang Olom, State Minister of Federal Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
The meeting followed a meeting of experts from these countries held on10-11 October and a Meeting of parliamentary caucus on 13 October organized with the support of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). These meetings reviewed national and regional policy frameworks and programmes on peace, security and development in the Karamoja cluster which straddles these countries’ borders. Another key output also was the set up of an IGAD Parliamentary Forum on peace, security and development of the Karamoja Cluster.
In addition, the experts and MPs tabled for the ministers’ consideration a set of innovative solutions that could support the speeding-up of attaining peace, security and development across the cluster. These proposals were endorsed by the ministerial meeting.2 The Karamoja Cluster encompasses cross-border areas of four IGAD member countries namely: South Western Ethiopia, North Western Kenya, South Eastern part of South Sudan and North Eastern parts of Uganda. These areas are located in the peripheries of concerned member states and share a history of under-development, marginalization and insecurity.
Currently, however, the region is increasingly looking to these areas as centers of great promise in driving the region’s development particularly in light of recent natural resource discoveries as well as long-existing huge potentials for trade and investment. In addition, member states are intensifying national and regional infrastructure and socio-economic development schemes that are set to transform the face of the Cluster and the region.
IGAD has various initiatives and programmes that target the Karamoja Cluster including IGAD’s Conflict Early warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN), which from inception in 2002 has been conducting conflict prevention and peace building work in the Karamoja Cluster. In addition, IGAD’s Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRISI) is currently a flagship initiative of IGAD that seeks to holistically address the concerns of all arid and semi-arid lands across the region including the Karamoja Cluster. IGAD’s Centre for Pastoral and Arid Lands (ICPALD) has also been set up with a mandate of promoting pastoral livelihood resilience.
Further, IGAD has conducted comprehensive studies on peace, security and development in the Karamoja Cluster in 2010 and 2012 which recommended for the implementation of a Regional Integrated and Comprehensive Development Plan for the Cluster, through a proposed Inter-governmental Commission. The proposal is underlined by the view that the Karamoja Cluster is a single ecological, economic, socio-cultural and conflict zone.
The high-level initiative on the Karamoja Cluster, reinforces and will contribute to harmonizing national as well as regional initiatives - including the above-mentioned IGAD-led initiatives - that intend to achieve peace, security and sustainable development in the Karamoja Cluster.
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