Thursday, March 3, 2011

EAC, IGAD top officials meet

ARUSHA, Tanzania, February 28, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The EAC Secretary General, Ambassador Juma Mwapachu, today held talks with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Committee of Ambassadors and high ranking officials of IGAD led by the Executive Secretary, H.E. Engineer Mahboub Maalim.

The talks centered on areas of collaboration between EAC and IGAD concerning drought, climate change, fostering of climatic predictions and monitoring in the region. Amb Mwapachu observed that the EAC region was at crossroads with respect to drought, calling for necessary steps to mitigate drought and provide timely climate early warning information, as well as sector specific products for the mitigation of the impacts of climate variability and change.

“It is imperative that we take necessary steps in climate risk reduction in the EAC (and notably in Kenya and Uganda, the two Partner States, who are members of IGAD) where indications of a looming drought are all imminent,” Amb Mwapachu noted.

Amb Mwapachu who was flanked by Senior Officials of the EAC Secretariat, called for closer co-operation in order to consolidate gains with respect to climate change. In the same vein, the need for inclusion of IGAD in to the Tripartite (EAC, COMESA and SADC) was fundamental and of absolute importance so as to bring climate issues to the fore.

He said future deliberations on matters of infrastructure necessitate the need to take into consideration climate change since the two aspects could not be divorced.

“In any case, climate change is cross-cutting and has no borders,” the Secretary General noted.

In the foregoing, Amb Mwapachu undertook to seek support for the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) under the African Development Bank (ADB)’s Green Fund Project in his forthcoming meeting with the ADB.

In his remarks, Eng Maalim noted that vast parts of Eastern Africa continued to face common challenges and remained prone to extreme climate events in effect, calling for reinforcement of collaboration between the two institutions. Eng. Maalim partly attributed recurring and severe droughts to the mismatch between issuance of alerts of extreme climate conditions and the actual notification of national emergencies by Member States.

The IGAD Executive Secretary called on the EAC and the IGAD to concretize areas of co-operation and reinforce collaboration so as to mitigate large scale drought which, he noted, was persisting and with corresponding severe negative impacts on key socio-economic sectors in the sub-region.

In attendance were the following IGAD Committee of Ambassadors; H.E. Ato Suleiman Weshe, Ambassador Plenipotentiary, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Amb Abdirahman M. Hirabe, Ambassador of Somalia, H.E. Hassan Eisa El-Taib, Ambassador, Republic of The Sudan and Mrs. Mariam Goumaneh, Representative of Djibouti to the IGAD.

Others were H.E. Mulli Sebujja Katende, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda and to the IGAD, H.E. Ato Abdeta Dribssa, Chair, Committee of Experts, IGAD and Mr. Lindsay Kiptiness, Head, Horn of Africa Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Kenya.

The delegation of the IGAD Committee of Ambassadors is in Arusha to attend the 27th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum for March-May 2011 rainfall and a Workshop on Climate Change Adaptation in Support of Climate Risk Management and Sustainable Development for Policy Makers in the Great Horn of Africa.

Additional Notes
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa was created in 1996 to supersede the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) which was founded in 1986. In 1983 and 1984, six countries in the Horn of Africa – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda – took action through the United Nations to establish an intergovernmental body for development and drought control in their region.

In April 1995 in Addis Ababa, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government made a Declaration to revitalise IGADD and expand cooperation among member states. On 21 March 1996 in Nairobi the Assembly of Heads of State and Government signed ‘Letter of Instrument to Amend the IGADD Charter / Agreement” establishing the revitalised IGAD with a new name ” The Intergovernmental Authority on Development”. The revitalised IGAD, with expanded areas of regional cooperation and a new organisational structure, was launched by the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government on 25 November 1996 in Djibouti, the Republic of Djibouti.

SOURCE: East African Community (EAC)