The economies of the countries of the IGAD region (with the exception of Djibouti) are agriculture based with agriculture contributing over 30% to the total GDP. Over 80% of the population are rural and depend on smallholder agriculture for their livelihood and agriculture is considered not only as the main source of food, but also as the engine of growth for these economies. IGAD's strategy is to support national agricultural policies in a manner that promotes cooperation among the member states for mutual benefit, while ensuring that the policies are based on rational use of natural resources and encompass sound environmental management in order to achieve sustainable development.
The agriculture and environment priority sector has four thrusts:
- agricultural development and food security,
- natural resources and energy,
- environment protection, and
- dryland agricultural research and technology.
The Division also coordinates the programme activities of the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) based in Nairobi Kenya. The main objective of ICPAC as a specialized centre is to provide climate information, prediction products and services, for early warning, and related applications to reduce climate related risks for disaster management, environment management and poverty reduction in support of Sustainable Development efforts of the member countries.
The Division works closely with partners such as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), African Development Bank (ADB), United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Global Mechanism (GM), United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS), New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), ALive (World Bank). The Division actively participates in the negotiations for the 10 th EDF future funding of its projects and programmes.