Sunday, Aug 25, 2019

 

Aug. 07, 2019 (BISHOFTU, Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) this morning inaugurated a workshop to validate a Baseline Report and develop joint management plans on three river basins shared between Ethiopia and South Sudan (Baro-Akobo), Ethiopia and Kenya (Omo-Turkana), and Ethiopia and Somalia (Shebella-Genale) respectively.

 This Baseline Report is meant to provide a framework for harnessing the fisheries potential and to foster sustainable utilisation and exploitation of the fisheries for improved livelihoods, food security and nutrition, and incomes of members of the communities in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) that these three rivers traverse.

 This four-day validation workshop is the opportunity for concerned Member States to review and validate the findings of the Baseline Report so as to integrate it in their respective fisheries development plans.

 Participants are the IGAD Focal persons from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, representatives from Ministries and agencies in charge of fisheries resources, local governments officials and communities fisheries offices. Some are from the Baro-Akobo Basin and the Omo-Turkana Basin representatives.

 The main objectives are to:

  • review the draft baseline and management reports;
  • validate the baseline and management reports; in order
  • to create a common understanding on the implementation modalities of a co-management plan.

 The Director of IGAD Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Mr. Kenea Kuma, highlighted the necessity for ‘scientific studies, initiatives and recommendations’ to be made ‘on the basis of the request and consent of Member States sharing river basin resources’.

 The Programme Manager of Environment Protection at IGAD, Dr. Debalkew Berhe, noted that considering ‘the huge potential of fisheries along the cross border areas, knowledge based utilisation and management including sustaining of food safety standards of the products is of paramount importance’

 

Participants are expected to have validated the Baseline Report following a thorough two-day review process, as well the management plans.

 It is with the financial support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) that the regional study titled ‘Assessment of the Fisheries Resource Base and its Contribution to Food Security and Development of Management Plans for Three River Basins in IGAD Region’ was conducted by the Eccelenzia Consorzio Research and management (ECRAM), a private consultancy firm.

 The assignment required the production of a Baseline Report, a Value Chain Analysis Report, and a Fisheries Management Plan of the fisheries for each of the three river basins of Baro-Akobo, Omo-Turkana, and Shebelle-Genale. 

 

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July 22, 2019 (ENTEBBE, Uganda): The Land Policy Governance (LPG) Project of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) this morning inaugurated a training session for the members of the Project’s Steering Committee in Entebbe.

The LPG Project Steering Committee is made up of officials and experts in charge of land management in their respective IGAD countries. They are also in charge of the implementation of the regional project. And it is in these respects that a reform process of the steering body, among other resolves, was recommended during the Fifth Meeting of the Committee held in November 2018 in Khartoum, Sudan.

The PSC reform process is aimed at ensuring that those entrusted with the running of the affairs and performance of the project have assessable and practical guidance in meeting their duties and responsibilities in an ever-changing environment. This two-day training is to enhance the implementation of good governance principles and practices in order to make the Land Governance Project more effective, and enable it contribute to national and regional development.

During a brief opening session, the Land Expert at IGAD Secretariat, Ms Esther Obaikol, recalled that the Project Steering Committee Reform Process was commenced ‘with a view to improving the governance of the project through strengthening the performance of its Project Steering committee’. ‘This reform process will improve the performance of the Project Steering Committee members individually and collectively,’ she added.

‘It will provide an opportunity for further action planning of the Project Steering Committee and enrich understanding of how IGAD works and delivers its mandate to Member States,’ she concluded.

The objectives of this reform process are to:

  • Assist the Project Steering Committee formulate detailed codes of best practices that address the IGAD Land Governance Unit’s specific circumstances and support function to Member States;
  • Excite debates within the Project Steering Committee that result in further revolution of better practices and procedure in the Land Governance Unit’s role at regional level;
  • Enable the Project Steering Committee focus on both their performance and conformance roles in directing the Unit; and
  • Provide governance criterion for evaluating the performance of the project as well as its Project Steering Committee.

Within the framework of the reform process of its Steering Committee, IGAD LPG is getting financial support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). This Training is conducted by Africa Lead, one of USAID and Feed the Future's food security and resilience capacity building programmes for Africa. It is part of a collaboration between IGAD and Africa Lead under a broader investment by USAID to support the coordination and implementation of the African Union agenda on land governance. 

IGAD Land Governance Project Phase 1 was funded by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) Agency. Phase 2, which is to start soon, will also benefit the financial support by SDC.

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IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre-ICPAC has been deliberate on the organization’s goal of early warning information for early action. Agriculture and Food Security is now a sector priority area in the Greater Horn of Africa based on IGAD assessment of the region. For this end, ICPAC has now formalized her partnership with NASA Harvest.

NASA Harvest is a new, multidisciplinary Consortium commissioned by NASA and led by the University of Maryland to enhance the use of satellite data in decision making related to food security and agriculture both in the US and worldwide. ICPAC has been engaging in seasonal agriculture monitoring and early warning in the outfit of Eastern Africa Crop Monitor supported by NASA Harvest and Global Monitoring for Environment and Security and Africa-GMES Africa programme.

On 26 June 2019 during the NASA Harvest Conference in Washington DC, the University of Maryland-USA signed a formal MoU with ICPAC to support and collaborate in the thematic application areas of agriculture and crop monitoring, and in future atmospheric monitoring. The MoU is aimed at formal recognition of the technical cooperation. NASA Harvest choose ICPAC as global example of an institution that utilizes Earth Observation (EO) data and tools and conducts research activities and also as a regional policy organization of IGAD. The MoU commits ICPAC and NASA Harvest (represented by University of Maryland) to closer working in applied research for a mutual benefit.

ICPAC was represented by the Director-Dr. GuleidArtan and witnessed by Thematic Assistant - Kenneth Mwangi. NASA Harvest was represented by Dr. Inbal Becker-Reshef - Program Director of Harvest, University of Maryland witnessed by Dr. Christopher Justice - Chief Scientist for NASA Harvest, University of Maryland. Dr. Catherine Nakalembe from Nasa Harvest and Kenneth Mwangi from ICPAC are the focal persons coordinating the activities of the MoU in the region.

“The number food insecure in IGAD region has been on a worrying increasing. This alone is the driver of most regional challenges like peace, security and a cause of human migration. The region needs coordinated interventions and better early warning for early action…” Dr. GuleidArtan during the NASA Harvest conference session.

The first regional crop monitor bulletin Eastern Africa Crop Monitor was published in May 2018. Other editions have been published on September 2018, February 2019, April 2019 and most recent one June 2019. These are seasonal bulletins with information on crop conditions collected in a monthly manner but summarized into the climatic season. For the purpose of enhanced regional agriculture monitoring, ICPAC and NASA Harvest will be sharing more information, technical support and capacity building in the use of satellite and weather information to enhance resilience in Eastern Africa.

Key food security related questions that ICPAC and NASA Harvest together with other partners want to answer are; what kind of crops are we growing? How much food are we growing this season? How much of it will be harvested? What interventions and early actions can be done by the different actors for food security?

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During the week of 24th– 28th June 2019, ICPAC staff, on request from the Ministry of Land, Water and Environment in Eritrea, conducted a five day training to build the capacity at National level in Eritrea on System Administration and Thematic Application of MESA Stations.

 MESA stations are satellite data receiving and processing systems installed in national institutions mandated with environmental monitoring across the Africa continent. The stations were provided between 2011 and 2017 by AMESD and MESA programmes to increase access to Earth Observation (EO) data in the continent. The training was divided into two components; system administration and thematic application. The System Administration component was aimed at building the capacity of Eritrea to monitor and maintain the MESA station to ensure continuous operation. The Thematic Application component was aimed at creating awareness of EO data available for environmental monitoring and to build the capacity of Eritrea in the analysis of these EO data for environmental monitoring to support decision and policy makers for more sustainable environment.

 The training received support from high level government participation through a speech by the Minister of Land, Water and Environment, Honorable Mr. Tesfai Sabhatu during the closing session on the 28th June 2019. The media were present during the last session of the training and the closing ceremony, the footage was aired on Eritrea main television channel EriTV during the Friday Evening News segment. The news coverage is available on YouTube. Youtube link

 The training provided an opportunity for ICPAC to meet and enhance goodwill among several of Eritrean ministries on a technical level. The team was able to meet with the Minister of Land, Water and Environment, Minister of Agriculture, Director General of Environment, General Manager of Asmara International Airport Authority (Meteorology Office is under him) and they promised to participate in the ICPAC activities e.g. GHACOFs.

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July 02, 2019 (DJIBOUTI, Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) held a three-day validation workshop of the draft Strategic Manual for Valuation of Blue Economy in Addis Ababa on June 24, 25 and 26.

Workshop participants were member states focal persons for Blue Economy, National consultants, international and regional consultants from SOGEROM consulting firm, IGAD experts, representatives from the European (EU) Delegation to Djibouti and from the Food and Agriculture organisation Sub-regional Office for Eastern Africa.

The workshop was meant to validate the valuation manual developed by IGAD with technical support from SOGEROM consulting firm, to train on the role of Blue Economy and how it contributes to socio-economic development.

This event was the first component of the project supported by the European Union on the assessment of the Blue Economy approach in IGAD region.

The Director of IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP), Commander Abebe Muluneh, made an opening speech on behalf of IGAD Executive Secretary. He stressed that IGAD Secretariat has established a Blue Economy Unit to develop the sector at the regional level as a means to contributing to resilience building, socio economic development of the region and job creation especially for youth and women.

He also expressed his gratitude for the support provided by the EU to IGAD through different projects, and specifically to the EU Delegation to Djibouti for the support for the assessment of the Blue Economy in IGAD region.

Program Manager Khola Mohamed from the EU Delegation to Djibouti delivered her opening remarks on the EU support to IGAD region to develop a regional Blue Economy strategy and a five-year action plan. As an input for the strategy, the field assessment will be carried at national and regional levels. She reaffirmed the commitment of the EU to support the socio-economic development in the region and specifically the upcoming IGAD Blue Economy Conference to be held in Djibouti on September 16 and 17 this year.

At the end of the three days, the Strategic Manual for Valuation of Blue Economy was validated and used as a training material. Field work of the experts using the validated valuation manual immediately started from Ethiopia, and further it will serve to collect the data from all member states of IGAD.

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