Friday, Jul 30, 2021

July 27, 2021 (Khartoum, Sudan): The Division of Social Development of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in partnership with the University of Khartoum, Republic of Sudan, conducted a two-day consultative meeting of the Board of ICHE, on 26-27 July 2021, at the University of Khartoum, Sudan. The objectives of this meeting included, among others, to:

  • Familiarize the Board with the Statue of the ICHE;
  • Discuss on research networks and generate recommendations for inter-university cooperation within IGAD member states;
  • Identify existing and emerging thematic areas disciplinary clusters;
  • Adopt the Board’s Action Plan for the next two years;
  • Identify potential donors/funding partners to support the work of ICHE and
  • Assign Focal Points in each Board Member University to coordinate the activities of the Board in collaboration with the IGAD Secretariat.

This high level meeting of the Board of ICHE was attended by Vice Chancellors, Presidents, Deputy Vice Chancellors/Presidents from Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia), Jigjiga University (Ethiopia), University of Nairobi (Kenya), University of Juba (South Sudan),  International University of Africa (Sudan), University of Khartoum (Sudan), Ahfad University for Women (Sudan) and Makerere University (Uganda). The meeting was also attended by staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Sudan as well as staff from the IGAD Secretariat.

Speaking at the opening session of the Board meeting, H.E. Professor Intisar Soghayroun, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of the Government of Sudan, welcomed the distinguished delegates, extended appreciations to IGAD for creating such a regional platform which emanated from the IGAD Education Policy Framework adopted in 2018 and for establishing the IGAD Council of Higher Education (ICHE). She also commended IGAD for its effort to integrate the region through Higher Education.

She added that, “It is doubtful that we can achieve neither African Agenda 2063 … nor UN SDGs without strong higher education”. Finally, Professor Intisar stressed that, using education as a tool for regional integration, “We need to think about wider partnership:

  • For green transition energy access;
  • Digital transformation;
  • Sustainable growth and jobs;
  • Peace and governance;
  • Migration and mobility.

Professor Fadwa Taha, the Vice Chancellor of University of Khartoum and Current Chairperson of the Board of ICHE, extended warm welcome to her fellow board members and all participants. She said she was delighted both to be the Chair of the First Board and to host this important meeting. Prof Fadwa guided the deliberations successfully with remarkable hospitality and punctuality.

The Acting Director of Social Development, Dr. Mohamed Elduma, also welcomed the participants and give overviews on the background and context that led to the establishment of the IGAD Council of Higher Education.

 

The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sudan, Ms Asrar Ahmed also delivered welcoming remarks.

 

At the end of the two days thorough deliberations the Board members appreciated the importance of ICHE and opportunities of having a regional platform for higher education in sharing best practices, enhancing regional integration and cooperation between universities in both in the public and private sectors.

The Board members also recommended the grouping of IGAD universities into five thematic clusters or networks to identify and strengthen centers of excellence in each cluster/disciplines with the view to enable universities to solve problems facing the region. They also adopted the Board’s Plan of Action for the next two years (August 2021 to Jul 2023). The plan included, among others, organizing a high level regional conference of IGAD ministers in charge of higher education.

 

July 23, 2021 (MANDERA, Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), yesterday handed over one Ambulance to the Government of Kenya, Ministry of Health for Mandera County during an official ceremony held at the Mandera County Headquarters

The event was graced by the Executive Secretary (ES) for IGAD, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, the Governor for Mandera County, H.E Capt Ali Roba, the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) for Health of Kenya, Hon Dr. Rashid Aman, the Ambassador of Ethiopia to Kenya. Also in attendance were H.E Meles Alem, Kenya Country Representative of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, and the IGAD Head of Mission for the Republic of Kenya participated.

The donation of the ambulance is part of the EU-IGAD COVID-19 Response project intended to mitigate impact of COVID-19 in the IGAD region.

“I am delighted on behalf of the IGAD Secretariat to join hands with the Republic of Kenya, the County Government of Mandera and the Communities at this confluence of Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia as we strike another blow against the social and economic effects of Covid-19’, said the Executive Secretary in his remarks. “The Ambulance we are delivering today to the people of Mandera County is in fulfilment of the promise we made as part of the consignment of 25,000 N95 masks, 25,000 surgical masks, 125,000 gloves and 2,500 COVID-19 test kits that have already been distributed”, he continued

Dr Workneh recalled that IGAD had supported “displaced and cross-border communities with over 5 million medical masks, 1 million COVID-19 test kits, 4 million surgical gloves, 21 Ambulances, Utility Vehicles and Mobile Laboratories that have been distributed across 21 Cross-Border sites, 7 Refugee Camps and IDP settlements as well as 4 Migrant Reception Centers.

He also expressed appreciation to the European Union, the Swiss Development Cooperation, UNOPS and FAO for their support

In February 2021, various assortment of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Laboratory test kits for COVID-19 (25,056 tests), two standard ambulances, one advanced ambulance and a mobile laboratory worth 1.9 million Euros were donated to the Republic of Kenya.

A mobile laboratory is expected in the country at a later date and will be handed over to the respective priority cross border site in the country. The third ambulance under the EU-IGAD COVID-19 response project will be handed over to the Turkana County at a later date. They will be put in use at cross-border areas.

The European Union allocated a 60 million Euros package to help tackle the health and socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in support of IGAD region in its mandate to coordinate national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is part of the Team Europe Global Response package (EU and its member states) to support partner countries intervention to the pandemic and its consequences.

The project focuses on vulnerable groups, including migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons, and cross-border communities, including more than euro 13 million worth of medical supplies and equipment.

Main activities under the EU-IGAD COVID-19 Response project package include the provision of health responses, WASH services, prevention of gender-based violence and risk communication. The project also helps ensure borders and critical supply chains so as they are safe for trade. Through the component managed by GIZ, it promotes also digital solutions to monitor the crisis. The project aims to support more than 1 million people across the region.

 

 

30th June, 2021(Mombasa, Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) this morning closed ceremony for resource mobilization workshop for IGAD Health Digitalization Initiative held in Mombasa, Kenya from 28th to 30th June 2021.

This 3-days workshop reviewed success stories and major achievement made by IGAD Regional Action through Data (RAD) in last 5 years as well as outlined focus areas for the coming 5-years. In this regard, the next five years the programme plans to:

  1. Expand and upscale the journey solution to include other communicable diseases and cover 50 sites by June 2022
  2. Establish a regional disease surveillance platform to monitor disease outbreaks.
  3. Establish a regional (IGAD) data Warehouse
  4. Establish and equip a regional Health Information unit
  5. Set up a regional health policy implementation task team

In attendance was the Executive secretary and during his closing remarks, H. E IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu PhD underlined linkages between reliable data sharing and regional integration. He pointed out that data sharing through digitalization process is a major vehicle for regional integration. The Executive Secretary stated that RAD initiative is a catalyst in achieving sustainable digitalization for regional health care and data sharing.

Finally, H.E quoted a clear strategy to implement data sharing and protection policy for the member states under the leadership of IGAD. This policy will help Member state governments to adequately

prepare for disease surveillance and response timely for future pandemics and endemics in the region.

 

 

23rd June, 2021(Mombasa, Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) this morning inaugurated 2nd Expert technical working group and Steering Committee Meeting on IGAD Regional Action Through Data (RAD) in Mombasa Kenya from 23rd to 26th June, 2021. During the opening ceremony presided over by IGAD RAD leadership named Dr. Ahmed Bashir was made by the welcoming remarks followed by official opening of Onesmus Kamau, Head of Health information and digital health of Ministry of Health, Kenya. 

Participants are drawn from IGAD Secretariat Health team, members from IGAD Member States Health Ministries as well as RAD Consortium (Duke university, Broadreach healthcare and Jembi Heath Systems) and other organization.

 

This four-day meeting comprising two-days for technical meeting followed by two-day steering committee meeting is an opportunity for IGAD member countries to deliberate and review final draft of the Regional Data Sharing and protection policy. This policy aims to mitigate challenges that emerge from a lack of consistent and aligned data privacy and sharing policies among the IGAD Member States.

During the discussion experts and steering committee members recommended that IGAD should come up with clear strategies to fast track the implementation of IGAD Regional Health Data Sharing and Protection Policy. The forum also noted that IGAD should provide special consideration in terms of capacity building for the member states with inadequate data protection and sharing system.

At the end of the meeting, experts and steering committees endorsed IGAD regional data sharing and protection policy, IGAD regional data sharing and protection policy implementation guide and IGAD regional data sharing and protection policy metrics. Implementation of the endorsed documents will be guided list of recommendations and declaration made by experts and steering committee from member states.

 

 

 

June 20, 2021 (DJIBOUI, Djibouti): IGAD region has one of the highest concentration of displaced persons. As of April 30th 2021, IGAD region had over 14.3 million displaced persons comprising of over 4.3 million refugees and 9.8 million IDPs. Nearly 1 out of every 5 displaced persons globally, resides in the IGAD region. While majority of refugee caseloads in the IGAD region are protracted, new displacements continue to occur. Majority of the displaced population within the IGAD region emanate from countries within the region.

Despite declining trend of third-country resettlement figures and the mobility restrictions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, IGAD member states have maintained an open-door policy to refugees from within and beyond the IGAD region..

Since 2017, IGAD Member States have pursued a regional approach in finding durable solutions for displaced population and their host communities. The regional approach to durable solution emanated from the March 2017 Special Summit on durable solutions for Somali refugees and reintegration of returnees in Somalia. The Summit recognized the regional nature of impacts and solutions for both displacement and mixed migration, and called for a strengthened framework for regional integration and cooperation. The focus of the regional approach has since been expanded beyond the Somali situation to cover all displaced population within the IGAD territory.

The roll out and operationalisation of the Nairobi Plan of Action is considered to be a regional application of the Global Compact for Refugees and its accompanying Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). Currently, the operationalisation, follow-up and monitoring of the implementation of the Nairobi Action Plan is carried out through an Annual Inter-Ministerial Stocktaking Meeting and various thematic meetings. ”

Considerable progress has been made over the last two years across various thematic areas, mainly:

  • Education: through the adoption of the Djibouti Declaration granting access to education for refugees, returnees and which was endorsed by the IGAD Ministers of Education in 2018 in Djibouti; and the development of national plans of action on refugee education;
  • Livelihood: through the Kampala Declaration on Jobs, livelihoods and self-reliance for refugees, returnees and host-communities; and
  • Health: through the integration of refuges, migrants’ cross border and mobile population in country health programming, particularly in the context of covid-19.

More recently, regional efforts have focused on the displacement situation in the Sudan and South Sudan, aimed at harnessing the peace dividends stemming from the implementation of the peace agreements reached for Sudan and South Sudan to find lasting solutions for 7 million displaced persons in and from the two countries.