Sunday, Dec 15, 2019

 

24 May 2019 (Nairobi), Kenya: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Committee of Ambassadors (COA) this morning reviewed and later endorsed the final provisions of the Protocol to the Agreement establishing IGAD on Preventive Diplomacy and Mediation in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Protocol to the Agreement establishing IGAD on Preventive Diplomacy and Mediation will serve as a main guide for member states to effectively, efficiently and transparently design interventions, deploy envoys or mediators and largely engage in conflict prevention, management and resolution in the region.

It is recalled that the Protocol was developed through a consultancy intervention which was provided for under the consideration of legal experts from the Member States.

A number of consultations with legal and technical experts from key institutions of the Member States preceded the endorsement of Protocol. A final review and discussion by the technical legal experts was held from May 22-23, 2019 where extensive views, suggestions and recommendations were incorporated leading to the endorsement by the Committee.

Consultations were used as mechanism for interface between legal experts, foreign affairs representation and now Committee of Ambassadors for member state ownership.

In the same meeting, the committee released resolutions on the bi-annual report of the Mediation Support Unit among them approving the IGAD Mediation Support Unit to establish mechanisms to strengthen and enhance mediation capacity of the IGAD member states and appreciated the valuable support of the IGAD Partners for providing continued support towards promoting peace, security and stability in the IGAD Region. 

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21 May 2019 (Nairobi) Kenya: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Committee Ambassadors (COA) the last two days in Nairobi, Kenya were briefed by the Peace and Security Division (PSD) on various peace and security related matters as well as the implementation status of the IGAD Peace and Security Strategy of 2016-2020 as well as the processes and status of the EUTF with complimentary support of Austria, Sweden, and Netherlands funded program – IGAD Promoting Peace and Security in the Horn of Africa Region (IPPSHAR) and role of the Austrian Development Agency in implementing the program.

The Committee also got to review the draft Guidelines and Principles of the IGAD Governance Forum and the ambassadors requested for more time to review after which will be endorsed.

The Director of Peace and Security Division, Hon. Siraj Fegessa, in his opening remarks highlighted the challenges that are facing the region mainly the internal conflicts instigated by various reasons, the common transnational security threats and the external influences that are affecting the region.

Hon Fegessa also mentioned the positive changes that are happening in the region following the normalization of the relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea and the agreements in the region for more cooperation and collaboration. The Director stressed on the need to be guided by the policy organ to implement the peace and security strategy and also to build upon the on-going positive changes and contribute to the efforts of the member states.

The Chair of the IGAD Committee of Ambassadors, H.E Ambassador Abdulaziz Mohammed in his remarks also pointed out the key challenges that are affecting the agenda of economic integration of the IGAD countries.

He also stressed on the need to acknowledge the positive contribution of the bi-lateral relations in the region such as the relation between Ethiopia and Djibouti and also the existing relations between other IGAD countries as these bi-lateral relations contribute to broader agenda of the regional integration.  The Chair also emphasized on the need to work on the agenda of governance as lack of governance and democracy create basis for conflicts in the region. 

The Committee also recommended that internal synergy and harmonization of programs need to be enhanced by the different units under PSD through sharing information with the ambassadors for Member State engagement and involvement and where necessary regularize briefings on IPPSHAR and PSD to make efforts to mobilize resources for the post-war recovery as countries slide back to conflicts if they are not assisted during the period of transition to peace.

The Committee was also briefed on the challenges faced by the organization regarding the sustainability of human resources due the huge dependency on funding from partners under which it tasked the GAD Secretariat to handle by liaising with the Member States fto make regular and timely contributions to IGAD.

The Committee was also briefed on recommendations of the IGAD Member States’ focal persons from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs that were presented at the Peace and Security Division (PSD) annual review meeting and briefing about IPPSHAR in March 2019.

It was recommended by the Committee that more awareness of the processes of IPPSHAR needs to be done at both technical and policy level in the Member States with a clear strategy for sustainability through activity linkages with similar institutions of the member states. 

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1 May 2019, Bishoftu:  IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP), with support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR program, today opened a three days high level training on Community Engagement in Preventing and Countering Serious and Organized Crime for all IGAD Member States.

The role of communities in preventing and controlling crime has become prominent.  Defining community and thereby community engagement is subjected to contexts.  For the purpose of this training, communities can be defined as group of people or institutions working with people in a given territory such as neighborhoods, associations, schools or worship places.  Community engagement takes different forms, approaches and hierarchies.  In the context of crime prevention and control, Police are expected to enable the community and its members to empower them to participate by sharing power and assure them that their voice will influence decision and affect action within the legal and policy framework.  Community’s trust towards the law enforcement agencies and the positive network and interaction between community members is necessary for effective engagement; otherwise they can be the source of crime risk rather than solution.  IGAD Member States have applied various forms of community engagement in their social and governance policies as well as crime prevention and control.  It is with this background in mind that this training program was organized.

 The training was officially opened by Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director of IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP). Commander Abebe welcomed all the participants and expressed his appreciation to the Government of Ethiopia for hosting.  In his welcoming remark, he emphasized on the major differences of what crime is or should mean that law enforcement agencies are trying to control through reactive and responsive methods.  He highlighted that “adequate solution for crime related problems must be on community participation and citizens’ involvement”. In addition, he stated that “we have to recognize that the importance of ‘horizontal’ and ‘vertical’ dimensions of social relations in communities that are crucial elements for crime prevention in communities”.  He further stressed that “community engagement and community-oriented policing initiatives should be tactfully and carefully tailored to the local conditions and cultures, as well the State’s legal system”.

About 45 representatives from all IGAD Member States drawn from different institutions such as the Police, Judiciary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CSOs, Ministry of Interior, and Ministry of Defense are participating in this training.  Regional experts are expected to share their experiences and facilitate the training through interactive discussions, case studies, and group work exercises to bring about the required result of the training. 

The overall objective of the training is to strengthen Member States’ capacity to address serious and organized crime by enhancing the understanding of community engagement in preventing and controlling serious and organized crime. Specifically, the training aims to conceptualize community engagement in the context of crime prevention and control, discuss and identify implementation and operationalization issues, community policing theories, describe behaviors and ethical standards of policing, and identify way forward on how to alleviate the challenges to implement effective and sustained community engagement.
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25 April 2019, Entebbe, Uganda:  IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP), with support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR program, concluded the three days training program on the roles of women in counter terrorism for all IGAD Member States, held from 22-24 April 2019 in Entebbe, Uganda.

It is evident that women and girls constitute nearly half of the population of the IGAD region. Despite the demographic significance, their inclusion in the processes of counter radicalization and counterterrorism has been limited. On the other hand, women and girls are the main victims of violent conflicts, and are disproportionately affected by acts of terrorism.  Studies show that women could play a crucial role in spotting radicalization in its early stages, and preventing terrorism through delegitimizing extremism narratives. They could also assist security actors to make counter terrorism program design and implementation more effective. This is not to ignore, however, that they can also be mobilizers and recruiters to terrorist groups, play support roles and perpetuate terrorist acts. 

It is within this context that this training workshop was organized. The purpose of the training was to bring a wider and deeper understanding of gender perspectives in terrorism and inform participants on the basic concepts, good practices, opportunities/challenges, international legal instruments that require/encourage women inclusivity in counter terrorism. It was, in the end, intended to support Member States in developing mechanisms where in women could play their share in the fight against terrorism.

 38 representatives from all IGAD Member States, out of which 35 were women, participated in the training.  The participants were drawn from relevant institutions such as the Police, Judiciary, Parliament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CSOs, Ministry of Interior, National Counter Terrorism Centers, and Ministry of women and human rights. 

 Regional experts who have extensive work experience shared their experiences and facilitated the training through interactive discussions, case studies, and group work to achieve the intended objective.  For instance, Ms. Fauziya Abdi Ali, founder and president of Women in International Security (WIIS) of (HoA), and Martine Zeuthen, a Senior Research Fellow at RUSI, based in Nairobi, shared their expertise and filed experience focusing on roles of women in terrorism in our region and beyond, among others. IGAD Gender Offices have also made valuable contributions on this training.

 During the three-days training, the following topics were covered, that was believed to have contributed to enhancing the knowledge of the participants.

  • Basic concepts on women, conflict, peace and security
  • IGAD's perspective on gender mainstreaming vis-à-vis women, conflict and peace
  • International/continental legal instruments on roles of women in conflict and peace with emphasis on counter terrorism
  • Women in Al-Shabaab - recruitment, roles, and rehabilitation efforts
  • Case studies on roles of women in addressing and countering terrorism
  • Challenges, opportunities, and good practices in roles of women in countering terrorism.

 Participants appreciated the content and methodology of the training by emphasizing on the knowledge they have acquired as well as the networking opportunities they have established that is believed to enhance their capacity in handling their respective areas of work.  They have further expressed the importance of women’s inclusivity in any counter terrorism approaches as women are found to be key players as both being a victim and a perpetrator that necessities making them part of the solution.

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22 April 2019, Entebbe, Uganda:  IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP), with support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR program, kicked off a three days training program on the role of women in counter terrorism for all IGAD Member States.

The training is expected to highlight basic concepts on gender dynamics in terrorism; explore and share experiences and roles women play(ed) in the past, ongoing and potential security challenges in their respective communities. It will also share relevant institutional experiences of governments, civil societies, and others in the region within specific countries.  This training is expected to bring a wider and deeper understanding of gender perspectives in terrorism.  It is expected to inform participants on the basic concepts, best practices, opportunities/challenges, legal instruments that require/encourage women inclusivity in counter terrorism. It is, in the end, intended to support Member States in developing mechanisms wherein women could play their share in the fight against this security threat.

 The training was officially opened by Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director of IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP). Commander Abebe welcomed all the participants and expressed his appreciation to the Government of Uganda for hosting.  In his welcoming remark, he highlighted that “terrorist and extremist groups recruit women to act as informants, facilitators, mobilisers and recruiters; play support roles and perpetrate terrorist act by joining voluntarily or forcibly”.  He further stressed that “fighting against terrorism requires a whole-society approach in which women’s participation is meaningfully needed...their participation in the fighting against terrorism are considerably important..it is our obligation to encourage and engage women in a more systematic basis to the nexus between gender and counter terrorism.”

 About 40 representatives from all IGAD Member States drawn from different institutions such as the Police, Judiciary, Parliament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, CSOs, Ministry of Interior, National Counter Terrorism Centers, and Ministry of women and human rights are participating in this training.  Regional experts are expected to share their experiences and facilitate the training through interactive discussions, case studies, and group work exercises to bring about the required result of the training. 

 The training is part of IGAD SSP’s effort to contribute to the enhancement of the capacity of IGAD Member States’ institutions in their fight against terrorism.

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