August 4, 2021 (ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia): The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, on July 29 inaugurated the Second Advisory Council of the Ethio-Sudan Cross-border Programme between Ethiopia and Sudan – Benishangul Gumuz Regional State of Ethiopia and the Blue Nile State of the Sudan.
Delegates representing H. E. Ashadeli Hassan Al Ajeb, the President of the Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, H. E. Amin Salih Yasin, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of Sudan, Representative of the of the European Union Delegation in Ethiopia, Representative of the Embassy of Germany in Ethiopia, and Representatives of GIZ, the Programme Implementing Partner and experts from IGAD Secretariat attended the meeting.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Secretary noted that the cluster approach allows IGAD
to treat cross-border communities as one family and has made it easier to translate regional policies, protocols and strategies to the community level. “Cross-border programmes such as this therefore have tremendously improved the ability of IGAD to better address the isolation and marginalization of border communities”, he continued.
Dr Workneh assured both Member States that IGAD “will continue strengthening these relationships and mobilising resources for a second phase of the programme in order to sustain the results recorded so far”.
The Ethio-Sudan Programme was initiated in 2018 with the financial support of Germany and the EU to a tune of 24 million Euros with the objective of addressing stability and displacement in the border areas by strengthening resilience of the communities to economic and climate shocks by:
- enhancing investments in livelihoods, including livestock, agriculture and fisheries;
- strengthening basic service delivery and natural resource management; and
- promoting cross-border cooperation and coordination, trade and private sector development as well supporting conflict management and resolution capacities.
The objectives of the Advisory Council meeting were therefore to:
- review and approve the reports of the programme on activities implemented since the first Board meeting;
- deliberate on the challenges faced by the programme and the opportunities identified to improve the socio-economic development of the cross-border areas along the border of the two states,
- as the programme is closing on 30 July 2021, discuss and share ideas on how the sustainability of the achievements of the programme are maintained; and
- explore the possibility of developing a second phase of the programme.
The Advisory Council advises both regional States on how to continue enhancing their cross-border cooperation to the benefit of their cross-border populations. It further advises IGAD on how to support the two regional states in mobilising funds for a second phase of the programme.