On his fifth day in Nairobi, the IGAD Executive Secretary met with Kenya's Minister for Immigration, where they both called for closer cooperation among IGAD Member States on migration management in the region.
H.E. Eng. Mahboub Maalim who has also already had meetings with the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Raila Odinga and the Director for Political Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb Benson Ogutu.
During the meeting today, Hon. Otieno Kajwang reported that a common passport already exists for citizens of East African countries and appealed for the document to be upgraded for international travel. At the moment, the regional passport can only be used in the five Member States. He expressed hope that IGAD Member States would emulate the East Africa example and come up with a common passport for people of the region.
On Monday, the Executive Secretary briefed the Prime Minister on the implementation of IGAD mandates and priority areas that include food security and environment, infrastructure and economic integration, and peace and security. Eng. Maalim sought continued support of the Kenya Government in the revitalization process of the regional organization.
He identified resource mobilization, staff rationalization and conflict management as some of the challenges that the institution continues to tackle. The Executive Secretary appealed to all Member States to meet their financial obligations and he mobilized resources for infrastructure development, food production and marketing, environment protection, conflict management and economic integration, among other projects.
In response, Rt. Hon. Odinga recognized the role that IGAD has played and pledged his support to the organization to meet its mandates.
"Despite many obstacles and challenges, IGAD has done very well to address the problems of the region", he observed adding that the crisis in Somalia has affected the peace and security of the whole sub-region. The Prime Minister promised the continued support of the Kenya Government to bring normalcy in the Horn of Africa country.
He expressed concern over the escalating world food and fuel prices and their effects on the countries of the region, urging IGAD to develop innovative programs to address the challenges of climate change that include famine, drought and natural resources management.