The IGAD Executive Secretary, H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu wishes to congratulate H.E. President Salva Kiir Mayardit, the Government and people of the Republic of South Sudan on the 10th Year Independence Anniversary of South Sudan. On this special day, the Special Envoy calls upon all South Sudanese not only to renew their vows and commitment in building a peaceful, democratic, all-inclusive and united South Sudan, but also to walk the talk together in harmony.
17th of June 2021: Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) held a Ministerial Conference on the Sustainable Management of Desert Locust and other Transboundary Pests. The meeting brought together Ministers of Agriculture from IGAD Member States as well as neighboring countries, such as Yemen, with the objective to reach a consensus on the required set of actions needed to control transboundary pests which are expected to increase under a changing climate. The Ministerial Conference was the culmination of a series of studies conducted by the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the French Development Agency as well as recommendations from IGAD technical and Ministerial meetings on Desert Locust since 2020. The endorsement by the Ministers of Agriculture of the region, of a route map to control transboundary pests, sets the basis for a more sustainable and efficient management of Desert Locust and other transboundary pests.
Eastern Africa has been battling the worst Desert Locust invasion in the last 70 years , as a result of the Indian Ocean’s warming and the increasing number of cyclones affecting the region. Outbreaks, like the current desert locust invasion, are expected to increase in the future, pointing to the need for increased investment in monitoring, control and early action. These require strong transnational early warning systems and control measures.
Countries in the region are still working to contain the desert locust outbreak, especially Ethiopia and Somalia. Pest outbreaks are one of the compounding shocks currently exacerbating food insecurity in the region, in addition to conflict, macro-economic challenges, the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, and the increasing frequency and intensity of climate extremes. H.E. Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, the IGAD Executive Secretary highlighted that “Our region remains one of the most vulnerable to food insecurity in the world. According to the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group statement for April 2021, there are over 32 million people faced by Crisis or worse food insecurity status (IPC/CH Phase 3 or higher) in the IGAD region.” In support of the inter-regional platform Dr Shobha Shetty, Manager in Agriculture and Food, Africa East/South of the World Bank stated “I am happy to announce that the World Bank has also just approved a $3 million grant to IGAD to start the inter-regional platform to facilitate exchanges among countries, regional organizations, and international organizations in the Horn of Africa.”
Here are the key points of the Joint Agenda for action that was endorsed by the Ministers:
Establish an inter-regional platform to facilitate exchanges between frontline countries in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and invasion countries. The platform will aim to enhance institutional arrangements and create a joint/coordinated strategy for frontline and invasion countries, coordinate response, training plans, sharing of information, and conducting south-south exchange programs to promote experience sharing and learning.
Enhance the provision of timely and actionable Early Warning information to all actors by strengthening the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC).
Develop Inter-regional Pests Early Warning System, national and regional risk assessment and crisis management plans, as well as, national and regional preparedness plans encompassing the required institutional and human capacity, infrastructure/technology, training programs, research, and information required for a sustainable national system.
Develop research agenda on the use of bio-pesticides, utilization of desert locusts for food/feed, the gene isolation for the identification of pheromone producing chemicals.
Establish public-private partnership (PPP) agreements at national and regional level to maintain and strengthen the availability of supplies and services needed to respond to desert locusts and other pest outbreaks, while learning from the current upsurge about the role of the private sector as a key partner in the fight against pests.
June 9, 2021: (KHARTOUM, Sudan): The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, yesterday concluded a two-day official visit to Sudan during which he held meetings with Prime Minister and IGAD Chair Abdalla Hamdok and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Yesterday afternoon, the Executive Secretary attended the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement and signed the document as a guarantor along with the representatives from the Troika countries of Norway, the USA and the UK. In the morning, he had presided over a hand over ceremony of equipment and supplies in the fight against COVID-19 to the Minister of Health of Sudan.
Dr Workneh was “honoured by the warm welcome” reserved to him by the Prime Minister and other Sudanese officials during his visit. In his discussions with the PM, he said that they “evaluated the prevailing peace and security situation” in the region. “We agreed on the importance of a regional approach towards the resolution of outstanding challenges as we are working altogether”, he continued before congratulating PM Dr Hamdok “for the recent progress registered by Sudan at large and for the Signing of the Juba Peace Agreement”.
The Executive Secretary also held a lengthy meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chair of IGAD Council of Ministers, Dr. Mariam Alsadig Almahdi, to discuss “peace and security, the efforts and support by our regional organisation in mediation and conflict resolution, COVID-19, Migration-including the IGAD Protocol on Free Movement of Persons”.
In the afternoon of June 8, Dr Workneh joined the Troika countries of Norway, the USA and the UK to co-sign the Juba Peace Agreement as a guarantor, which moment marked “a historic moment in the transition period of Sudan”, according to the Executive Secretary. He then sent his “congratulations to the leaders and people of Sudan for another achievement to be sustained with support from IGAD and partners”.
Dr Workneh took the opportunity of his visit to Khartoum to preside over a hand over ceremony along with the Minister of Health, Dr. Omer El-Nagieb, with representatives of the UN Office for Project Services, the International Organisation for Migration and UNICEF in attendance. “This is another handover event of three ambulances, a mobile laboratory, test kits and Personal Protective Equipment for a total amount of USD2million in our fight against #COVID19”, Dr Workneh said referring to previous similar events he conducted in other member countries. “This will serve Kassala, Gadareif and White Nile States, and the cross-border areas of Hamdiate, Galabat & Joda”, he continued.
According to the Executive Secretary, his two-day mission was productive as it allowed him to physically meet with the Chair of IGAD and the Chair of the IGAD Council of Ministers on the way forward for outstanding ordinary and extraordinary matters that need attention from the regional organisation. He also said his eagerness to see a smooth implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement and his conviction that Sudan will come through its transition period with success. He again committed IGAD to supporting the country during this critical transition period.