Kampala, 18th October 2012: Ministers for Environment and Natural Resources from IGAD Member States convened today in Kampala to adopt the regional environment policy and strategy as well as the environmental assessment policy framework for the Horn of Africa.
The ministers from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda are expected to make a declaration on sustainable management of natural resources and the environment in the region this evening.
Opening the meeting this morning, the State Minister for Water and Natural Resources of the Republic of Uganda, Hon. Betty Bigombe urged her colleagues to embrace the regional trans-boundary management protocol and practices whose principles and approach have added benefits of promoting conflict resolution over shared resource management, contributing to peace and security of the region and promoting efficiency in resource use through economies of scale.
“There is a need for us in the region to change and improve our old patterns of growth and make a transition to a new era of greener and cleaner development including adoption of sustainable production and consumption patterns,” she stated, calling it the green economy development path.
Welcoming the Minister, the IGAD Executive Secretary, Eng. Mahboub Maalim pointed out that drought and famine had become household names in the region with over 15 severe and devastating episodes in the last 40 years. He added that the drought cycles had shortened with harsher impacts.
“We have developed a regional program on drought disaster resilience and sustainability following a mandate given to us a year ago by a summit of Heads of State and Government from Eastern Africa to end drought emergencies in the region,” he informed the delegates, appealing for their support and cooperation in the implementation of the program at country level.
The Executive Secretary further announced that the IGAD Secretariat would be establishing an award for environmental recognition in honour of Dr. Tewolde Berhan G/egziabher, who is the Director General of Ethiopia’s Environmental Protection Authority.
Dr. Tewolde, who is also a world renowned environmentalist and the current chair of the IGAD Environment Ministerial Committee, addressed the gathering and thanked Eng. Mahboub for the honour and recognition.