8 December 2020 (MOMBASA, Kenya): The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, this morning made a State of IGAD Address 2020 from Mombasa, Kenya.
This inaugural Address was the first in the history of the regional bloc and was broadcasted live via a Zoom link to IGAD Committee of Ambassadors, IGAD staff from across the region, IGAD citizenry, development partners with IGAD Management in attendance.
In his Address, the Executive Secretary reflected on the one year he has been at the head of the regional organisation, summarising the triple threat (COVID-19, Desert Locusts, Floods) the region had to confront as he entered office.
He recalled the resolve ‘to undertake major institutional reforms that would revitalise our organisation to better serve the citizens of our region’ during 2020’; which year turned to be a deadly one worldwide and in the region. Dr Workneh invited the audiences to pay tribute to healthcare workers for their courage and sacrifice in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘IGAD led the way in formulating the first Regional Emergency Response Strategy to COVID-19 in support of our Member States safeguard the lives and livelihoods of our people’, he said, pointing to the first ever IGAD virtual summit of Heads of State and Government of 30th March 2020 where the COVID-19 regional strategy originated.
The successive waves of Desert Locust invasions that swept across the region this same year, and which were described as the biggest and most intense witnessed in the last 25 years, were another major challenge Dr Workneh had to confront with during his first year at IGAD as the food security and nutrition status of 50 Million people – 1 out of every 5 of IGAD population – was threatened.
Besides, 2.4 Million were affected – including 700,000 who were displaced – by flooding between March and September 2020. ‘These floods signal the wider ecological challenges facing our region and are a clear indicator that climate change is real and it is here with us’, Dr Workneh said.
Nevertheless, ‘2020 has triggered a fresh perspective and a new way of thinking’ according to the Executive Secretary who outlined the ‘3Rs of IGAD’ – Response, Reform, Revitalisation – in his Address here attached in full.
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