5 February 2023, Mombasa, Kenya: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD’s) Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) successfully concluded a two-day Inter-Ministerial Forum for the Ministers of Justice/Attorney General, Police Commissioners/Inspector Generals, and IGAD Committee of Ambassadors to enhance the Regional Cooperation and Coordination against Transnational Security Threats (TSTs) held on 30-31 January 2023 in Mombasa, Kenya.
The overall objective of the forum was to forge and provide a policy-oriented guideline for effective regional cooperation and coordination between the Police and the Criminal Justice Sector. In addition, it was expected that Member States will have a common understanding of the varies transnational security threats affecting the region, the level of the threat to the States, the mechanisms put in place to prevent and counter the threats, and reach a consensus on a mechanism to strengthen the regional cooperation and coordination.
The Forum was presided over by Commander Abebe Muluneh, the Director of IGAD SSP, and officiated by H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, the Executive Secretary of IGAD. H.E. Ambassador Rahma Salih Elobied, Ambassador of Sudan to Djibouti as the Chairperson of IGAD; and Ms. Christine Agima, the Deputy Solicitor General & Chairperson of the Kenya Law Reform Commission on behalf of the Attorney General as a host country gave opening remarks.
H.E. Dr. Workneh in his opening remark highlighted on the numerous challenges the region is contending regarding the Transnational Security Threats and the tireless efforts of our leaders in the region along with partners in resolving and addressing the most national and transnational conflicts that threatened the stability of the region. Despite these efforts, however, Dr. Workneh pointed out the need to be vigilant to the threats that affect not just one country by saying “the impact of these transnational threats is not limited to one country, instead, because of our increasing inter-connectedness and inter-dependence, we are experiencing the ripple effects on neighboring countries, thereby making these hazards cross-border and transnational in nature and composition.” Hence, he emphasized the importance of regional cooperation and coordination.
The Forum started with an overview of the IGAD SSP’s effort to enhance regional cooperation and coordination. In addition, Member States shared their national experience and reflected on the mechanism available at the national level and the need for a regional approach to prevent and counter the transnational crimes affecting the States and the region at large. It was noted that the challenges faced by the States are not peculiar to individual states but rather are security problems to more than one State and regionally. Hence, the role of IGAD in supporting the Member States in their efforts to counter strategies to the threats was commended.
As part of the strategic priority area, i.e., enhancing regional cooperation and coordination against TSTs, of IGAD SSP, three major regional assessment reports were launched. These assessments were the following:
- Comprehensive Vulnerability Assessment on Transnational Security Threats (TSTs)
- Trends and Dynamics of International Terrorist Networks Such as Da’esh in the IGAD Region.
- Impact assessment on Previous IGAD SSP Interventions in all Member States including Inventories of Rendered Capacity Development Tasks and the Achievements
Furthermore, through a consultative and comprehensive approach, IGAD SSP presented for endorsement a “Regional Strategy to Prevent, Counter, and Respond to the Threat of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in the IGAD Region”. Accordingly, after a discussion on the process and the strategy, the IGAD Committee of Ambassadors and delegates of the Forum have fully endorsed the Strategy for further action.
The forum was concluded with a vote of thanks by Commander Abebe Muluneh, Director of IGAD SSP and a closing remark by H.E. Amb. Rahma, who officially closed the Forum.
The Forum was conducted with financial support from the European Union Trust Fund (EUTF) through the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) under the IPPSHAR Program.