Regional leaders to develop disaster resilience strategy
Leaders from the Horn of Africa region have resolved to develop the Horn of Africa Regional Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Strategy Framework to reduce the impact of disasters in the region.
In a communiqué issued at the end of a one-day Summit on the Horn of Africa Crisis that was read by Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula at the United Nations Complex at Gigiri, the leaders also agreed to create and support a Multi-donor Trust Fund for drought and other disasters that will be anchored in the IGAD secretariat.
The summit whose theme was “Ending drought emergencies: a commitment to sustainable solutions” was attended by President Mwai Kibaki, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Salva Kiir of South Sudan, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of Somalia and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia while Burundi and Uganda were represented by their ministers for International Cooperation and Foreign Affairs respectively.
The leaders also resolved to ensure efficient utilization of water resources in the region under existing and future co-operative frameworks.
They encouraged the shift from reliance on rain-fed agriculture to irrigation as a measure to addressing food shortages and improving food security.
The leaders also reaffirmed their support to the Dry Land Initiative that has been launched by six Horn of Africa countries namely: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda to promote integrated rural development.
They also decided to integrate drought risk reduction and climate change adaptation into development planning and resource allocation frameworks.
On peace and security, the leaders resolved to intensify cooperation in promoting cross-border peace, trade and mobility.
They commended the governments and people of Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya for receiving, hosting and assisting thousands of Somali refugees affected by conflict and famine despite facing a drought situation.
The summit also called on the United Nations and the international community to consider enhancing the mandate of AMISOM from peace keeping to peace enforcement and deploy UN Peace Keeping troops to assist in stabilizing Somalia.
On his part, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said that the international community has the responsibility to fulfill its obligations in mitigating the effects of climate change in the least polluting countries.
Noting that climate change presented a grave threat to the stability and prosperity of countries in this region, Kenya included, Raila said it was unfortunate that those suffering most from human induced climate change crisis are the least responsible .
He pointed out that populations in arid and semi arid areas contributed essentially nothing to climate change and cited Kenya, saying emission from the country is itself far below the global average of 7 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Raila called for lasting solutions to the underlying causes of drought emergencies saying populations in the horn of Africa must re-orient their thinking and resources towards the long term so that crisis does not happen again.
The lasting solutions, he noted, included having functioning infrastructure to facilitate marketing, promote stability and reduce the cost of doing business.
And added, “They mean investment in our education and health systems to reach those who are currently un-reached by unconventional models of service delivery ,they mean developing and scaling up the adoption of renewable energy technologies and taking advantage of the arid lands in solar, wind and biogas.”
He went on to say that lasting solutions required that efforts be renewed to stamp out the curse of inter-communal violence and an array of technical interventions that will build more sustainable livelihoods including boosting livestock, crop and fodder production and harvesting rainwater and expanding irrigation.
“All these investments will yield the greatest impact if we also strengthen the institutional framework through which they are planned, financed and delivered, at both global and national levels,” he said.
The Prime Minister expressed confidence that Kenya would soon have a National Drought Management Authority in place that will give the requisite leadership in drought management.
He said, “it will be a permanent, professional institution that will be thinking about drought preparedness and mitigation well before signs of stress are evident.”
At regional level, Raila said there was need for effective modalities of sharing boundary resources and managing border controls to improve security.
“There are positive experiences in our various countries from which we can end cross-border inter-communal violence and manage shared resource better,” he added.
Source – kbc