Addis Ababa July 20/2022/ENA/ The current circumstances compel the need for a paradigm shift to accept the impact of multiple shocks, including the war in Ukraine, and rethink resilience programing in the region, IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu said.

The 14th Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Drought Disaster Resilience Initiative (IDDRSI) under the theme “consolidating the path for resilience and sustainability: scaling up humanitarian actions and resilience investments” kicked off today.

In his opening remark, IGAD Executive Secretary Workneh Gebeyehu said the authority has been consistently working to strengthen resilience capacity in pastoral and agro-pastoral communities which contributed to regional integration.

“We are now in the midst of the worst drought in 4 decades. The number of food insecure people has risen exponentially from 40.2 million in May 2022 to over 50 million now,” he noted.

“To make matters worse,” the executive director underlined that “this is not just food crisis but a health crisis as well. Malnutrition among children, the elderly and women is in excess of 19 million in the three most affected countries, namely Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, accounting for 8.1, 4.1 and 7.1 million, respectively. Additionally, it is also an economic crisis with over 7 million heads of livestock which are the mainstay of pastoralist communities lost.”

The circumstances compel the need for a paradigm shift to accept the impact of the multiple shocks, including the war in Ukraine, Workneh stressed that changes must be made not only to do things differently but also a rethink of the resilience programing in the region.

Agriculture State Minister, Fikru Regassa said on his part that IGAD region faces diverse challenges that increase the vulnerability of communities and households to different shocks and stresses like recurrent droughts, floods and other climate-related disasters.

Thus, IGAD member countries have to make a considerable effort to build resilience capacities by designing projects through the support of different development partners, he added.

In this respect, the stated minister pointed out that the Ethiopian government recognizes drought prone communities in our sub-region share the same ecosystem, are interconnected through shared natural resources, socio-cultural values through interactions and socioeconomic transactions for cross border trade and transboundary human and animal movements.

 “Such practices along the cross-border areas have demanded a strong coordination, harmonization and integrated development efforts in dealing with drought and its resultant effects in the Horn of Africa,” he stated.

Furthermore, Fikru pointed out water development, rangeland rehabilitation, forage development, establishment of livestock market and health facilities are some of the important socio-economic infrastructures and services that should be dealt with by designing a more comprehensive development programs.

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