IGAD Commits to Addressing Food Insecurity in East Africa

In 2023, reports indicate that approximately 24% of East Africa’s population faced significant food insecurity hence the International Governmental Authority on Development(IGAD) is taking strides to address the situation. The convention by IGAD at this moment reaffirms the commitment to strengthen national and regional efforts to address this crisis and enhance the resilience and livelihoods of vulnerable communities.

Food insecurity has been an issue grappled with for so long in the Eastern Africa region hence the prioritizing of food systems. The food systems must be strengthened by building resilience and empowering farmers with the knowledge of handling and managing amidst shifty climate impact times.

Notably, over 12 million people were in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), with 80,000 expected to reach Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5) in Somalia and South Sudan. As per the projections for April to June 2024 it is indicative of severe food insecurity for over 7 million in South Sudan and more than 3 million in Somalia. Additionally, 16 million people in Ethiopia are expected to need emergency food assistance in 2024.

Persistent food crises in the region are said to be exacerbated by conflict, climate-related, and economic shocks. IGAD recognizes that these factors create fragile food systems, adversely affecting socio-economic well-being and long-term development.

The forum on accelerating Food Systems Implementation in the IGAD Region emphasized sharing best practices, strengthening alignment with regional commitments, and accelerating implementation. Following the IGAD High-level Ministerial meeting in October 2022, consultative missions to Ethiopia and Somalia aimed to identify key priorities and support the operationalization of national food systems pathways.

FAO Resilience Team Leader for Eastern Africa Cyril Ferrand, IGAD Head of Mission in Kenya Dr. Fatuma Adan and EU Delegation Kenya Programme Manager Stephen Wathome share thoughts during the IGAD Ministerial Meeting on identifying common opportunities and gaps in implementing and accelerating sustainable national pathways for food security systems transformation in the IGAD Region.

A two-day workshop in Naivasha, Kenya, and a Ministerial meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, held from June 26-28, gathered senior experts and policymakers from Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan to discuss common strategies and reaffirm commitments.

Key declarations from the forum include:

  1. Committing to regional and national capacity-building to translate policy commitments into actionable results for sustainable food systems and crisis prevention.
  2. Encouraging national-level progress in food systems to extend to sub-national levels, prioritizing the most vulnerable.
  3. Reaffirming national leadership in coordinating ministerial priorities into development planning frameworks.
  4. Urging IGAD to develop a regional food systems communications strategy to sustain political support.
  5. Strengthening coordination mechanisms within governments and with stakeholders to prioritize regional and national needs.
  6. Building data management solutions with accurate, updated data, and employing monitoring, evaluation, and learning (MEL) frameworks.
  7. Recommending financing mechanisms that include national budget allocations, development partners’ resources, and private sector investments.
  8. Ensuring a balance between humanitarian and development priorities, focusing on sustainable solutions that incorporate humanitarian-development-peace approaches.

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