Working with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to increase drought resilience in the Horn of Africa

Project description

Title: Strengthening IGAD’s capacity to enhance drought resilience in the Horn of Africa (SCIDA-II)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: IGAD Member States: Djibouti, Eritrea (currently suspended), Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda; project office in Djibouti
Lead executing agency: Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
Overall term: 2016 to 2018


In 2011, an extended drought caused a severe famine that impacted the lives of more than 10 million people in peripheral arid and semi-arid regions (ASAL) across the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA), prompting renewed calls for a paradigm shift. As a result, the focus has now switched from emergency responses to long-term interventions designed to enhance drought resilience in target communities. Member States of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) conduct these interventions jointly, backed by inputs from development partners, UN agencies and civil society. However, drought emergencies are not the only difficulty facing the Horn of Africa. Fragile statehood and internal and cross-border conflicts are forcing people from their homes and exhausting the GHA region’s natural ecosystems – the very bedrock of pastoral livelihoods, be it livestock or arable farming. Today, about 8.7 million refugees and migrants are on the move in an attempt to get away from violent conflict, decimated livelihoods or a lack of socio-economic prospects.

At their summit in Nairobi in September 2011, the IGAD Heads of State responded to the drought disaster by mandating the authority to spearhead the initiative ‘Ending Drought Emergencies in the Horn of Africa’. However, faced with a growing number of conflicts and other pressing issues, IGAD is now also turning its attention to the root causes of conflict and migration. Its ultimate objective here is to increase the resilience of communities and refugees in ASAL areas.

An important coordination mechanism in this context is the regional platform IGAD uses to implement its Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI). A 15-year strategy (2012 to 2027) designed to end drought emergencies, the IDDRSI mechanism now helps coordinate regional activities that not only target better drought resilience but better livelihood opportunities and pro-active approaches to conflict prevention and migration governance.


IGAD’s competences and services are strengthened in order to help coordinate and implement the Drought Disaster Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI). IDDRSI’s objectives are linked more closely with the fight to eliminate the causes of conflict and migration.


Building resilience requires a long-term regional approach that harnesses and coordinates national and regional initiatives. Besides promoting ASAL development and disaster risk management, these initiatives must also include a component on migration and peace and security. The GIZ project supports this approach by strengthening IGAD’s and its Member States’ capacity to develop adequate proactive policies and interventions to build drought disaster resilience.

The current project builds on the measures GIZ conducted in support of IDDRSI during the first phase from May 2012 through to December 2015. The project area comprises all IGAD Member States.

There are 5 project components with the following respective remits:

  1. Improve internal capacity for IDDRSI support at the IGAD Secretariat and within its institutions
  2. Boost IGAD’s capacity to deliver IDDRSI support services and to facilitate Member State implementation of cross-border IDDRSI activities
  3. Strengthen specific IGAD capacities for managing natural resources within selected IDDRSI clusters
  4. Strengthen peace and security as an integral part of cross-border IDRSSI measures
  5. Assist IGAD to build up the basic capacity it needs to deal with the drought resilience-migration nexus

With GIZ support, and as part of the drought resilience and sustainability initiative, a three-tier platform for coordination was introduced in 2012 consisting of a General Assembly, a 35+ member Platform Steering Committee, and a Platform Coordination Unit (PCU). The PCU is the main entity used to coordinate IDDRSI and to conduct interventions in cross-border areas. It does so by establishing cross-border facilitation units in selected ASAL. Therefore, one team of GIZ experts working with the PCU on IDDRSI is based in Djibouti. Here work is focusing on information sharing, on tools and services for monitoring purposes and on migration issues but also on building institutional capacities for managing the platform. Meanwhile, other experts are based in Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Here the focus is on conflict and cross-border interventions in coordination with other GIZ bilateral projects based in transboundary areas.


Between October 2013 and January 2017, the IDDRSI Steering Committee convened a total of seven meetings, along with three General Assemblies and an additional 2014 Summit to generate political support and identify progress made on resilience. The IDDRSI Steering Committee meetings provide a forum for exchange and have led to the development of recommendations and guiding principles on resilience, with an increasing focus on regional priorities such as migration.

The project has succeeded in setting up a cross-border office to facilitate transboundary cooperation in the Karamoja cluster. It has also implemented an assessment mission in Uganda and Ethiopia in support of national level cross-frontier work being conducted in cooperation with GIZ-funded initiatives.

Furthermore, IGAD and its Member States have undergone training to help them make use of knowledge sharing technologies and improve their monitoring and spatial planning skills. This training is also designed to improve the quality of exchanges and coordination between relevant stakeholders, making for harmonised and integrated IDDRSI implementation.

Other project activities in 2016 included new thematic areas to be mainstreamed within the broader IDDRSI strategy, such as the development of an intra-institutional migration working group and a web-based migration monitoring tool. In addition, cross-border mapping of transhumance corridors has been initiated in the Karamoja region across 4 IGAD member states (Ethiopia, Kenya, South-Sudan and Uganda).

Finally, the peace and security advisory services provided to the IGAD Conflict and Early Warning Response Mechanism (CEWARN) have also resulted in a number of multi-country capacity building initiatives that promote peace and security in conflict-prone ASAL regions.