IGAD Ambassadors endorse strategies and implementation plans for 2016-20

The 30th Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Committee of Ambassadors Meeting convened in Addis Ababa on Monday and Tuesday this week (June 6-7) has endorsed sectoral strategies and implementation plans to be implemented from 2016 to 2020.

The Chair of the IGAD council of Ambassadors, Ambassador Shamebo Fitamo, in his opening remarks pointed out that "The 55th Extra-Ordinary Meeting of IGAD Council of Ministers which was held on 30-31 January 2016, in Addis Ababa has approved the IGAD Regional Strategy 2016-2020 and its implementation plan." The IGAD Council of Ministers also authorized the IGAD committee of Ambassadors to approve the IGAD Sectoral Strategies. The Ambassador noted that the two-day meeting would focus on the IGAD Sectoral Strategies organized in six thematic areas; agriculture, livestock, fisheries and food security; natural resource management and environment protection; social affairs development; regional economic cooperation and integration; peace and security and humanitarian affairs; and gender issues. According to the Ambassador the meeting came at a time when the region was experiencing dynamic problems including climate change, security threats, fragility and conflict. He said the regional strategy has taken these dynamics into account along with new initiatives and the framework of the African Union Agenda 2063 and of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The meeting stressed that this would maximize opportunities.

Ambassador Shamebo also underlined that formulating a strategy was not an end in itself but was a process that would be followed up through a comprehensive five years implementation plan and annual operation plans. He noted that most importantly, "there must be appropriate and evaluation mechanisms under which the processes should be carried out with agreed indicators that could measure the impact of activities."

In his opening statement, the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Ambassador Engineer Mahboub Maalim noted that IGAD is on track and was indeed ahead of other Regional Economic Communities (RECs) on the regional integration agenda. This has led to improved livelihoods and economic development in the IGAD region. Ambassador Mahboub further noted that unless there was Member State cooperation and harmonization sustainability and easy implementation of IGAD programs and projects would not be realized.

After deliberating on the IGAD Sectoral Strategies, the IGAD Committee of Ambassadors gave its approval for their full implementation over the coming five years. Other items on the agenda included the approval of revised clauses in the IGAD Treaty, which were referred to the Council of Ministers for approval, and the implementation of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) for improved financial reporting and management to be implemented by the Division of Finance and Administration.

The Committee was updated on Member State contributions and on arrears and on the general IGAD financial status. Ambassador Catherine Mwangi, Kenyan Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti, requested the IGAD Secretariat to continuously remind the Committee of Ambassadors on their respective state's contributions and arrears and encourage them to update their capitals, so that IGAD programs can successfully be implemented.

The Committee also discussed with the IGAD Partners Forum on how to strengthen coordination and consultation between IGAD and the IGAD Partners Forum. The IGAD Partners Forum expressed its readiness to continue to work in collaboration with the IGAD secretariat in areas of economic development as well as on peace and security issues.

The two day meeting was attended by Ambassadors from the IGAD Member States, namely Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and Sudan as well as senior IGAD staff.