A Week in the Horn 9.6.2017
This week’s edition includes topics:
* Prime Minister Hailemariam’s official visit to the State of Israel
* Ethiopia calls for win-win cooperation over trans-boundary water resources
* An IGAD Extraordinary Summit to be held on South Sudan next week
* Eritrea’s President writes to members of the UN Security Council
* Ethiopia’s path and progress towards Green Industrialization
* Kenya’s new Nairobi to Mombasa railway
* Poor seasonal rains for the Horn of Africa during March to May
News in brief
Africa and the African Union
Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, in a statement issued on Monday (June 5) strongly condemned the terrorist attack in London at the weekend and expressed the AU’s steadfast rejection of all terrorist attacks, underlining the need to continue the fight against the scourge of violent extremism and hate. He extended his “sincere condolences to the families who lost their loved ones and his wishes for a full recovery of those injured”.
The European Union and the African Union issued a joint statement on Thursday last week reaffirming their strong commitment to full implementation of the Paris agreement, and calling on all partners to keep up the momentum created in 2015. The statement said climate change and renewable energy would figure on the agenda of the Africa-EU Summit in Abidjan on November 29-30. It would also confirm their strong solidarity with the most vulnerable countries and their determination to work together to build strong and sustainable economies and societies resilient to climate change.
The latest Famine Early Warning News Network (FEWS) report describes the performance of the March to May seasonal rains has been very poor over much of southern and central areas of Somalia, southeastern Somalia, and northern/north-eastern Kenya and southern and south-eastern Ethiopia. (See article)
Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General, has called for more determined action by African governments to promote Africa’s “Energy for all” campaign aiming for a ‘low carbon’ transition to provide sustainable electricity for Africa. He said Africa’s plans for a green electricity industry should be a showcase for the Paris Climate Change accords. He noted little climate adaptation funding had yet been released, largely because of a lack of integrated plans and policies for rapid expansion of energy provision. Those countries pushing sustainable energy projects, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Morocco and South Africa, were already bringing in substantial outside finance. He also drew attention to the paucity of regional and cross-border power projects with less than 8% of power currently traded across border.
The Chairman of the AU High-level Panel on financing the AU in a sustainable manner, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, has praised Ethiopia for its efforts to reduce dependency of the African Union on foreign countries and to become financially self-reliant.During a meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam at the weekend Dr. Kaberuka said: “Ethiopia has always paid its dues. In fact when the AU had some problems recently Ethiopia even increased its participation and we have the full support of the Ethiopian government”
A twelve-day post-conflict recovery course, organized by Ethiopia’s Peace Support Training Centre in partnership with the government of Japan, opened in Addis Ababa on June 5. Attended by high ranking military officials from Burundi, Central African Republic, Comoros, Liberia, Mali, South Sudan and Tanzania, it focuses on protection of civilians, international humanitarian law, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and economic development.
President Dr. Mulatu laid the foundation stone for the construction of the Addis-Africa International Convention and Exhibition Center (AAICEC) in Addis Ababa on Saturday (June 3). The state of the art center, public-private partnership, to cost US$130 million, will include a conference hall, exhibition centers, a five-star hotel, restaurants and business centers. Construction will be by China’s CGCOC Group. The project is being built in three phases and stage one will take three years.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn made a four-day official visit to Israel (June 5-8) at the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The delegation included First lady Roman Tesfaye, Foreign Minister, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu and the Ministers of Defense, Livestock and Fisheries, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Water and Energy Minister, Culture and Tourism, and Trade and Investment Minister. (See article).
Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Dr. Tekeda Alemu, calls for realism and commitment to a spirit of cooperation at a UN Security Council briefing on Preventive Diplomacy and Trans-boundary Water Resources. (See article)
State Minister Hirut Zemene received the United Nations Secretary-General’s Humanitarian Envoy, Ahmed Al Meraikhi, and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Partnerships with the Middle East and Central Asia, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Rashid Khalikov as well as Commissioner for Political Affairs of the African Union, Ms. Minata Samate Cessouma on Thursday (June 08). Discussions aimed to raise awareness on the current drought in the Horn of Africa region and accelerate resource mobilization to respond to the challenge.
State Minister, Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael briefed a 20-member delegation representing all the regional states of Ethiopia before it left for Saudi Arabia on Saturday (June 3) to encourage illegal Ethiopian residents to leave the Kingdom before the deadline on June 30. The delegation will talk to members of the Diaspora in their own languages. Dr. Aklilu said about 50,000 Ethiopian migrants have obtained exit visas and 15,000 have arrived safely. They are being allowed to bring belongings in tax-free and Ethiopian Airlines has scheduled extra flights to transport Ethiopian passengers returning from Saudi Arabia in addition to its 21 weekly flights to, Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Medina.
State Minister Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael met a delegation led by Mr. Joseph Rispoli, IOM Senior Regional Specialist for the Labour Mobility and Human Development (LHD) Division for East and Southern Africa on Thursday (June 08) and discussed on ways of enhancing cooperation on Diaspora engagement.
State Minister Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael met with a US business delegation representing Abbot Laboratories on Thursday (June 08, 2017). Abbot Laboratories is a global healthcare company that conducts innovative research and manufactures products for human health. The two sides have exchanged views on possibilities of working together for the advancement of Ethiopia’s health care facility.
A recent report on “Catalyzing innovation for Green Innovation- Ethiopia’s bold ambition” says Ethiopia is showing Africa and the world what can be done when there is sufficient political will to chart a new course towards a more sustainable future. It says that Ethiopia can serve as an example for much of the continent in “progressive green growth and industrialization agendas.” (See article)
A five-year program for capacity building of democratic institutions in Ethiopia was launched by the United Nations Development Program on Tuesday (June 7). The program will cost some US$40 million and it expected to support an all-inclusive and sustainable development agenda, strengthening public institutions, mechanisms and processes that facilitate and promote transparency, accountability, rule of law and access of justice as well as wider civic participation.
Ethiopian Airlines won the African Aviation ‘African Airline of the Year’ Award for 2017, for the second year in a row, during the 26th Annual Air Finance Africa Conference and Exhibition held in Johannesburg, South Africa last week. The award was presented to Ethiopian in recognition of its continued rapid growth, increased profitability and its outstanding contribution to aviation development in Africa.
Ethiopian Airlines will host the second ICAO Global Air Cargo Development Forum at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa later this month (June 27 – 29). The theme of the Forum will be “Action for the Sustainable Development of Air Cargo in Africa”, aimed at achieving progress towards the implementation of the Lomé Declaration, as well as identifying challenges and opportunities and building on the decisions of the 39th ICAO Assembly.
Djibouti’s Minister of Islamic Affairs, Culture and Endowment, Moumin Hassan Barreh, on an official visit to Saudi Arabia last week, signed a cooperation protocol with the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, Sheikh Saleh bin Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Al Sheikh, to cover religious work, correct ideas, prioritize and confront religious extremism and deviant ideas by means of advocacy, education and awareness.
The World Bank is launching a new project to bring electricity to around 14,000 of the poorest households in Djibouti. The US$23.3 million project will connect more households to the national grid, and provide more street lighting, as well as extend the medium-voltage grid to the interior of the country for the first time, as well as finance the drafting of a National Sustainable Electrification Program to chart the course toward universal access to electricity based on expansion of the power grid and the development of renewable energy.
President Isaias has sent messages to several Heads of State of UN Security Council members urging them to use their influence in the UN Security Council to redress what he called “the injustices perpetrated against Eritrea.” (See article)
The World Heritage Committee has adopted the recommendation and draft decision to inscribe Asmara on the UNESCO World Heritage sites list. Asmara’s nomination will be examined by the Committee at its 41st session that is to be held from 2-12 July, 2017, in Poland. Last December, the European Union, signed a 2 year cooperation program with the Asmara Heritage Project, aiming at building the capacity for safeguarding Asmara’s historic urban environment.
President Kenyatta who extended his heartfelt condolences to the people of London after the terrorist attack there, called for a concerted stand by states, civil society and all citizens against extremism, to delegitimize fanatical ideologies, and stem radicalization. He said he supported enhanced collaboration with the UK and all other countries targeted by terrorists and extremists.
The first major new railway line in Kenya for more than a century opened on Wednesday last week. Linking Nairobi and Mombasa the 480 kms Standard Gauge Railway will cut the journey time from 12 hours to four hours, providing cheaper and faster journeys and provide a major freight link for development. (See article)
President Mohamed Abdullahi, Prime Hassan Ali Khayre, cabinet ministers, and military and security commanders and government officials attended a colorful celebration to mark the government’s first 100 Days on Sunday (June 4). The President noted the need for public support to defeat Al-Shabaab while Prime Minister Khayre spoke of the achievements of the government including payment of civil service salaries, and improvements in security in Mogadishu.
A ministerial delegation travelled to Saudi Arabia this week to discuss development and investment projects. The delegation, led by Gamal Hassan, Minister for Planning, Investment and Economic Development, included the Minister of Finance, Ports and Marine Transport, Defence and Agriculture.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday expressing its deep concern and calling for dialogue to end the differences between Gulf countries and within the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. ,” read the statement. It extended an offer to help find solutions to the dispute.
A ship with 13,000 tons of food and humanitarian aid for Somalia left Turkey at the weekend. The shipment was prepared by the Turkish Red Crescent, Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, and Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency. Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister VeysiKaynak said Turkey’s aid was not limited to humanitarian aid. It was constructing a military education facility in Mogadishu to train security personnel that would fight terror and it hoped to start development projects.
China has donated more than 2,821 tons of rice for the World Food Program’s Somalia operations. This donation follows China’s commitment to food assistance at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing last month. The aid will travel along the Maritime Silk Road and arrive in Somalia next month.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has so far treated more than 12 million animals in less than three months in Somalia. By mid-July, FAO will have reached 22 million animals, benefiting over 3 million people and protecting the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of families. FAO is deploying 150 veterinary teams across Somalia to treat goats and sheep as well as cattle and camels, up to 270,000 animals each day. The teams are made up of local Somali veterinary professionals.
The Burundi National Defense Forces deployed a new battle group to serve under AMISOM on Monday (June 5). AMISOM Sector Five Commander said the outgoing battalion had played a key role in implementing Operation Antelope, whose objective is to open up and secure main supply routes, particularly in the Hir-Shabelle state, in liberating parts of Somalia, and the troops had exhibited discipline and always observed the rules of engagement. They had, he said, done very well.
The President of Puntland, Abdiwali Mohamed Ali “Gaas” has replaced nine Ministers, Deputy Ministers and State Ministers as well as a Minister to a new Ministry of Reconstruction and Development. The new appointments also included a Minister of Information, a post vacant for the last eight months.
IGAD has called an Extra-Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Assembly to be held on Monday (June 12) in Addis Ababa to discuss South Sudan. This follows reports from the Chair of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission on the situation, the latest efforts to convene the President’s National Dialogue, and consultations with IGAD Member States. (See article)
President Omer al-Bashir has renewed calls for armed movements to renounce violence and join the peace process. He said the national dialogue offered answers to issues that have been the subject of controversy since independence and emphasized that the outcome of the national dialogue would be integrated into the country’s 2017- 2020 strategic plan. Speaking on Monday (June 5) he also underlined continued efforts to develop the military capabilities and defense system of the army. He said: “Our call to achieve a lasting peace will not prevent us from seeking to build and develop our military capabilities and defense systems because peace that is not guarded by force will be subject to abortion and collapse.”
President Omer al-Bashir issued a presidential decree on Tuesday (June 6) to allocate 2.4 million feddans of land in the River Nile State for a national agricultural scheme in Wadi Al-Hawad valley. The National Investment Authority said Al Dhahirah Agricultural Holding Company, from the United Arab Emirates, had expressed interest in investing US$10 billion in the project in 2015.
Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Ibrahim Ghandour met with Egyptian Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry in Cairo on Saturday (June 3) and held what were described as “honest” and “transparent” discussions. They spoke of the “holy” relations binding the two Nile-Basin nations, and Mr. Shoukry said they were working toward a frank dialogue capable of removing misunderstandings and confusion.
Prime Minister Hailemariam’s official visit to the State of Israel
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn made a four-day official visit to Israel this week (June 5-8) at the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Prime Minister was accompanied by First lady Roman Tesfaye and a delegation which included Foreign Minister, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu; Defense Minister, Siraj Fegeta; and the Ministers of Livestock and Fisheries, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Water and Energy Minister, Culture and Tourism, and Trade and Investment Minister, and other senior officials.
On the first day, the Prime Minister held talks with President Reuven Rivlin, President of the State of Israel. Their discussions covered the increasing bilateral relations between the two nations and peoples as well as international issues of interest to both states. President Rivlin expressed his desire to bolster further the deep historical relations between the two countries. He assured Prime Minister Hailemariam that Israel would cooperate with Ethiopia in the exchange of knowledge and technology in the agricultural sector, and it would also encourage Israeli companies to invest in Ethiopia. Prime Minister Hailemariam thanked the President for the warm welcome given to his delegation and expressed his readiness to facilitate Israeli government and private sector participation in Ethiopia. He also emphasized the strong link Ethiopia has with Israel and the long-standing relationship dating back to the time of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. He also underlined the role played by the more than 140, 000 Ethiopian Jews in building a strong bridge between the two peoples.
On Tuesday (June 6), Prime Minister Hailemariam met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. Prime Minister Netanyahu said Ethiopia and Israel had increased their economic cooperation following his visit to Ethiopia last year, adding that Israel was keen to deepen its cooperation with Ethiopia, particularly in water, agriculture, in heath and security. He said: “Israel is a world leader in these fields and we hope that by working together we can solve some pressing problems, and provide a better future for both our peoples. We intend to cooperate today in areas of irrigation, local development, fishing, milk, cattle.” Prime Minister Netanyahu, who commended Ethiopia’s unwavering commitment in the fight against terrorism, underlined the need for joint efforts to defeat this global threat. He said: “Ethiopia takes a strong stand in the fight against terrorism, particularly against Al-Shabaab. We must continue to work together to defeat this scourge, across the world, in Africa, in Europe, just recently in London, in America, in Asia. We have to fight together against these forces of barbarism because we must seize the future, we must advance modernity.”
Prime Minister Hailemariam agreed on the need to join hands to successfully fight terrorism and underlined the importance of strengthening cooperation in this regard. He also appreciated Israel’s focus on Africa saying it is both useful and constructive to promote mutual beneficiary relations with African countries. Ethiopia, he said, would keep up its expectations. The Israeli Prime Minister, who offered his congratulations on the election of Dr. Tedros Adhanom as Director General of the World Health Organization, noted that Israel had fully supported his election. He said he hoped Ethiopia would, in return, support Israel’s return to the African Union as an observer state, adding, “I think and I believe that this is not only in our interest but it is in the interest of Africa.” Prime Minister Netanyahu who had just returned from attending an ECOWAS conference in Liberia on Sunday (June 4), stressed: “Israel is returning to Africa, and Africa is returning to Israel. But it was made possible by your friendship and your leadership, along with several of your colleagues and I deeply appreciate that. We view Africa as a continent on the rise. We understand that there are challenges – we have them too. But we sense that there is an opportunity to seize the future. Since my visit to Ethiopia, we’ve increased our economic cooperation, and I look forward to deepening that today”. During the bilateral meeting, discussions covered agriculture, defense and public security as well as other issues. At the end of talks, Ethiopia’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister, and Israel’s Agriculture Minister, signed agreements to cooperate in the agricultural sector; and signed aMemorandum of Understanding.
Later on Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara hosted dinner for Prime Minister Hailemariam and his wife Roman. At the dinner, Ester Rada sang the Amharic song “Nanu Ney,” as well as Ehud Manor’s “I Have No Other Country,” which was set to music by Korin Elal. Prime Minister Hailemariam wrote in the guest book that it was a privilege to have such a reception. He said: “I am committed to deepen our people-to-people friendship and government to government relations and above all my personal friendship with Prime Minister Netanyahu… [The] Ethiopia Israel relationship is very historic. Long live our relations and fraternal life. God bless Israel, God bless Ethiopia.”
Earlier in the visit, Prime Minister Hailemariam met with Ethiopians and Israeli nationals of Ethiopian origin residing in Israel, in Jerusalem. He briefed participants, representatives of the different community organisations in Israel, on the situation in Ethiopia focusing on the effort made to strengthen and consolidate peace, development and democratic institutions in the country and challenges the country faced. He emphasised the need to strengthen good governance and fight malpractices in providing efficient services to the public. The Prime Minister underlined the need to enhance Ethiopia’s achievement in attracting Foreign Direct Investment as there was a new generation of trained young people looking for employment. He indicated the role the Ethiopian community should play to create businesses, identify investors and encourage them to invest, promote tourism and technology transfer. Participants at the meeting raised a number of questions and issues of concern around hurdles that hampered the community in building a strong bond with their country of origin. These included the issue of Ethiopian Origin ID Cards, “Yellow Cards”, procedures for Ethiopian immigrants to acquire Ethiopian passports, a bureaucracy that discouraged participation in investment, the protection required for historical and family remains and artefacts in their places of origin in Ethiopia. They also underlined the need for the government to negotiate with the Israeli Government to make renovation and preservation of the Deir El Sultan monastery in Jerusalem a reality.
The Prime Minister explained the renewal of the status of the ID card was now complete and said implementation would soon start. The issue of passports had to be handled with care as it needed verification of proper documents proving identity. He encouraged the participants to work closely with the Ethiopian Embassy in Tel Aviv to facilitate investment and encourage trade and tourism promotion efforts. He assured Israeli citizens of Ethiopian Origin that the government was focused and seriously working to preserve their heritage. It was, indeed, finalising the establishment of a museum to tell their story and he called upon them to help the museum reflect their history properly. Prime Minister Hailemariam assured representatives of the Ethiopian monasteries in Israel that he is closely following up on the issue to help renovate the monasteries. The Prime Minister concluded his remarks calling on the Ethiopians and Israeli nationals of Ethiopian origin to contribute to the strengthening of relations between the two governments and peoples and build a bridge for the new generation to know their own history and connections fully.
During his visit to Israel, Prime Minister Hailemariam made a number of other visits, including the holy sites of Jerusalem, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. At the Hebrew University, he emphasized his interest to encourage facilitation of exchange of knowledge and technology in the agriculture and public health sectors, in which the University is known for its excellence and leading role in the scientific community. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem was opened in 1925 and is Israel’s premier university as well as its leading research Institution. The University is ranked among the 100 leading universities in the world and first among Israeli Universities. The Rector and President of the University met the Prime Minister and briefed him on the work being done in Public Health Program as well as in low cost and environmentally friendly technology for water use in agriculture. Prime Minister Hailemariam thanked faculty members for their presentations and expressed Ethiopia’s readiness to closely work with the University in sharing their experience in technology transfer and capacity building in various sectors through the provision of expertise and training. He also expressed Ethiopia’s determination to make every possible effort to ensure the success of a partnership with the University.
The Prime Minister and members of his delegation visited the Holy sites of Jerusalem, among them the Deir El Sultan Ethiopian monastery, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Wailing Wall. The Ethiopian monks at the monastery briefed the Prime Minister on the current status of the monastery and requested government assistance for its renovation. The Prime Minister thanked the monks for their determined efforts in maintaining the status of the monastery despite the enormous challenges they faced. He promised to closely work with the Israeli authorities and other stakeholders to find solutions to enable the monastery be renovated and improve its status vis-à-vis other churches. The land of the Deir El Sultan monastery was a gift to the Queen of Sheba from King Solomon and the site has been under the Ethiopian Orthodox Church at least since the 16th century. The Prime Minister and the delegation also visited the administrative office of the Ethiopian Orthodox Churches in and around Jerusalem and discussed issues of maintenance and preservation of these holy sites.
Prime Minister Hailemariam visited Mount Herzl, laid a wreath on Herzl grave and planted a memorial tree at the “Grove of Nations” ceremony in Jerusalem forest. He also went to the Yad Vashem Martyrs’ and Heroes Memorial of the Holocaust, which illustrates the history of the holocaust thematically and chronologically and depicts the atrocities committed on 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime throughout Europe and North Africa. He laid a wreath at the Hall of Remembrance and concluded his visit by signing the guest book. His message said the crime committed against innocent people by bankrupt ideologists should never be allowed to happen again.”Sensible and responsible governments should work together to uphold human dignity in the spirit of hope and love to assure peace and security to all our peoples.” The Prime Minister also underlined the need to fight terrorism in all its forms before it could evolve into a mass killing machine as had happened during the Second World War.
On his last day in Israel, Prime Minister Hailemariam also met with representatives of a number of Israeli anchor companies to discuss the possibilities of increased investment in Ethiopia. Representatives of 13 companies engaged in the development of water resources and energy, agriculture and production and distribution of related technologies said they are ready to exploit the stable macroeconomic situation. Some of these are already involved in investment undertakings in Ethiopia and expressed their intention to expand their involvement.
Mr. Ramzi Gabay, Chairman of the Israeli Institute of Foreign Trade that co-organized the meeting in collaboration with the Ethiopian Embassy, noted that current cooperation between the two countries was essentially limited to agriculture. He urged the need to widen areas of cooperation and said more attention should be given to technological innovations. The Prime Minister said Ethiopia’s potential in the agriculture and renewable energy sectors combined with its green economy strategy provided ample opportunity for investors who wish to engage in those areas. He also briefed the meeting about the provision of attractive investment incentives as well as the quota and duty free opportunities to U.S and EU markets. He underlined the government’s commitment to provide all necessary support for companies who wished to invest. He assured the business representatives that Ethiopia was ready to work with foreign companies to create more jobs, facilitate knowledge transfer and ensure development.
The exchange of visits, Prime Minister Netanyahu to Ethiopia last year and now Prime Minister Hailemariam to Israel, has strongly enhanced the longstanding historic and bilateral relations between Ethiopian and Israel. Prime Minister Hailemariam’s visit has created an additional focus for Ethiopian-Israeli co-operation in terms of development and investment in agriculture and green industrialization in Ethiopia, technological transfer and training in different sectors in which Israeli expertise is predominate. They agreed to encourage major Israeli companies to invest in Ethiopia. The two leaders recognized the important role of the more than 140,000 Ethiopian Jews residing in Israel as a bridge to help create even closer bonds between the two peoples. Overall, the visit of Prime Minister Hailemariam to Israel demonstrated a bright future for the relationship of two countries working closely together for the mutual benefit of both their peoples.
Ethiopia calls for win-win cooperation over trans-boundary water resources
The UN Security Council held a briefing session on Tuesday (June 6) on Preventive Diplomacy and Trans-boundary Water Resources. This is the second occasion the Security Council has discussed the issue of water security following a briefing session last year during Senegal’s Presidency of the Council. With Bolivia this month’s UN Security Council chair, President Evo Morales, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia presided.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres briefed the Council, stressing “water, peace and security” were inextricably linked, Highlighting the increasing demand and the increasing effects of climate change, he noted that without effective management of shared water resources, communities and nations would risk an intensified disputes and even increased tensions. Three-quarters of UN Member States shared rivers or lake basins with their neighbors. There were more than 270 internationally shared river basins, which served as the primary source of fresh water for approximately 40% of the world’s population. This, he said, was why it is essential that nations cooperate to ensure water is shared equitably and used sustainably. Referring to his own experience in water management between Portugal and Spain, when he was Prime Minister of Portugal, the Secretary General, noted the difficult path the two countries had had in finding reasonable solutions. He said: “Something that looked almost impossible became easy when there was political will to do it and once there was political will to do it, nobody paid the price; on the contrary, everybody benefitted.” He added that this has to serve as a lesson that could be used in many parts of the world, where people are afraid to go the extra mile to reach an agreement with a neighbor or with a partner.
President Morales of Bolivia underlined that the planet was under water stress. He said water was a finite, vulnerable and scarce resource, and it must be protected as a source of livelihood.The President emphasized the importance of allocating enough resources for water projects and initiatives pointing out that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development had also highlighted the need for States to achieve responsible water management. As high percentage of water reserves were shared by two States or more, the President said, “overcoming water disputes required dialogue and cooperation.”
In the discussion that followed, Council members stressed the need for cooperation in managing trans-boundary water resources, in turning shared water issues into opportunities and using them as a source of mutual benefit and regional integration mechanisms. They emphasized that to implement the SDG 6 and Water and Sanitation Goals and targets within the framework of the 2030 Agenda, financial and capacity building assistance should be given for developing countries, particularly to the Least Developed Countries. They underlined the importance of technology transfer and building effective governance institutions to enhance water management. In addition, they stressed the need for political leaders to make cooperation a priority and empower technical experts. Noting the relationship between water scarcity and climate change, council members also call for the full implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.
The Permanent Representative of Egypt reflected his country’s position on the Nile and outlined a number of issues including the need for consultations between riparian countries prior to the construction of projects involving shared watercourses to avoid any negative effect; the need for international donors and banks to respect global standards on construction along trans-boundary watercourses, and the need to avoid the principles of equitable utilization on the use of water resources that could cause harm to other downstream countries. He called upon the Council to take action on this issue and consider producing an outcome document in the form of a resolution.
The Permanent Representative of Ethiopia, Ambassador Tekeda Alemu expressed Ethiopia’s firm conviction that trans-boundary rivers and lakes should be used as source of genuine cooperation and partnership between governments and their peoples. For this to be realized, however, required overcoming obstacles to a win-win approach which, he said, included political, psychological and cultural matters as well as other impediments. Avoiding tensions and conflicts in using trans-boundary resources, he said, required “wisdom, realism and the commitment to a spirit of cooperation, with no desire to monopolize trans-boundary water resources,” The colonial history of Africa makes this issue all the more critical.
Ambassador Tekeda expressed Ethiopia’s strong conviction that water can be instrumental in transforming a potentially conflictive situation to one of cooperation and partnership. He said “creating and building a win-win partnership is indeed possible as long as states accept that trans-boundary resources must be used equitably and reasonably.” With the right political will, unwavering commitment to continued dialogue to solve disagreements and participatory mechanisms, trans-boundary rivers created a favorable condition for peace, economic cooperation, and regional integration that could benefit all riparian States. Ambassador Tekeda emphasized that Ethiopia remained committed to, and actively pursue cooperative mechanisms in the utilization of trans-boundary waters, including the Nile River.
Ambassador Tekeda also said the Nile Basin, as a natural endowment belonging to all riparian states, should lead to strengthened friendship and greater understanding and expressed Ethiopia’s firm commitment to continue the regional dialogue in light of achieving shared prosperity in the region and overcoming poverty. This would conform with the 2030 agenda “whose major clarion call is leaving no one behind,” he stressed. The issue of trans-boundary water resources is best addressed by the General Assembly and the UN Economic and Social Council, (ECOSOC), where the Sustainable Development Goals and 2030 Agenda were thoroughly discussed. Using these forums, the timely and full implementation of the SDGs, he said, would prevent conflict and ensure inclusive development for all, he noted. For this to be realized, he emphasized that an enhanced international cooperation would help to fully implement SDG 6 and other water and water related development goals particularly the least developed countries.
Ambassador Tekeda said the Nile Basin Initiative was the best forum for cooperation and partnership for the Nile Basin region. He pointed out the riparian states had negotiated over the Nile River Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) for almost 13 years. Six riparian states had signed and three had ratified the Agreement. He expressed the hope that the remaining three riparian states would ratify the agreement, paving the way for the establishment of a permanent River Basin Commission.Another clear manifestation of regional cooperation was the signing of the Declaration of Principles by the leaders of the three Eastern Nile countries, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan. This cooperation now needed to be strengthened further. Ambassador Tekeda said countries should avoid differences through dialogue anchored on the principles of mutual understanding and respect. He stressed that internationalizing the issues would not help; it would instead complicate matters undermining efforts at the bilateral and regional levels.
An IGAD Extraordinary Summit to be held on South Sudan next week
Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government, has called for an Extra-Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Assembly to be held on Monday (June 12) in Addis Ababa. This follows reports from the Chair of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission on the unfolding situation in South Sudan, the latest efforts to convene President Kiir’s National Dialogue, and consultations with IGAD Member States. A statement from IGAD said the Summit is expected to deliberate on the dire security and humanitarian situation facing South Sudan. The deteriorating security situation has resulted in sharp increase of internally displaced persons and refugees, requiring IGAD Leaders to speak with one voice to abate the crisis. It said IGAD’s consultations with the African Union and the United Nations had also highlighted that the region should to lead the way for a concerted effort to bring forward the dialogue to solve the problem in South Sudan.
The statement said it was sad to note that the situation was expected to become worse with the onset of the rainy season. It said the neighboring countries of South Sudan and the international community were making every effort to ameliorate the catastrophic situation. However, the continued armed conflict and the difficulties being faced in transporting the humanitarian supplies to the needy population were matters that IGAD Member States view with extreme concern. IGAD Member States, since the eruption of the conflict in December 2013, have been seized unilaterally and collectively with the problem of South Sudan. They believe that the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (ARCSS) signed between the Government and the Opposition in 2015 charts the way forward to bring enduring peace, stability and a democratic order in the country. IGAD Heads of State and Government have convened several Summit meetings and given their support and encouragement to the Transitional Government of National Unity to fully implement the Peace Agreement that they had signed.
The IGAD Member States have repeatedly urged the Parties to the conflict to work closely with the JMEC in the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict. They have repeatedly called upon the Parties to renounce violence and find peaceful solutions to their differences through dialogue. They have conveyed their collective and united messages to the Parties through their Summit meetings as well as bilateral engagements with the Government and the Opposition. They hope that the Parties would adhere to implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict and find amicable solutions. It was with this understanding, the statement said, that the upcoming IGAD Summit would be held.
Eritrea’s President writes to members of the UN Security Council
According to the Eritrean Government’s official website, President Isaias has sent messages to several Heads of State urging them to use their influence in the UN Security Council to redress what he called “the injustices perpetrated against Eritrea.” As usual, his communication is a collection of suppressed facts, misleading insinuations, equivocations and outright untruths.
Ignoring the fact, confirmed by the UN Claims Commission, that it was Eritrea that invaded Ethiopia and launched a two-year war against Ethiopia in May 1998, the President talks of “border dispute” as a simple ruse as the boundary between the two countries “was defined and determined without any ambiguity in colonial times.” As he does on every possible occasion, he then claims: “Washington feverishly worked at the time, through the State Department, to drive a wedge between the two peoples who have deep historical and strategic ties in order to foment a crisis and micromanage the affairs of the Horn of Africa.” He goes on to claim that even though the “border conflict” was legally adjudicated on the basis of the Algiers agreement, the US Administration used its influence in the UN Security Council to further exacerbate the crisis and to block the enforcement of the final and binding arbitral decision. That decision, he said, was not, however, amendable to alterations through diplomatic maneuvering. So then, according to President Isaias, “the US and its allies concocted a fictitious case accusing Eritrea of supporting “Al-Shebab” to impose “unwarranted sanctions” against Eritrea in December 2009 in the name of the UN Security Council.
He describes the gross violations of human rights in Eritrea, identified at length and in great detail in last year’s the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry into Human Rights Violations in Eritrea, and detailed in many other reports, as no more than “demonization campaigns that have been underway under the bogus pretext of “violations of human rights”. These campaigns, President Isaias said, have also included periodic military attacks launched against the country. He carefully ignores the fact that much of the violence in the region comes out of Eritrea itself and is shown by its belligerence, using aggression as an instrument of foreign policy, as exemplified in the attacks launched at various times against Ethiopia, Yemen, Djibouti and Sudan. This policy includes continued efforts at destabilization of neighbors, supporting armed opposition movements to the governments of all these countries as well as Somalia. President Isaias even tries to put the blame for the continued flight of thousands of Eritrean youngsters every month from interminable, indeed, unending conscription and massive repression, on organized criminal networks of human trafficking. These, he claims, were set up to precipitate and incite illicit migration of Eritrean youth – all part and parcel of the schemes of harassment of Eritrea.
In his usual attempts to depict Eritrea as a victim of the world, and more particularly of the US, and ignoring the details of Eritrea’s open violations of the arms embargo, its continued refusal to resolve its problems with Djibouti or to end its open support for armed opposition movements in the region, the President calls for the Security Council to rescind the “the unwarranted sanctions imposed against Eritrea without factual substantiation”. He also, as usual, calls for the removal of “occupation from our sovereign territories.” In fact, of course, since no demarcation of the border has taken place, there is no occupation of territory by Eritrea or Ethiopia taking place. Ethiopia, which long ago fully accepted the border delimitation by the Eritrea-Ethiopian Boundary Commission, has repeatedly and persistently called for dialogue to implement demarcation and normalize relations. President Isaias, showing no indication of wanting to normalize relations, persistently refuses to hold any dialogue, not least because it lets him claim Eritrea is under threat, allows him to keep Eritrea on a military footing and refuse to demobilize the hundreds of thousands of national service conscripts, using them for cheap, even forced, labor, or worse. It also lets him refuse to implement a constitution agreed in 1997, and to refuse to allow any independent media or political parties (“not in my lifetime”, he said a decade or so ago). As a number of his Eritrean critics haveunderlined, resolution of the border issue would leave President Isaias with no excuse to continue ruling Eritrea under an undeclared state of emergency.
Even more ironically, since he has detained eleven of his most senior party and government colleagues without charge or trial for 16 years, and held them incommunicado under appalling conditions in a specially constructed prison, as well as thousands of other critics, the President concludes his letter, saying: “it is high time that the flouting of the rule of law; the violation of international law; and the prevalence of the rule of jungle are terminated once and for all.”
The actual reality of the situation in Eritrea, so different from the President’s claims, was, in fact, underlined this week, by a letter sent to the Permanent Representatives of Members and Observer States of theUN Human Rights Council. Signed by a group of 27 civil society organizations, among them a number of Eritrean human rights organizations all operating in exile, the letter urges delegationsto co-sponsor a resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea at the 35th Session of the UN Human Rights Council. It says: “In view of the ongoing crimes under international law, including torture, enslavement and enforced disappearances, and violations of fundamental freedoms committed in Eritrea, the Special Rapporteur’s mandate remains an indispensable mechanism to advance the protection and promotion of human rights in Eritrea.”
The letter points out the mandate of the Special Rapporteur has been instrumental in monitoring the situation on the ground, highlighting on-going violations and the failure to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry which reported last year, finding that the Eritrean government had committed crimes against humanity. Indeed, the findings of the Commission of Inquiry and of the UN Special Rapporteur revealed that the Eritrean authorities “continued to impose a broad range of unwarranted restrictions on fundamental human rights, precipitating mass migration, including of unaccompanied children. Despite commitments by the State to reduce national service to 18 months, indefinite national service and forced labor have persisted.”It also note that persons who attempted to avoid military conscription, take refuge abroad, practice an unsanctioned religion, or criticized government officials continued to be arrested and imprisoned for lengthy periods. The absence of an independent judiciary meant that victims of human rights violations could have no recourse to justice.
The letter, therefore, requested support for renewing the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea, for providing the mandate holder with all necessary support, and urging the Government of Eritrea to cooperate with the mandate holder including allowing unencumbered access to the country.
Ethiopia’s path and progress towards Green Industrialization
Africa only plays a small part in environmental degradation and has had a minimal impact on climate change. It is, however, extremely vulnerable to climate-related risks. There is a particular and critical need to increase resilience to climate variability and shocks not least because the continent currently depends to such a great extent on agriculture. Equally, as the continent moves towards industrialization, the need to promote green technologies and solutions in its industrial and service sectors becomes crucial for sustainable growth. “Greening” industrialization is an opportunity for Africa to achieve the type of structural transformation that yields sustainable and inclusive growth, creating jobs while safeguarding the productivity of natural assets. In fact, a paradigm shift towards low-carbon, resource-efficient and climate-resilient development pathways using science, technology and innovation is virtually mandatory to steer growth towards inclusive and sustainable development for African countries.
Ethiopia is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, yet it is also firmly on the path to become a real inspiration for green industrialization. It is already one of the best carbon-neutral African manufacturing hubs. For the government of Ethiopia, issues of climate change have always been a subject of great importance; indeed, it has pledged to become a zero net emissions economy by 2025. In its firm adherence to this commitment, the government has adopted two successive five-year Growth and Transformation Plans (GTPs), focused on industrial transformation, and in which green economic factors play a major, indeed, central role.
In addition, the Government of Ethiopia has also undertaken concerted efforts to enforce environmental controls. A key factor in this regard has been the establishment and mainstreaming of environmental laws. Environmental laws and the effectiveness of law enforcement are especially relevant for innovation in green technologies. Their uptake often depends on effective enforcement of regulations to reduce pollution or emissions. The Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority was established under the Ministry of Natural Resources Development and Environmental Protectionin 1994. Eight years later, its status was elevated to an independent institution with the responsibility for environmental regulation and monitoring, and it was subsequently promoted to ministerial level as the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. These institutional developments provide a clear demonstration of the increasing commitment to environmental policy and protection within the Ethiopian government.
A number of other national ministries and agencies have been and are actively engaged in the mainstreaming of environment and innovation systems. These include the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation, the Ethiopian Investment Agency, and the Ethiopian Quality and Standards Agency as well as various finance institutions. For example, working through the respective Industry Development Institutes, the Ministry of Industry is introducing sectoral-level programs to give effect to the Climate Resilience Green Economy (CRGE) strategy. In the cement industry, the major innovation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is the partial replacement of coal with biomass energy, using an invasive plant species as feedstock. In the leather, especially tanning, and textile sectors, the government is collaborating with the private sector to establish eco-industrial parks supplied with renewable energy and centralized waste water treatment facilities.
Certainly, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change plays the critical role in the implementation of environmental policy in general and the CRGE in particular. It is an important actor in both the national and sectoral systems of innovation, especially with regard to providing information and stimulus, through regulatory enforcement, for green innovation. The Ministry has introduced several proclamations and regulations to control pollution emanating from various industrial sources, including an Environmental Impact Assessment proclamation, a Solid Waste Control proclamation, a Pollution Control proclamation, and industrial pollution control regulations. It also provides technical support both to strengthen regional agencies that enforce environmental regulations and assist other stakeholdersto comply with environmental standards and regulations.
Overall, the Government has committed unwavering support to bolster the national system of innovation in recent years. Its efforts include the introduction of a National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy in 2012, and a heavy investment in basic education. The tertiary sector has grown in leaps and bounds in the last decade and the strong growth in enrolments is something to be proud of. It has also been accompanied by a rapid increase in state expenditure on research and development, and a substantial rise in the number of R&D personnel. The Government has also facilitated developments for the macroeconomic environment, including the rapid expansion of transport and energy infrastructure, providing broad support for business activity and innovation.
A recent report on “Catalyzing innovation for Green Innovation- Ethiopia’s bold ambition” looked at innovation and performance in three key manufacturing sectors in Ethiopia, cement, leather and textiles. It underlined ways to catalyze “green” innovation emphasizing the importance of policy interventions to help to foster healthy innovation systems and stimulate green innovations. It said mainstreaming green innovation policies within industrial development strategies and STI policies, ensuring cross-ministerial coordination of innovation policies with macroeconomic, trade, industrial and competition policies, including strategies for moving up the global value chain in a ‘green way, were vital. Investment was needed in framework conditions for innovation. These must include basic and tertiary education, as well as vocational training, with a specific focus on environmental programs at all levels; and infrastructure such as ICT, clean energy and industrial parks with centralized waste treatment facilities. Linkages between the various actors in the national and sectoral innovation systems should be strengthened with the funding of industry development institutes to act as coordinators, and by provide incentives for researchers at universities to commercialize their research findings. Private sector innovation could be stimulated by way of tax incentives or grants, and the government could use a combination of economic instrument and sound environmental regulations backed up by adequate capacity for monitoring and enforcement.
The report says Ethiopia is showing Africa and the world what can be done when there is sufficient political will to chart a new course towards a more sustainable future. It notes Africa desperately needs industrial transformation to create jobs and lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, emphasizing the need to find ways to ‘leapfrog’ unsustainable developmental stages, environmentally and socially. It concludes: “As one of Africa’s leading countries when it comes to progressive green growth and industrialization agendas, Ethiopia can serve as an example for much of the continent.”
Kenya’s new Nairobi to Mombasa railway
The first major new railway line in Kenya for more than a century, between the capital, Nairobi and the port of Mombasa, opened on Wednesday last week. The 480 kms Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) is the latest addition to the list of Chinese-built railways fast-tracking development and delivering green growth in Africa. It cuts the journey from Nairobi from 12 hours to just over four hours, providing cheaper and faster journeys. An economy class ticket costs $9; a business class ticket $30. The new line has a designed speed of 80km/h for freight trains and 120km/h for passenger trains. One freight train, which can haul 200 containers, will mean up to a hundred trucks off the road. The increased freight-carrying capacity will reduce wear and tear on the roads as well as lower freight charges.
It is Kenya’s biggest infrastructure investment since independence in 1963. The line, finished 18 months ahead of schedule, cost US$3.2 billion. The line runs through the Tsavo National Park and there are 14 wildlife-crossing structures, including six underpasses high enough to allow easy movement for adult giraffes. In addition, there are 500 culverts to facilitate animals’ crossing. Ms. Margaret Mwakima, Principal Secretary of State Department of Natural Resources, said a survey done early this year found out that the animals are taking to the new routes with ease: “The way the elephants are behaving today indicate they are at home and that the new pathways do not interfere with them at all.”
About 80% of the money for the railway came as loans from China, and Transport Minister James Macharia said the Kenyan government expects the new line to boost GDP by 1.5%, allowing the Chinese loans to be paid back “in about four years”. Most of the railway’s revenue is expected to come from transporting cargo. Only 5% of cargo is currently being transported on the old railway line while 95% goes by road, but Kenya Railways is aiming to push its share to 40% by 2025 with the new track. A 2013 World Bank study predicted that freight traffic on the entire East Africa Community rail network would grow to approximately 14.4 million tonnes per year by 2030. The line will need to win much of the freight currently trucked to and from Mombasa. According to the Kenya Ports Authority, Mombasa port handled a total of just over 26 million tonnes of cargo in 2015. This can now be expected to rise significantly. Atanas Maina, managing director of Kenya Railways Corporation, said trains will ferry between 40 and 50% of port-bound cargo, reducing road damage, accidents and pollution. It will also boost Kenya’s tourism industry, a key pillar of the economy, as the line links the coastal resorts to the country’s safari parks.
The line took three-and-a-half years to build, using Chinese track-laying technology and there are plans for it to eventually connect South Sudan, the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia to the Indian Ocean.It will promote regional integration and economic progress, dovetailing with Kenya’s aims of becoming a regional transport and manufacturing hub. As a flagship project of Kenya’s Vision 2030, aiming to turn Kenya into a newly-industrialized, middle-income country providing high-quality life to all its citizens, the line is also set to play a major role in Kenya’s development.
Poor seasonal rains for the Horn of Africa during March to May
The latest Famine Early Warning News Network (FEWS) report at the beginning of the month underlines that only light rainfall occurred in much of the Horn of Africa during mid to late May. Overall, it classifies the performance of the March to May seasonal rains has been poor in many southern and central areas of Somalia, southeastern Somalia, and northern/north-eastern Kenya and southern and south-eastern Ethiopia. In these areas, harvest prospects and regeneration of pasture and water resources are poorer than normal. In recent weeks, the, seasonal rainfall has remained below average over many areas of the Horn, although there have been some increases in localized areas of central Somalia and northern Ethiopia. Overall, the March to May seasonal rainfall was significantly delayed by as a much as one month, unevenly distributed across time and space, and rainfall totals were less than 80 percent of average across large areas of Somalia, Kenya, south-eastern Ethiopia, and parts of northern Tanzania. Rainfall totals were also below average in localized areas between north-eastern and south-western Uganda, neighboring areas of western Rwanda, and Burundi, eastern DRC, and southeastern DRC. The poor seasonal performance of the rains in the Horn of Africa offers below-average harvest prospects in the marginal cropping areas of southeastern Kenya, southern Somalia, and southern Belg-cropping areas of Ethiopia. Recent field assessments in Kenya and Somalia have suggested an end to the seasonal rains this month is likely to result in reduced yields.
Infestations of Fall Armyworm remain a concern in Uganda, Tanzania, parts of western and southeastern Kenya, and parts of southern Ethiopia, and remain to be fully suppressed despite control efforts by national governments through the use of pesticides. The result of the very poor performance of March to May rainfall has meant that vegetation conditions remain poorer than normal across broad areas of Somalia, northern and southern Kenya, north-eastern Uganda, and south-western and south-eastern Ethiopia. There has been some slight improvement in some areas in recent weeks but this is likely to be short-lived with resources being depleted by early June, significantly limiting the duration and extent of improvements in livestock body conditions and productivity. In many southern Belg-producing areas of the country, below-average rainfall performance was punctuated by long-dry spells, and reduced yields are expected in lowland areas of SNNPR.
UNICEF and the World Food Program have appealed for more resources to deal with the impact of drought in Ethiopia following the poor March to May rains in the lowland areas. Both UNICEF and WFP underline the urgent need for more resources. UNICEF requires US$93.1 million to meet the drought-related needs of children and their families across the country in 2017, in terms of nutrition, WASH, health, child protection and education in emergencies; WFP currently has only enough food to last through June, and requires a further US$430 million to meet the current emergency food and nutrition needs to the end of the year. Ethiopia’s National Disaster Risk Management Commission in Ethiopia and the Humanitarian Country Team have officially expressed their concerns to donors about the gap in food and nutritional needs. These funds are urgently required to ensure continuous treatment for those suffering from severe and moderate malnutrition and to purchase and transport food for the second half of the year.
In Somalia, the Gu seasonal rainfall performance was well below average, ranging from less than 50% of normal in central Somalia to 50 to 80% percent of normal in both southern and northern areas. In southern agro-pastoral areas, seasonal rainfall during May contributed to some improvements in rangeland resources and cropping conditions, but significantly below-average production is expected in the agro-pastoral areas of Hiraan. Overall, the situation in Somalia continues to deteriorate. Over half the population, 6.2 million is considered acutely food insecure and in need of humanitarian assistance. Nearly 3 million face food security Crisis and Emergency (IPC Phases 3 and 4) and need urgent life-saving assistance. Rural populations make up two thirds of the people in IPC Phases 3 and 4, and nearly 90 per cent of those in IPC Phase 4. Close to one million acutely malnourished children will need treatment, including 200,000 severely malnourished children who are more vulnerable than any other group and in need of immediate life-saving support. According to the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network, as of May 23, a total of 683,000 people have been displaced by the drought in the last six months. The Education Cluster estimates that 270,000 are children between the ages of 5 and 18. It wants to see increased capacity in existing schools to allow for displaced children to enroll as well as establish temporary learning spaces in new IDP settlements where there are no schools nearby.
Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people are on the move in search of food, water and treatment for malnutrition and diseases as widespread water and pasture shortages force them to migrate in search of food and water for domestic and livestock use. In the Sool and Sanaag regions of Somaliland thousands of families have lost their livestock and have lost the means to feed themselves. People are in desperate need of clean water and food relief to survive what some say has been the longest dry spell in the area since the 1970s. Extreme lack of access to water is a key driver of the crisis especially in pastoral areas. Due to the depletion of water sources, some communities are relying on buying water at rapidly rising prices. Over 4.5 million people are now in need of WASH assistance, and those who resort to unsafe water sources are at increased risk of water-borne diseases such as acute watery diarrhea or cholera. According to WHO, 15,655 AWD/cholera cases and 365 deaths were reported between January and March and the outbreak has now spread to 12 out of 18 regions.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), in collaboration with the Africa Union Commission, organized a Horn of Africa Partnership Mission this week to raise awareness about the devastating drought situation in the Horn of Africa and accelerate resource mobilization to respond to the drought. More than 10 high-level delegates from Gulf States, donor agencies and private sector representatives have been visiting Ethiopia and Somalia at the end of the week (June 8- 12). In Ethiopia the mission, which met State Minister Mrs. Hirut Zemene on Thursday in Addis Ababa, will visit Warder Zone and meet with Government and UN officials. The mission will move on to Somalia on Sunday.