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The African Union Commission and FAO establish effective knowledge platforms between IGAD member States. / A major regional initiative towards building resilience in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.

By Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Na
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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, August 4, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Union Commission (AUC) on the implementation of the Regional Initiative on Resilience in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.

The initiative will establish effective knowledge platforms between IGAD member States, as well as strengthen the capacity of institutions to scale up proven cost effective resilience enhancing good practices.

In the Horn of Africa, the focus will be on supporting IGAD and member states (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan) to enhance knowledge on practical means for resilience building as well as heighten the awareness of dynamics of resilience programming.

The proposed intervention in the Horn of Africa also aims at facilitating the documentation and institutionalisation of proven 'good practices' such as integrated resilience building through Pastoral Field Schools with a view to designing sustainable strategies that meet the needs of communities and the national governments.

Concrete areas of implementation

FAO's technical support will consist of strengthening knowledge management on resilience building in IGAD, enhancing intergovernmental organisations' capacities for food security and nutrition analysis and response as well as the identification, documentation and the dissemination of good practices on resilience in the Horn of Africa.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, the Commissioner for AUC's Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, Ms. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, praised FAO commitment to promote resilience policies and strategies that address the different needs and experiences of men, women, boys and girls and promote equal access to and control over resources and incomes.

The Horn of Africa and the Sahel continue to be areas where major investments in strengthening resilience have been, and are being made. The two regions together in 2014/2015 have a resilience programme portfolio comprising 63% of the total for sub-Saharan Africa.

“The focused of this regional initiative will be tangible if oriented to the national governments, local authorities, traders, pastoral and farmer cooperatives/groups in project focus countries of the IGAD region, namely, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan”, said Dr. Patrick Kormawa, the Sub-regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa and FAO representative to AU and UNECA.

Fragile livelihoods and future need support

A focus on youth and agriculture as a solution to migration was raised as well as other new areas to be consolidated in the Agreement.

The region is affected by persistent and widespread droughts mainly in the arid and semiarid lands. In addition, frequent shocks have eroded agricultural productivity across much of Africa, undermining the food security of over 800 million people who rely on crops, livestock, fisheries and forests for their livelihoods. More than 90% of agricultural activities in the region are rain-fed, thus making the region extremely susceptible to droughts and other climate-related events.

The livelihoods and economy of rural people in the Horn of Africa (HoA) are mainly reliant on agriculture, livestock-based production and trade. The food and nutrition security situation in Africa's dry lands particularly in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa remains a major concern, marked by both chronic and acute vulnerabilities.

The Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Djibouti will jointly organize with IGAD other UN agencies and FAO in Djibouti (26-28 October 2015) an international conference to review the role that research and innovations can play in guiding and enhancing the interventions for building resilience to drought and other shocks and distresses.