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IGAD and FAO call for urgent action to mitigate impacts of drought in Horn of Africa



IGAD and FAO call for urgent action to mitigate impacts of drought in Horn of Africa

This is a major source of concern as food insecurity in the region has historically increased sharply following consecutive poor rainy seasons.

NAIROBI, Kenya, November 18, 2021 / APO Group / –

Vulnerable communities in the IGAD region continue to experience a complex mix of shocks and stresses that reinforce themselves and erode their resilience to food and nutrition insecurity. As of October 2021, 26 million people were already facing high levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 3+), according to the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG), which is co-chaired by the Intergovernmental Authority. for Development (IGAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Due to the threat of worsening drought conditions, food insecurity is likely to increase in the first half of 2022 in the Horn of Africa. Urgent action is therefore needed now to safeguard livelihoods, save lives and prevent possible famine in some areas.

Drought conditions are already affecting arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya, southern and central Somalia and the Belg host regions of southern and southeastern Ethiopia, as poor rainy seasons consecutive results have resulted in below-average crop production, higher grain prices, poor range conditions, reduced animal production and drought-related animal deaths in many areas.

Additionally, as predicted by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Center (ICPAC), the start of the current rainy season from October to December 2021 has been significantly delayed, with little or no rainfall observed at this day in many areas, increasing the likelihood of another bad season. If this happens, agricultural and pastoral conditions will deteriorate further, forcing households already grappling with the effects of multiple simultaneous hazards (climate variability, conflict, COVID-19 and locusts) to use negative coping strategies and reduce their food consumption. This is of major concern given that food insecurity in the region has historically increased sharply following consecutive poor rainy seasons.

IGAD Member States continue to work in collaboration with development partners to anticipate and respond to various threats to food security and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable communities to recurrent threats and crises. During the desert locust upsurge, for example, unprecedented support from resource partners and multi-agency coordination prevented $ 1.3 billion in grain losses, meeting the grain needs of 29.1 millions of people. Support for the restoration of desert locusts’ livelihoods continues for more than 200,000 households.

IGAD and FAO share a long history of successful partnership and collaboration in building the region’s resilience in several areas, including, but not limited to: livelihood support to build resilience against droughts; food security information and analysis; early warning and disaster risk management; the implementation of cross-border actions in close collaboration with the respective communities, local and national authorities; conflict prevention; management of natural resources; market access and trade; and capacity building; institutional strengthening and coordination through the IGAD Drought Resilience and Sustainability Initiative (IDDRSI).

These resilience-building efforts have significantly improved the capacity of households to withstand the impacts of shocks. However, the increased frequency of climatic hazards, combined with the effects of other stressors, threatens these hard-won gains. It is therefore crucial to act now to protect these resilience gains and prevent more people from falling into food insecurity and malnutrition.

To this end, we must support the farmers and ranchers who are suffering the effects of poor harvests, depletion of animal feed and raw materials, and rising food and water prices. More specifically, IGAD and FAO are calling for an increase in contributions to existing and future Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs), as the response remains largely underfunded in the countries concerned. With swift and collaborative action by all actors, we can protect the lives and livelihoods of communities currently experiencing the worsening effects of drought, while protecting the long-term resilience of households.

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