Reflecting on last 30 years and envisaging the next

Djibouti, Djibouti: To mark 30 years since its establishment, Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) hosted a Panel Discussion to reflect on its past and envisage the future at the Institute for Diplomatic Studies in Djibouti on Saturday January 16, 2016.

The panelists who examined the prospects and challenges of peace, security, economic development and integration in the region, also deliberated on how best IGAD can position itself for higher impact. They included the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Djibouti, Hon. Mahamoud Ali Youssouf and the current Executive Secretary of IGAD, Amb (Eng.) Mahboub Maalim as well as the three former executive secretaries that served the organization between 1991 and 2008 also participated in the lively discussion that the Managing Editor of Kenya’s Nation Television (NTV), Mr. Linus Kaikai ably moderated.

Paying glowing tribute to the founding fathers for their vision and foresight to establish an organization that would address common challenges of the region and forge joint programmes, all the panelists appealed to the member states and development partners to continue supporting the various programmes of the regional body.

“Though the issues have not changed much, the prospects of addressing them are much better now than before,” remarked Amb. Mahboub, calling on the region to remain steadfast and committed to tackle the current and emerging challenges that include poverty, unemployment, migration, terrorism and extremism. He acknowledged the similarities of the people, topography and livelihoods of the region, stating that this uniqueness should be tapped and promoted to bring the region together.

Whilst citing some of the remarkable achievements of the regional organization that include the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement for Sudan leading to the independence of South Sudan, as well as the successful negotiations culminating in the formation of transitional governments of Somalia in Djibouti and Kenya, Hon. Youssouf reiterated his country’s commitment to the development cooperation in the region.

“Despite limited resources, IGAD has never abandoned any of its responsibilities and call for action on behalf of its member states,” the minister pointed out, stressing the need to support the organization in its tireless efforts to reed the region of natural and man-made challenges. He praised IGAD for mobilizing resources from development partners for regional drought resilience, infrastructure development, food production, environmental protection, peace and security programmes.

“Despite limited resources, IGAD has never abandoned any of its responsibilities and call for action on behalf of its member states,” the minister pointed out, stressing the need to support the organization in its tireless efforts to reed the region of natural and man-made challenges. He praised IGAD for mobilizing resources from development partners for regional drought resilience, infrastructure development, food production, environmental protection, peace and security programmes.

Besides Dr David Muduuli of Uganda who was the second executive secretary from 1991 to 1996, his successor Dr Tekeste Ghebray of Eritrea (1996 – 2000) and Dr Attalla Bashir of Sudan (2000 – 2008) also shared their illustrious experiences. The panel discussion was attended by distinguished representatives of IGAD member states, members of the academia, media and development partners