Mr. Lamin Manneh, Director of UNDP's Regional Service Centre for Africa (left) and Mr. Erik Habers (right), Head of Cooperation in the Delegation of the European Union to Ethiopia. Photo: Nchidzi Smarts/UNDP

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia — Mr. Erik Habers, Head of Cooperation in the Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Ethiopia, and Lamin Momodou Manneh, Director of Regional Service Centre for Africa, UNDP, signed an agreement for an integrated cross-border initiative to address drivers of conflict and instability between Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

The US$10 million three-year project for the Support for Effective Cooperation and Coordination of Cross Border Initiatives in South West Ethiopia – North West Kenya, Marsabit – Borana and Dawa, and Kenya – Somalia – Ethiopia (SECCI), will be implemented by the UN Development Programme in collaboration with UN Environment (UNEP), in partnership with Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

The objectives of the programme include strengthening regional policy frameworks, structures, and protocols for cross border cooperation between national and local governments; capacities of communities, local governments and civil society to fully engage in processes for development planning and results are built; and to ensure effective cooperation and coordination, monitoring and evaluation of cross-border initiatives including involvement of relevant national and regional actors in these processes. The programme is underpinned by initiatives on sustainable use of resources, in line with the new global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Violent conflict has been, and continues to be, a major obstacle to development in the Horn of Africa, distorting the overall sub-regional political environment in which development must take place. This has led to destruction of properties and displacement of people, and has eroded development gains. The historic incidence of violent conflicts over access to natural resources such as pasture and water, is exacerbated by the impact of climate change and is becoming increasingly entwined with the spread of violent extremist ideology and its manifestations.

The project is an integral part of a programme addressing the underlying root causes which create fragility and hamper the development prospects in the region,” said Lamin Manneh, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa, and “through investment in conflict prevention, cross border trade and private sector development, it is expected that livelihoods will be diversified and the management of shared natural resources will be improved.

The initiative is also in line with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ push for a focus on prevention and strengthening the nexus between development, security and peace.

The cross-border programme builds on ongoing development initiatives in the area, and is engaging a wide range of stakeholders including civil society, private sector, faith-based organizations, peace committees, development partners and financial partners in development.

"The EU is indeed investing additional 35.5 MEuro grants in these cross-border areas (plus 20 MEuro along the Ethiopia-Sudan border) to increase the resilience of these peripheral areas and promote economic development and stability. The current agreement with UNDP will contribute to the ongoing operations though enhanced cooperation between the involved national and regional government, including on water diplomacy".

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