"The time is now to build a peaceful future for the next generation," Kenyan President Kenyatta said, calling for dialogue to find a lasting solution to regional conflicts.
Speaking at the 39th Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Extraordinary Assembly held in Nairobi on Tuesday, the Horn of Africa leaders pledged to promote peace, cohesion, and respond to the climate crisis in order to realize inclusive prosperity.
Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Chairman of Sudan's Transitional Sovereign Council and Chairperson of the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government said a collective resolve was needed to tackle the security, economic and ecological crises facing the Horn of Africa region.
He singled out the escalating drought, armed conflicts, terrorism, human trafficking, and illegal migration as existential threats to the region's stability and economic growth. The Horn of Africa region is also grappling with the proliferation of small arms that have fueled crime and instability even as climate-induced disasters worsen the vulnerability of civilians.
"The time is now to build a peaceful future for the next generation," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said, calling for dialogue to find a lasting solution to conflicts that have reversed economic progress in the Horn of Africa region.
He added that as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Kenya will lobby multilateral institutions to back peace efforts in the regional hotspots. The drought, the worst in 40 years, has intensified food insecurity, dried up water sources and forced displacement of people, raising tensions that could trigger new conflicts.
The regional leaders are expected to adopt two major reports focusing on the peace and security situation in the region as well as natural disasters that have worsened the fragility of nation-states.
Workneh Gebeyehu, executive secretary of IGAD said that besides addressing the drivers of instability in the region, the elected leaders will also explore long-term measures to help communities withstand climate shocks. Gebeyehu added that the Nairobi summit will also assess the adverse impacts of COVID-19 on states and societies and how to rebuild economies and livelihoods.
Bankole Adeoye, the African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, called on regional countries to work together in bolstering regional peace and security as well as in addressing emerging issues such as violent extremism and climate change.
"The African Union Commission stands ready to scale up support for IGAD initiatives in all these areas. We work together to consolidate political transitions, to address the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism, and to ensure collective security remains our overriding goal," Adeoye said.
The IGAD leaders who attended the summit also included Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, South Sudan 2nd Vice President Taban Deng Gai, Somali Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohammed Gulaid while Uganda was represented by Defence Minister Vincent Ssempijja.