Understanding conflict dynamics to prevent migration – Interview with IGAD’s Ayan Mahamoud

“Our role as IGAD is to bring countries together, so that they are able to tackle together, issues of climate change, of migration, of resilience building, issues of common security threats. These are eight countries that share a common destiny, they do share a common vision, they also very much entrust IGAD secretariat to hold their principal when negotiating on their behalf with fellow countries, fellow institutional financial organisations and so forth.

When it comes to the IGAD resilience agenda it is called IDDRSI. IDDRSI stands for the IGAD Drought Disaster Resilience Sustainability Initiative. It started after the major drought of 2010, 2011 and again IGAD has been entrusted with the role of leading and coordinating the resilience agenda. Within that mandate we brought all the countries together and we aim to develop a strategic framework – align with the main strategy, along seven priority intervention areas.

You realise that whatever intervention you plan for you do not wish to exacerbate a conflict or to maintain a conflict or to even initiate a conflict. So I say for the sake of resilience building and for the sake of our community it is very critical that we understand the conflict dynamics within an area of intervention.

It is very important in the Horn of Africa. Again, because of the nature of our region, the characteristic and the bio-physical characteristic of the Horn of Africa, it is mostly, I would say 70 per cent of the land in the Horn of Africa region is arid and semi-arid land with very low rainfall pattern. And that factor contributes a lot to conflict. There are some sixty types of typology of conflict that IGAD has identified within the Horn of Africa and resource related conflicts are, or pastoral conflicts rather, should I say, are the most common ones.

So mainstreaming climate change and conflict and addressing the root causes of conflict, which is for us linked to climate change, is a key mandate that we got. And in that sense, within the IDDRSI strategy we plan for the next fifteen years. It started in January 2013, so we hope by 2027, God willing, we have at least achieved our goal of building the resilience for our community.”