BEIJING – Various stakeholders in China are exploring the potential of a joint China-Horn of Africa-UN partnership in the fight against drought in the horn region.
The discussions in Beijing are seeking to find solutions to the worst drought in 40 years in the Horn of Africa.
The UN Dialogue on Building Long-term Drought Resilience launched on May 5 brought together ambassadors and other representatives of Horn of Africa countries, the government of China, UN entities both in China and in Africa, technical experts from research institutions, foundations and the private sector. They discussed opportunities to address the severe drought and corresponding food security challenges by building drought resilience through the creation of new partnerships.
Kenya chargé d’affaires in China Ambassador Edwin Afande underscored the critical importance of technology in agricultural transformation to secure Kenya’s agenda on enhancing food security and resilience against drought.
Somalia Ambassador to China Awale Kullane noted that building resilience in the Horn of Africa requires cooperation and collaboration.
Siddharth Chatterjee, UN Resident Coordinator in China, who previously served in UN office in Nairobi, said the drought has already lasted two years and that it has led to the worst famine of the 21st century, in which almost 21 million people have been highly food insecure and over 23 million face daily household water scarcity.
” As our climate continues to shift and extreme weather events become ever more common, it is imperative that we move beyond viewing these situations as solely in need of a humanitarian response, and move towards a more proactive, long-term approach to increase preparedness and build resilience, allowing these countries to develop strategies to be better prepared to mitigate the impact of future droughts and development strategies to increase resilience,” Chatterjee said.
The dialogue, he said, forms part of the China – Horn of Africa – United Nations Transformative Partnership Initiative, which intends to build partnerships between China, Horn of Africa countries and the UN in both China and HoA countries to support international development and South-South cooperation between China and the Horn states.
The meeting happened ahead of an event set for June and co-organized by the China-Africa Development Fund and the UN in China, hosted by the Embassy of Ethiopia in Beijing.
The meeting will seek to highlight the different areas in which CADF can support development activities, including agricultural cooperation.
Ambassador Wu Peng, the Director General of African Affairs at China Foreign Affairs ministry, said China is committed to strengthening cooperation with regional countries and the UN development agencies, and making joint efforts for regional development.