EU Commission vice president and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles and Foreign Affairs CS Ababu Namwamba at a luncheon for the EU delegation and Igad Council of Ministers in Khartoum, Sudan, on February 29 COURTESY
The EU has pledged Sh1.2 billion to the Igad countries to help eradicate the locust invasion in the Horn of Africa region.
In a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday,EU Commission Vice President and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borell affirmed EU’s readiness to help combat the destructive desert locust invasion in the region with a contribution of €11 million.
This was communicated at the EU-Igad Ministerial consultative meeting in Khartoum, Sudan, on February 29.
This comes two weeks after Igad states sought help from international and development partners to build “financial, technical and logistical capacities among Igad states, and support ongoing efforts to fight the locust invasion”.
The states called for help during the 34th Extraordinary Summit of the Igad Heads of State and Government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the chairmanship of Sudan Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.
Foreign Affairs CAS Ababu Namwamba, who led the Kenyan delegation to Sudan, briefed the meeting on the locust invasion that has caused havoc in the region, terming it “the latest in a litany of environmental challenges that must be defined and confronted as priority regional risks”.
Agriculture CS Peter Munya says the government is in control and will clear locusts in the country by June this year.
Munya has, however, admitted the government faces challenges in dealing with the locust invasion, which as now affected i8 counties.
Appearing before the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Livestock on February 26, Munya said the challenges are in the distribution of chemicals and aircraft fuel.
He also cited over-dependency on development partners as a blow to the fight on desert locusts.
According to the UN, the infestation in Kenya is the worst in 70 years, while Somalia and Ethiopia are experiencing their worst outbreaks in 25 years, putting crop production, food security and millions of lives at risk.
Kenya’s Ambassador to the UN Lazarus Amayo said the current infestation threatens food security in Kenya.
“The herders will have a real challenge of pasture, and this may also cause movement from one place to another in search of pasture, with an inherent risk of communal conflict over pasture or grazing land or passing territories.”
Ababu commended the EU as a dependable partner and an important actor in the region with a significant portfolio of development support in a wide range of sectors.
“The Horn of Africa is perceived as volatile, conflict-prone and vulnerable to multiple environmental hazards. We count [on] EU as a reliable ally in our efforts to confront the challenges in our neighbourhood,” Ababu said.
The Khartoum meeting was convened to address issues of cooperative framework, review and contemplate the future of long-standing strategic partnerships that Igad and EU have evolved over time.
Issues discussed included peace and security, climate change, migration, Red Sea and the Gulf of Eden cooperation, economic integration, political cooperation and stability and enhanced regional coordination.