CHANGE OF GUARD

Sudan takes over IGAD leadership as member states propose new structure

Ethiopia has been under chairmanship for a decade

In Summary

• Sudan now takes over the leadership from Ethiopia which has been at the helm for over a decade.

• The summit has also adopted the proposed IGAD Structure as amended by the Council in 2017 and directed the Executive Secretary to review and update the Structure based on the feedback received from Member States and the needs and realities on the ground subject to the approval of the IGAD Council.

President Uhuru Kenyatta with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn - IGAD chairman and other state leaders during the IGAD summit in Nairobi on Saturday, March 25, 2017.
President Uhuru Kenyatta with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn - IGAD chairman and other state leaders during the IGAD summit in Nairobi on Saturday, March 25, 2017.
Image: PSCU

Sudan has been elected to take over the chairmanship of IGAD.

This follows the 13th Ordinary Summit of the IGAD Heads of State and Government held in Addis Ababa on Friday.

The summit in an 18 point communique said it had elected Sudan to take over the chairmanship.

 

In the communique seen by the Star, Sudan’s election came after extensive deliberations on the Report of the 47th IGAD Council of Ministers to the Summit, the draft IGAD Establishment Treaty and proposed Structure.

Sudan now takes over the leadership from Ethiopia which has been at the helm for over a decade.

The summit was held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.

Uganda’s Yoweri Musevi, Djibouti’s Ismail Omar Guelleh and Salva Kiir of South Sudan attended the meeting.

Others were Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed,  Abdalla Hamdok, Prime Minister of the Republic of the Sudan and Kenya’s Foreign Affairs CS  Monica Juma.

“The summit has elected Sudan as the Chair of IGAD, and expressed its confidence that under the leadership of Sudan, IGAD will reach new heights in realizing regional integration and political cooperation,” read part of the communique.

 “The summit has greatly appreciated the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for the pivotal role it has played in steering and spearheading the work of IGAD as the Chair for over a decade,” it read.

 

The summit has also called upon the international community to lift the crippling economic sanctions imposed on Sudan and South Sudan to enable them rebuild their economies. 

 It said it appreciates the efforts by the South Sudanese Parties to the R-ARCSS in silencing the guns for over one year and urged the Parties to accomplish the pre-transitional tasks within the extended hundred days and form the R-TGoNU by the end of the extended period.

The summit has also adopted the proposed IGAD Structure as amended by the Council in 2017 and directed the Executive Secretary to review and update the Structure based on the feedback received from Member States and the needs and realities on the ground subject to the approval of the IGAD Council.

It is not yet clear on what structure has been proposed as the proposal is yet to be made public.

The current structure comprises of four hierarchical policy organs; the assembly of heads of state, council of ministers, committee of ambassadors and the secretariat.

The Assembly of Heads of State and Government is the supreme policy making and regulatory organ of the IGAD. It determines the objectives, guidelines and programmes for IGAD and meets once a year. A Chairman is elected from the Member States in rotation.

The Council of Ministers is composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and one other Focal Minister designated by each member state. The Council formulates policy, approves the work programme and annual budget of the Secretariat during its biannual sessions.

The Committee of Ambassadors is comprised of IGAD Member States' Ambassadors or Plenipotentiaries accredited to the country of IGAD Headquarters. It convenes as often as the need arises to advise and guide the Executive Secretary.

The Secretariat is headed by an Executive Secretary appointed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government for a term of four years, renewable once. The Secretariat assists Member States in formulating regional projects in the priority areas, facilitates the coordination and harmonisation of development policies, mobilises resources to implement regional projects and programmes approved by the Council and reinforces national infrastructures necessary for implementing regional projects and policies.

The summit further said it has decided to reform IGAD to ensure it becomes a rule-based, effective and predictable organization.

As a result, it deferred the adoption of the draft IGAD Establishment Treaty until after an in-depth discussion on the future of IGAD takes place at the next Ordinary Summit.

“The summit has adopted the IGAD Declaration of Principles of Cooperation in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, which will enhance cohesion and guide the region's strategic cooperation. It welcomed Somalia’s request to host a Blue Economy Conference in Mogadishu, Federal Republic of Somalia, in collaboration with IGAD early next year,” the communique read.