Latest News Regarding

Horn of Africa

 

Justice in South Sudan

Justice in South Sudan

Source: The Africa Center for Strategic Studies, Posted: 26 Jul 2017 06:21 PM PDT

The Africa Center for Strategic Studies published on 1 July 2017 an analysis titled “A Path to Justice in South Sudan” by Kate Almquist Knopf.

The author argues that chapter V institutions on transitional justice, accountability, and reconciliation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) have a firm legal grounding outside the ARCSS should the African Union wish to pursue them

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam a threat to downstream Nile states, including Egypt

  Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam a threat to downstream Nile states, including Egypt

 are


Source: Daily Marverick, South Africa, Wednesday July 26, 2017

The government of Ethiopia is currently constructing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Once complete, the dam will be the largest hydropower facility in Africa (about 6,000 MW) – nearly triple the country’s current electricity generation capacity – and represent a potential economic windfall for the government.


The benefits for Ethiopia and for many electricity-importing countries in East Africa from the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam are clear. However, the implications for downstream countries aren’t all positive – and need to be better understood.

In 2016, about 30% of Ethiopia’s population had access to electricity and more than 90% of households continued to rely on traditional fuels for cooking. Traditional fuels can cause respiratory infections, and according to the World Health Organisation, acute lower respiratory infection is the leading cause of death in Ethiopia.

So the benefits of better access to electricity in Ethiopia are clear. But creating a larger supply doesn’t mean demand will automatically follow. In Ethiopia, where 70% of the population lives in rural areas and relies on subsistence agriculture, the government must also invest in developing human capital to increase incomes and stimulate the demand for services.

The standard of living needs to improve before Ethiopians can consume additional electricity – unless it’s completely subsidised by the government.

The government may also anticipate a boost to revenues through electricity exports from the dam. Several power purchase agreements have already been signed with neighbouring countries, including Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan and Tanzania.

There is a need for more rapid progress along various dimensions of human development in Ethiopia, as highlighted in a recent ISS report produced for the United States Agency for International Development. But there are concerns about how this dam will affect downstream states, particularly Sudan and Egypt.

Although Sudan was initially opposed to the dam’s construction, the country has recently warmed to the idea. This could be because Sudan has agreed to purchase electricity from the dam, while the two countries have also agreed to collaborate on a free economic zone. While bilateralism has proved effective with Sudan, multilateral negotiations haven’t been particularly fruitful.

Signed in 2015, the Khartoum Agreement ostensibly mapped out a way forward, but implementation of the deal hasn’t been easy, and cracks are starting to show. In May this year, the Middle East Monitor concluded that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan had just finished their 14th round of unsuccessful discussions about how to manage the Nile River.

At that 2015 meeting, officials from the three countries agreed to proceed with an impact assessment that was to be completed within 15 months. After 17 months, the report has yet to be publicly released. There is still no independent feasibility study, cost-benefit analysis or environmental impact assessment.

This is worrying since Ethiopia could begin filling the dam at any time. The Ethiopian government expects it will take roughly five or six years to fill the dam’s reservoir. However, Diaa Al-Din Al-Qousi from Egypt’s Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation believes that a period of 12 to 18 years is needed to guarantee water security for Egypt. This is quite a discrepancy.

A recent report from the Geological Society of America said a period of between five and 15 years seemed reasonable, apparently giving credibility to both sides. But the same report noted that the “Nile’s fresh water flow to Egypt may be cut by as much as 25%, with a loss of a third of the electricity generated by the Aswan High Dam”, which would be bad news for Egyptians.

Also, many Egyptian officials fear that the increased evaporation from the sheer size of the dam could affect water security in the country – already one of the most water-stressed in the world.

Ethiopia maintains that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project has been conducted with adequate transparency and involvement from the relevant stakeholders. It also highlights that Egypt hasn’t signed the Co-operative Framework Agreement (CFA) of the Nile Basin States, whereas Ethiopia has.

Since Ethiopia announced it would go ahead with construction of the dam in 2011, Cairo has voiced disapproval. At various stages, Egypt has demanded that Ethiopia cease construction, threatened action at the United Nations Security Council, and claimed that it is protected by a 1959 treaty, even though Ethiopia didn’t sign the treaty. The treaty essentially divides the river between Sudan and Egypt, leaving nothing for Ethiopia, where more than 60% of the Nile’s water originates. 1

With its national livelihood depending on the Nile, it’s difficult to anticipate what Egypt’s reaction might be should Ethiopia proceed with its plan to fill the dam. Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty recently told Reuters that Egypt had “no other resources … we will not allow our national interests, our national security to be endangered”.

This brings back memories of former president Mohamed Morsi’s ominous 2013 speech, in which he declared that if the Nile “loses one drop, our blood is the alternative”.

Analysts at the Texas-based consulting group Stratfor have concluded that Egypt’s reaction will, in part, be determined by its political leadership. But they also stress that “whatever its political inclination, a large-scale reduction in water from the Nile would be intolerable to any Egyptian government”.

Ethiopia has a right to exploit its own natural resources to support much-needed human development projects, but can it afford to compromise its relationship with downstream states, particularly Egypt? The government of Ethiopia has done well to finance and promote this project. The question now is how best to manage the possible implications with downstream states.

Migrant abuse in Libya drives African children across sea to Europe – U.N.

 


Source: REuters, Wednesday July 26, 2017

Facing abuse and violence in Libya, thousands of African children flee to Italy across the Mediterranean Sea, most of them alone and unprepared for Europe, the United Nations children’s agency (UNICEF) said on Tuesday.

The majority of Africa’s child migrants leave home without their parents’ knowledge – often due to domestic violence or family disputes – and do not aim to go to Europe, but plan to find work in nearby countries, a UNICEF study found.

Yet hundreds of refugee and migrant children told UNICEF in Italy that being kidnapped, arrested and held in prison in Libya, as well as witnessing violence towards other migrants, had compelled them to take the risky sea crossing to Europe.

At least 12,200 children arrived in Italy in the first half of the year, all but a few having travelled alone, UNICEF said.

“Concerns are growing about unaccompanied children on the move, especially in Libya,” said UNICEF spokesman Patrick Rose.

The voyage from Libya across the Mediterranean to Italy – often on flimsy boats run by people smugglers – has become the main route to Europe for migrants from Africa after a European Union crackdown last year on sea crossings from Turkey.

At least 20,000 migrants are being detained in Libya, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Many are extorted for money by smugglers and gangs, and rising numbers are traded – in what they call slave markets – for forced labour and sexual exploitation, the IOM says.

“The situation for migrants (in Libya) is very dangerous … there is an extreme level of violence at the hands of kidnappers,” Rose told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

The UNICEF study, based on interviews with 850 children aged 15 to 17, found that less than half of those who arrived in Italy intended to go to Europe, and that many of their journeys were fragmented and sometimes lasted longer than two years.

More than 7 million children in West and Central Africa are on the move due to violence, poverty and climate change, making up over half of all migrants in the region, according to UNICEF.

Yet most head to other African nations, and only one in five attempt the perilous journey to Europe, the U.N. agency says.

“What is striking about this study is it shows for the first time that there are overwhelmingly far more reasons that push children to leave their homes, than have been previously understood, and fewer pull factors that lure them to Europe,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF director for Europe and Central Asia.

Interior Ministers from Europe, Africa Meet to Tackle Migrant Crisis

Interior Ministers from Europe, Africa Meet to Tackle Migrant Crisis hare


Source: VOA, Tuesday July 25, 2017

Interior minister of Libya’s Government of Nationa Accord (GNA) Aref El-Khoja, left, and French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb, second left, take part in the opening meeting on security attended by interior ministers from central Mediterranean countries, July 24, 2-17.


European and African ministers are meeting in Tunisia about efforts to regulate the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, primarily along the deadly central Mediterranean route originating in Libya.

In a declaration Monday in Tunis, the capital, the ministers said they agreed on a multi-pronged approach to the crisis, including informing people about the risks of illegal migration and the possibility of voluntarily returning home, addressing why migrants leave home and beefing up actions against human traffickers.

Participating in the meetings were interior ministers from Algeria, Austria, Chad, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Libya, Mali, Malta, Niger, Slovenia, Switzerland, Tunisia and Estonia, which currently holds the EU Council presidency.

Through the first half of 2017, nearly 84,000 migrants arrived in Italy by sea, 20 percent more than during the same period last year. Detention centers and temporary shelters that Italy has for migrants have reached their maximum capacity of 200,000 people, but there are many other migrants in the country working illegally.

The meeting in Tunisia focused on Libya, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said, since 95 percent of the migrants crossing the sea to Europe set sail from Libya.

The ongoing political upheaval in Libya makes the problem worse, Collomb said, adding: “As long as a stable government is not in place, the control of this flux cannot be assured.”

The European Union has proposed training and financing to increase the capabilities of Libya’s coast guards, and last week the bloc also approved new rules for refugee-rescue ships operating in the Mediterranean. The vessels that charities operate to rescue refugees stranded on the open sea are now forbidden to coordinate their movements, either by phone or signal lights, with people-smugglers who pick up would-be migrants in Libya and sometimes leave them stranded at sea.

The refugee-rescue ships also are now required to stay out of Libyan territorial waters, where they previously have picked up asylum-seekers close to shore. Any vessel that breaks the new rules risks being banned from Italian ports.

Humanitarian ships now pick up more than a third of all migrants attempting the perilous Mediterranean crossing from Libya to Italy, compared to one percent in 2014.

Not all stranded migrants are rescued. More than 2,200 people died this year during unsuccessful attempts to cross the Mediterranean, according to the International Organization for Migration.

In their final declaration in Tunis, the ministers agreed that their countries should try to address “the root causes of irregular migration” and “strengthen the exchange of strategic and operational information on criminal networks for trafficking in human beings.”

The statement said public development aid is needed to fight the causes of migration and create more opportunities at home, as well as to help border authorities with training, equipment and infrastructure.

“We have to stick together,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, European commissioner for migration. He insisted “Europe is not a fortress,” but added that legal migration procedures must be followed.

Africa and the Rule of Law

Africa and the Rule of Law

Source: The Washington-based World Justice Project, Posted: 13 Jul 2017 06:14 PM PDT

The Washington-based World Justice Project has released its annual Rule of Law Index for 2016. It considers 44 factors in constructing the index.

In 2016, it ranked 113 countries, including 21 in Africa. The highest ranked African country was South Africa at number 43 followed by Ghana (44), Botswana (45), and Senegal (46). The lowest ranked African countries were Kenya (100), Uganda (105), Ethiopia (107), Zimbabwe (108), Cameroon (109), and Egypt (110).

South Sudan’s 6th Anniversary of Independence

South Sudan’s 6th Anniversary of Independence

Source: The Institute for Defense Analyses Africa Watch, Posted: 12 Jul 2017 12:17 PM PDT

The Institute for Defense Analyses Africa Watch published on 12 July 2017 an update titled “South Sudan: 6th Anniversary of Independence Marked by Violence” by Sarah Graveline.

For a second year, South Sudan canceled its 9 July Independence Day celebrations. The author concluded that the likelihood of South Sudan securing a lasting peace appears distant.

A.U. defers Eritrea-Djibouti peace mission on request of Asmara

A.U. defers Eritrea-Djibouti peace mission on request of Asmara are


Source: africanews, Wednesday July 12, 2017

The African Union (A.U.) says its planned visit to the Eritrean capital to meet with government officials over the border tension with neighbouring Djibouti had been deferred to a later date.

‘‘At the request of the Eritrean authorities and due to a conflicting calendar, new dates will be agreed upon through consultations with the Eritrean government,’‘ a statement by the continental political bloc read.

As the 29th Summit of Heads of State in Ethiopia wound up, A.U. chief, Moussa Faki Mahamat, said he will send the body’s peace and security commissioner, Smail Chergui, to Eritrea in the wake of the border tension with Djibouti.

AFP news agency reports that Asmara refused to entertain an earlier A.U. delegation stating that they still recognized Qatar as a mediator in the border tensions that led to clashes in 2008. Eritrea has also debunked assertions that it had backed Saudi and its allies in the diplomatic crisis that has isolated Qatar in the Gulf region

About a week ago, Djibouti’s foreign affairs minister formally requested the A.U. to deploy observers along its disputed border with Eritrea after Qatar withdrew its peace-keeping troops two weeks ago.

“The Qatari forces left on short notice without really preparing the ground. Leaving the status quo was not in the best interest of both countries,” Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf told Reuters during a summit of African Union leaders in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

“We proposed to the African Union that it take over the disputed side and fill the gap. We need the African Union to act very quickly,” Youssouf said.

Tensions between the two countries date back to 2008 when their armies clashed in fierce fighting that claimed several lives.

It was recently renewed in the wake of the Gulf crisis which saw Saudi and allies blacklist Qatar – who had agreed to mediate in the tensions leading to the deployment of troops. Djibouti and Eritrea reportedly backed Saudi, Asmara has rejected that claim saying relations with Doha remained intact.

The area in question is the Dumeira Island and mountains. The small island lies off the coast of both countries, specifically at the southern end of the Red Sea. It is close to a vital shipping route for global trade, the Baba-el-Mandeb strait.

UN political forum opens with focus on eradicating poverty and forming partnerships

UN political forum opens with focus on eradicating poverty and forming partnerships

Source: UN News C enter, 10 July 2017 

Source: UN in collaboration with Project Everyone

10 July 2017 – Senior government representatives are at the United Nations today for the start of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development to track progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), two years after they were adopted.

Opening this year’s political forum, Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, the President of Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), said a successful session would “send a strong message of our collective commitment to leave no one behind as we pursue the timely implementation of the 2030 Agenda.”

This year’s meeting, the second since the adoption of the new development Agenda in 2015, is on the theme of ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.’

Mr. Shava noted that this year’s discussions will focus on eliminating poverty and hunger, ensuring healthy lives, achieving gender equality, building resilient infrastructure, implementing partnerships, and build on progress achieved at The Ocean Conference to conserve and sustainably use the oceans.

The High-Level Political Forum will be held from 10 to 19 July at UN Headquarters in New York and will also include a three-day Ministerial Segment, at which more than 70 ministers are expected, and which will be held with the High-Level Segment of ECOSOC’s annual session.

In addition, the session will include discussions on the challenges and gaps in reaching the development agenda in 44 countries that volunteered to give progress reports, and more than 120 side events related to the SDGs.

“The forum is the place to be when it comes to the global review of the SDGs,” said Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo, briefing journalists about the upcoming two weeks.

He underscored the importance of all countries and a wide variety of stakeholders taking ownership of the 2030 Agenda and working across borders to make them work for everyone, including the most vulnerable, such as people with disabilities.

“Have we been successful so far? Yes,” said Mr. Wu, pointing to the Secretary-General’s progress report on the 2030 Agenda which is being launched during the Forum. “Are we satisfied? No. That is the beauty of having the high-level political Forum. It is a global, central platform on which the countries can tell you where they stand, so this is very important.”

“The important point is that we should keep everyone on point. It’s [the 2030 Agenda] is not for one country or one region; it’s for all of us. If you have a different point of view, that’s natural. But let’s keep everyone on board which is so important for mankind.”

In his opening speech earlier in the day, Mr. Wu said he was “struck” by how far countries have come towards reaching the development goals, and how far they still have to go. For example, over 767 million people worldwide lives on less than $1.90 per day in 2013, despite nearly one billion people escaping poverty since 1999.

The maternal mortality ratio must more than double the current progress by 2030; women’s political participation must climb some 75 per cent to reach equality with me, and more efforts must be put into preventing and treating non-communicable diseases so people do not die prematurely.

“I am also struck, once again, by the deeply interconnected nature of the different elements of the 2030 Agenda: both challenges and solutions connect different goals and targets,” Mr. Wu said. “This makes it imperative that we work together across silos, sectors, disciplines and individual roles or competencies.”

To key to realizing sustainable development “by all people and for all people” is revitalizing and enhancing global partnerships, the senior UN official said, calling for all relevant people to come together and work together, and to mobilize the necessary resources to put their ideas into practice.

 

EU and its partners supports training of livestock quarantines practitioners in Somalia

EU and its partners supports training of livestock quarantines practitioners in Somalia

Source: Hiiraan Online
Tuesday July 11, 2017

Nairobi (HOL) – The European Commission in partnership with African Union – InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) Enhancing Somali Livestock Trade (ESOLT) Project and the IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) Standards, Methods and Procedures (SMP-AH) Project implemented a training program to improve the governance of procedures used when Somali livestock is quarantined.

45 participants from the Federal Government of Somalia, Puntland, Somaliland as well as stakeholders were given a crash course on the theory and practice of standard quarantine operational procedures.

The 5-day training was held from 2-6th July 2017 at the IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School (ISTVS) in Somaliland.

The Commission contribution amounted to €50,000 for the 5-day training.

At the end of the seminar, participants are expected to be familiar with the knowledge and skills needed for a quarantine operation and preventative measures to mitigate against the risk of exporting live animals with Transboundary Animal Diseases (TAD), enhance communication and cooperation between the staff of the various quarantine stations.

The training ceremony was formally opened by State Minister of Somaliland Ministry ofLivestock Hon. Engineer Abdi Rashid Mohamoud Ali, alongside other delegates from Puntland and Mogadishu.

The Minister welcomed the participation of Somaliland representatives and noted the essence of harmonising procedures within the Somali export quarantines as a way of addressing the ban on livestock trade.

Dr. George Matete, the ESOLT project coordinator acknowledged the role of the European Union as the largest donor to livestock projects in Somalia. He also noted that there has been a capacity gap that needs to be failed and Somalia has livestock trade has slowed tremendously in recent years.

Somalia’s biggest national export is livestock, mainly to Middle Eastern and Gulf countries.

Other members of the panel strongly emphasized the need for a uniform livestock certification and animal trade in the horn to better comply with international requirements. Quarantining a sick animal has proven to be an effective method for improving the quality of export animals and can ultimately minimize the recurrent livestock ban placed on Somalia.

Ultimately, organizers hope that the with the implementation of the ESOLT project will result in an increase of livestock exports, raising the quality of the products and expanding to new international markets.

Recommendations

•    The workshop recommended the need for development partners to expeditiously organize a meeting as soon as possible, between the Somali ministers, the Chief Veterinary Officers (CVO’s) of importing countries (Gulf countries plus Egypt) importers, exporters, quarantines owners and chambers of commerce, to negotiate lifting the ban and the sustainability of trade. Both AU-IBAR and the Regional Economic Block IGAD through ICPALD should initiate bilateral negotiations between importing and exporting countries based on scientific base with transparency to share ideas as well as bilateral understanding under the umbrella of the IGAD.

•    The meeting recommended the need to build the capacity building for the public sector veterinary services to regulate animal inspection and certification particularly within quarantine stations as per their mandate as well as to promote effective communications between the different Somali entities and all livestock stakeholders. Such trainings should include for all value chain practitioners in the field of animal welfare.

•    Activate the quarantine network established by IGAD for all Somali quarantines for continuous communication, exchange of information and expertise.

•    Implement continuous capacity building and awareness for the livestock traders and owners and a biosecurity plan for the quarantine stations.

•    Encourage the use of the OIE website to get updated rules and regulations and domesticate such  OIE international standards, guidelines and recommendation in their legal framework for trade of live animals and all related issues this is in the light of the recent demand from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that quarantine period be extended to 30 days as an export requirement – a potential trade barrier.

CNN Exclusive: Somali pirate kings are under investigation for helping ISIS and al-Shabaab

CNN Exclusive: Somali pirate kings are under investigation for helping ISIS and al-Shabaab hare


Source: CNN, Tuesday July 11, 2017
By Robyn Kriel and Briana Duggan

Mohamed Garfanje

(CNN) In the vital transport corridors of the troubled Gulf of Aden, an old but dangerous adversary has returned to the seas — pirates.

But they may not be acting alone.

Four years since piracy attacks reached their peak, CNN sources have found threats on Somali waters are broader than ever.

Pirate kingpins

CNN has learned that the United Nations and the United States are investigating at least two pirate kingpins for providing material support to terror groups.

That material support includes helping factions of the two terror groups, al Qaeda linked al-Shabaab and Somalia’s ISIS faction, who ironically despise each other, smuggle weapons and perhaps even people across the Gulf of Aden.

One of them is Mohamed Garfanje, the kingpin of the Hobyo-Haradhere Piracy Network, which thrived in the tiny fishing village of Haradhere — often considered the birthplace of modern Somali piracy.

Garfanje is also one of the main suspects wanted for the kidnapping of American-German journalist Michael Scott Moore in 2012.

Moore tells CNN he met Garfanje during the harrowing two years and a half he spent as an hostage.
According to three sources CNN has spoken to, Garfanje is believed to have helped al-Shabaab smuggle weapons and ammunition into Somalia.

He is also still carrying out pirate attacks, according to leading piracy watchdog organization, Oceans Beyond Piracy.

“Garfanje should be in jail,” Moore said. “If it’s true that he and Bakeyle (another pirate) are out catching ships again, then they should be rounded up by authorities and prosecuted.”

Another pirate kingpin, whom CNN is not naming, is believed to have been smuggling arms and people to ISIS’ small but worrisome faction in Somalia, based in Qandala, in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland, according to UN and US sources.

UN sources say he has assisted ISIS with logistics and has a relationship with Abdulkadir Mumin, the leader of ISIS in Somalia.

Oceans Beyond Piracy researchers believe he is behind some of the recent piracy attacks in the Gulf of Aden.

Piracy spikes and US response

The Gulf of Aden off Somalia has been plagued by crimes at sea for years. It has been destabilized by a devastating, decades-long civil war on land.

After a four-year lull, more than 12 maritime piracy attacks have occurred off the coast of Somalia so far this year, according to this report by Oceans Beyond Piracy.

The recent pirate attacks have attracted comment from the US military. During US Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ visit to the US base in Djibouti, he spoke on the rise in piracy in the region.

Mattis told reporters that the US military was monitoring the situation, but he added that he didn’t see the US playing a “big military role.”

This could change if those pirates are proven to be substantially aiding terrorists, says Joshua Meservey, a senior policy analyst for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank that has provided policy recommendations to President Donald Trump’s administration.

Meservey told CNN that the US would have an incentive to disrupt the pirate networks if it “gains conclusive evidence that pirates are actively helping al-Shabaab, such as by smuggling weapons to them.”

Jason Warner a professor at the US Military Academy, West Point, in the academy’s Combating Terrorism Center, told CNN: “At the very worst, there is active collusion; at the very least Shabaab gets a cut of the money from pirates emanating from Shabaab-held ground. There have also been instances of Shabaab taxing the pirates.”

“With the current trends indicating that piracy is once again picking up off the Horn of Africa, these relationships between pirates and Shabaab will likely re-emerge as an important flashpoint,” Warner said.

“I think Trump does care about Somalia,” said Meservey. “He is clearly focused on terror threats, and al-Shabaab remains an effective, active terrorist organization.

“It also once attracted dozens of Americans to join it, and the fear is that it could do so again. I think the trend that began under Obama towards a more active military role in Somalia will continue with Trump,” he added.

China’s Policy in South Sudan

China’s Policy in South Sudan

Source: The International Crisis Group, Posted: 10 Jul 2017 10:40 AM PDT

The International Crisis Group published on 10 July 2017 a study titled “China’s Foreign Policy Experiment in South Sudan.”

Because of its oil interests in South Sudan, China has advocated a more flexible interpretation of the non-interference policy and taken a more proactive approach to its exercise of diplomacy. China continues to draw a line at intruding on matters of domestic governance; opposes regime change or unilateral military intervention; and believes that showing respect, rather than exerting pressure or inflicting punishment, is how to elicit cooperation and improvement in governance. But its considerable economic and political influence inevitably bring leverage to the table that traditional mediation efforts sometimes lack.

Five years into South Sudan’s independence, children denied childhoods – UNICEF

Five years into South Sudan’s independence, children denied childhoods – UNICEF

Source: UN News Center, 8 July 2017

 

Children bathe in a lake formed by excavation pits in Bentiu, South Sudan. Nationwide, only 41 per cent of children have access to safe, clean water. Photo: UNICEF/Hatcher-Moore

8 July 2017 – As South Sudan enters its sixth year of independence, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is calling the situation in the country “a catastrophe for children” and cautioned that they are being denied a childhood in nearly all aspects of their lives.

“A country’s independence day should be celebrated. However, today in South Sudan, there will be no celebration for the millions of children caught up in this conflict,” said Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan, on the occasion of South Sudan’s Independence Day on 9 July.

He noted that children in South Sudan are suffering “unthinkable hardships and setbacks” in their education, nutrition, health and other rights.

“In nearly all aspects of their lives children are being denied a childhood in South Sudan.”

The country has been in conflict since December 2013, with at least 2,500 children killed or injured, and more than two million children displaced or seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. Hundreds have also been raped and sexually assaulted.

“The numbers are staggering and yet each represents the ongoing misery of a child,” said Mr. Mdoe.

UNICEF noted that with 2.2 million children out of school, the country has the highest proportion of school children not in classrooms, with 70 per cent of children not receiving any education. In addition, one-third of all schools are believed to have been attacked by armed groups.

An estimated 1.1 million children in the country are acutely malnourished, according to UNICEF. In addition, children lack clean water, which has led to the ongoing outbreak of cholera – the longest and most widespread in the country’s history – with 10,000 cases reported, the majority children.

UNICEF, along with other UN agencies and non-UN partners, are working to provide safe drinking water and food to children, as well as to reunite them with their families and to support some stability in their lives through schooling.

“While UNICEF continues to increase our emergency response to reach those most in need, we reiterate what we have said time and again: humanitarian actors need full and safe access; and the children of South Sudan need peace,” Mr. Mdoe said.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Food insecurity threatens children in Yemen, South Sudan, Nigeria and Somalia – UNICEF

Human security approach ‘central’ to achieving sustainable development – UN officials

Human security approach ‘central’ to achieving sustainable development – UN officials

Source: UN News Center, 7 July 2017 

Madagascar – Human security project for the prevention of violence and vulnerability reduction for the most vulnerable inhabitants of Antananarivo 24 October 2012. Photo: UN Trust Fund for Human Security.

7 July 2017 – United Nations officials today highlighted the benefits of a human security approach to accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as tackle a range of other issues, during a high-level event held at Headquarters.

“The human security approach is instrumental to sustainable development, inclusive peace, justice and the well-being and dignity of all people. It is in fact central to the 2030 Agenda,” said Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, addressing the event.

As outlined by the General Assembly, human security is a people-centred framework based on national ownership, which according to Ms. Mohammed, aims to support governments in responding to threats impeding their people from living free from fear, want and indignity, while recognizing the complexity and interconnected nature of today’s challenges.

“It really does compel us to find coherent, comprehensive and integrated solutions that combine the expertise and resources of the United Nations system with those of governments, regional and sub-regional organizations, the private sector, civil society and communities on the ground,” she explained.

Based on lessons learned from over 15 years of supported programming by the UN Trust Fund for Human Security, the approach promotes greater coordination, advancing integrated actions for concrete results in improving the lives of peoples and communities.

At the UN, said Ms. Mohammed, the Secretary-General has embarked on a series of review processes and reforms, including management, development and the peace and security architecture, to fulfil his vision of a UN system that is less fragmented and much more efficient.

“Their underlying premise – and promise – is prevention,” she noted. “Human security is an essential part of these processes.”

By considering current and emerging risks and vulnerabilities, human security is an effective tool for prevention, she added. The human security approach can also help guide efforts to bridge the gap between humanitarian assistance and longer-term development aid.

She went on to say that programmes supported by the UN Trust Fund for Human Security have illustrated “the power of catalytic interventions that pool resources and establish strong partnerships and better coherence of results on the ground.”

“Let us work together to advance prevention and promote inclusive solutions that enhance people’s ability to live together in peace and well-being, with much stronger confidence in a sustainable future,” she stated.

General Assembly President Peter Thomson opened the event saying, “human security provides us with a focussed, analytical lens and programming framework to aid the actions we are taking towards achieving the SDGs.”

He added that with its direct focus on people, “the concept of human security finds in the SDGs an agenda that is ultimately about creating the conditions – social, economic and environmental – in which humanity can flourish.”

Today’s event was organised by the UN Human Security Unit, in partnership with the Government of Japan and the Human Security Network (Austria, Chile, Costa Rica, Greece, Ireland, Jordan, Mali, Norway, Panama, Slovenia, Switzerland, Thailand and South Africa, as an observer).

Also addressing the event, Yukio Takasu, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Human Security, said that it is essential to identify and address the root causes of human insecurity, which are often interlinked and multifaceted.

“There is no simple, straightforward solution. Through the human security approach, we will be able to address deep-rooted insecurity and implement the SDGs effectively,” he stated.

“We have to identify first who has been left out in equitable progress and are at the greatest risk of falling behind… and take action on what needs to be done.”

He added that there is a consensus on the need to adopt an integrated approach to achieve the SDGs, which no single government, entity or international organization can do alone.

“We must strengthen a multi-stakeholder framework of cooperation at the national, regional and global levels. Partnership of all stakeholders, civil society and the private sector is absolutely essential for success.”

Somalia Prepares for One Person, One Vote Polls by 2020

Somalia Prepares for One Person, One Vote Polls by 2020 hare


Source: VOA, Mohammed Yousuf
Monday July 10, 2017

FILE – Votes are counted in the first round of the presidential election in Mogadishu, Somalia, Feb. 8, 2017.


NAIROBI — African and Arab election experts are in Kenya this week meeting with Somalia’s electoral commission to help the country prepare to move to “one person, one vote” elections in 2020.

The year 2004 marked the beginning of the end to more than two decades of civil war and anarchy in Somalia. Members of Somalia’s interim parliament gathered in Nairobi to vote for a new president. They met in Kenya because Mogadishu was still too dangerous.

Somalia has since held three polls. But regular Somalis are yet to cast any ballots. The country has relied on a clan-based formula in which the lawmakers were selected by the clan elders, and then the legislators elect the president.

Last year, Somali political leaders agreed to scrap the clan-based formula in favor of a one person, one vote system. Somalia’s electoral body, the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC), hopes to make the change for the next elections in 2020.

Experts from the Organization of Arab Electoral Management Bodies and from around the continent gathered in Nairobi this week to advise the Electoral Commission.

“This [meeting] is an important step amongst others to assist NIEC with some of the experience that in turn can use as its developing its procedures and a very important step along the path to universal multi-party democratic elections,” says Electoral advisor Gerald Mitchell, director of the United Nations Electoral Support Group.

The experts agree one of the first steps to take is to register political parties.

Idris Aminu Kasimu, who works with the Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, said, “If you do not start with democracy within political parties, you have a challenge in the democracy within the country because democracy within the political parties, candidates who want to contest elections will emerge democratically and will emerge by choice of majority members of the political party, because the credibility of the general elections actually starts from the credibility of political parties and how candidates emerge.”

Credibility is something that critics say Somalia’s last two polls have lacked. The 2017 elections were marred by allegations of vote buying and irregularities, and some of the races had to be redone.

Security may be another obstacle to one person, one vote elections in 2020.

The government of Somalia, with the help of African Union troops, has retaken territory from al-Shabab, but the militant group continues to carry out attacks. Many Somalis doubt whether they can have a chance to vote.

Halima Ismail Ibrahim, the chairperson of the Somali National Independent Electoral Commission, said, “I know many Somalis are asking each other with the current crisis, how can one-man, one-vote be achieved? But we believe if we work hard on it, it can work. We also believe, as the electoral commission, we are ready and we know we can handle such an election. It is important we start working on this process as early as possible.”

The conference ends Wednesday.

Egypt and Nile Water Issues

Egypt and Nile Water Issues

Source: World Politics Review, Posted: 07 Jul 2017 11:22 AM PDT

World Politics Review published on 7 July 2017 an article titled “How Egypt Is Slowly Losing Its Hold Over the Nile River” by Julian Hattem, a journalist based in Kampala, Uganda.

The author argues that downstream Nile Basin countries, especially Ethiopia and Sudan, are gradually seizing the initiative from Egypt when it comes to use of Nile waters.

Human Trafficking Suspect Transferred to Somalia After Arrest in South Sudan

  Human Trafficking Suspect Transferred to Somalia After Arrest in South Sudan hare


Source: VOA, Harun Maruf
Saturday July 8, 2017

An suspected top human trafficker who was arrested in South Sudan has been handed over to Somalia for prosecution, according to officials in Mogadishu.

The Somali government says the man, identified as Abdulkadir Omar Abdulle, led a trafficking network in South Sudan that helped smuggle thousands of people across East Africa to Libya, where they awaited a possible journey to Europe.

Abdulle, a Somali citizen in his early 40s, was wanted on charges of trafficking and alleged abuses — including rape and murder — against the people his network was smuggling.

The Somali ambassador to South Sudan, Hussein Haji Ahmed, told VOA’s Somali Service that Abdulle ran a network of more than 30 smugglers based in South Sudan.

Abdulle was arrested in South Sudan’s capital of Juba last week. Ahmed said police told him that Abdulle was expecting new arrivals from the border with Uganda when he was captured at one of the secret homes he maintained for the smugglers.

“Police surrounded the house. He tried to jump over the wall, but was captured,” the ambassador said.

Abdulle was flown Thursday to Mogadishu, where Somali authorities took him into custody and are now holding him in a prison run by the National Intelligence and Security Agency.

Suspect ‘wanted for a long time’

“He was wanted for a long time by Interpol police from Somalia and South Sudan, and they have coordinated on his handover,” said the ambassador.

“He was a man who is conscious of his security. He was discreet and has managed to protect himself. When there is an anti-trafficking operation, he goes to a hideout in a border area between Uganda and South Sudan. He hides there.”


FILE – Migrants from Somalia try to reach Greece’s border with Macedonia, near the Greek village of Idomeni, Sept. 8, 2015.


Ahmed said police obtained information about the phone Abdulle was using and tracked it, leading to his capture in Juba.

Officials said Abdulle’s network smuggles 600 to 700 people every month. About 90 percent of them are Somalis, most of them trying to leave Somalia due to insecurity and a lack of jobs.

Many of the people being smuggled were subjected to beatings or rape, and were sometimes held hostage for ransom.

The traffickers took videos of the abuses and sent them to the victims’ relatives, to pressure them to send money quickly.

“It’s appalling the kind of treatment women receive in the hands of these traffickers, it’s inhumane,” Ahmed said. “Some of their victims are young people, 13, 14 years old. They suffer unspeakable abuses.”

Asked whether Abdulle will be prosecuted in Somalia or handed over to other countries, Ahmed said the Somali government wants to prosecute him in Somalia pending an investigation.

“We want him for illegal trafficking, we want him for the death of people being smuggled, we want him for forging documents, and we want him for abuses against the young people in South Sudan and Sudan both, and other abuses which happened along the border between South Sudan and Uganda,” he said. “He will face justice in Somalia.”

Three other Somalis suspected of involvement in the trafficking network are being held in Juba, where they are under investigation, Ahmed said.

Drought-stricken Somalia is at risk of famine (again). How can we help? hare

Drought-stricken Somalia is at risk of famine (again). How can we help? hare


Source: The World Bank,  Saturday July 8, 2017

Somalia is on the brink of famine resulting primarily from severe drought. Half of the country’s population – an estimated 6.7 million people – are acutely food insecure and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

This comes only six years after a famine led to the death of more than a quarter of a million people – half of them were children.

The negative impacts of the drought don’t stop at the risk of famine: More than 680,000 people have been displaced from rural areas in the past six months. Approximately 1.4 million children will need treatment for acute malnutrition.

The scarcity of safe drinking water has led to an outbreak of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) and cholera in 13 out of 18 regions, resulting in 618 fatalities since January 2017, according to UNOCHA.

So what is being done to help the people in Somalia cope with this crisis? Today, World Bank projects in the poorest countries contain a mechanism to redirect funds for immediate response and recovery. IDA’s “Crisis Response Window” provides additional resources to help countries respond to severe economic stress, major natural disasters, public health emergencies, and epidemics.

In May 2017, the Bank approved a US$50 million emergency project – Somalia Emergency Drought Response and Recovery Project (SEDRP) –  to scale up the drought response and recovery effort in Somalia.

The project aims to address, in the immediate term, the drought and food crisis, and also to finance activities that would promote resilient and sustainable drought recovery.

In the video, World Bank Senior Director Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez (@Ede_WBG) and SEDRP’s project leader Ayaz Parvez discuss in detail how the World Bank and its partners are working to help communities in Somalia build up their resilience in the face of the food and drought crisis.

 

Maritime Domain Awareness in the Western Indian Ocean

Maritime Domain Awareness in the Western Indian Ocean

Source: The Institute for Security Studies, Posted: 06 Jul 2017 06:02 AM PDT

The Institute for Security Studies published on 4 July 2017 a policy brief titled “Effective Maritime Domain Awareness in the Western Indian Ocean” by Christian Bueger, Cardiff University.

The policy brief reviews current activities to identify opportunities through low-tech solutions, human resources and collaboration for improvement of maritime domain awareness in the Western Indian Ocean. Despite the efforts of regional projects, such as the Djibouti Code of Conduct and the Programme to Promote Regional Maritime Security, the region remains dependent on international navies for reliable maritime domain awareness.

AU to help resolve Eritrea-Djibouti border row hare

AU to help resolve Eritrea-Djibouti border row hare


Source: Gulf Times, Wednesday July 5, 2017

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addresses the closing session of the 29th African Union summit in Addis Ababa yesterday.


The African Union is sending its security commissioner to Eritrea to help resolve its border dispute with Djibouti following the withdrawal of Qatari peacekeepers from the area, AU Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said yesterday.

“I’ve sent a mission to Djibouti and now have made the decision to send the (AU) commissioner for peace and security to Asmara,” Mahamat said at an AU summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

The AU wants to decrease tensions after Djibouti accused Eritrea of occupying disputed land on the frontier.

Qatari peacekeepers had previously withdrawn after Eritrea cut off diplomatic ties with Doha.

The mountainous border region between Eritrea and Djibouti has long been a sticking point between the two countries, with conflict flaring up in 2008.

Qatar negotiated a peace deal in 2010 and Qatari troops had been stationed in the border region ever since.