There are important areas in which regional cooperation would contribute substantially to solving the problem of food insecurity. For this reason, a RFSP should be formulated as a matter of urgency. For example, external trade, financial market integration, control of transboundary livestock and crop pests and diseases, conflict resolution, international water rights, regional infrastructure development (especially roads and telecommunications), information and communications networks (particularly in connection with providing effective early warning systems) and research facilities are all areas in which progress cannot be made without the countries of the region collaborating closely together.
At the regional level, IGAD would be expected to play a lead role in formulating the RFSP and overseeing its implementation, and would need to be strengthened for this purpose. The process would start with a renewed political commitment, on the part of Member Governments, to the goals of regional cooperation and economic integration. This would need to be reflected in the commitment of appropriate financial and workforce resources to IGAD, by the Member States, as a gesture of partnership with UN agencies and donors. UN agencies, and in particular the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), would provide technical and capacity building support to the institution in such areas as market and regional integrated information systems, early warning systems, agricultural research and development, livestock development, natural resources management, trade policy harmonization and the promotion of regional infrastructure development. Particularly in the field of conflict prevention and resolution, IGAD would work closely with OAU, which would be expected to play a key role through its Conflict Management Centre, which is already supported by UNDP. Proposals would be prepared for strengthening the regional intergovernmental organizations in collaboration with bilateral donors such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union (EU).
As with all other aspects of planning and implementing a food security programme, the process of formulating a RFSP should be as inclusive as possible. This would mean full political commitment, on the part of the governments of the region, to the formulation of a plan, and their commitment of resources, in partnership with UN agencies and donors, to its implementation. The programme would need to take into account existing regional strategies, including the World Food Summit Regional Food Security Strategy for IGAD.
Funding for the common planning and coordination activities of the RFSP implemented through IGAD would have to come from bilateral agencies. Both USAID 7 and the EU currently support IGAD programmes in a number of different fields. However, investment projects with a regional dimension (such as regional roads) and programmes with a common focus (such as a pastoralist initiative) would have to be implemented in parallel by the different governments concerned. In this case, IGAD would play a coordinating and monitoring role.
The lead agency for the RFSP would be IGAD. The Food Security and Environment Protection Programme within IGAD could be expanded in order to provide the services of secretariat for overseeing the formulation, implementation and monitoring of the RFSP. Assistance from the UN agencies would be directed by the lead regional Resident Coordinator in Ethiopia. A mechanism for coordinating regional-level activities would need to be created, possibly under the auspices of the lead regional Resident Coordinator, together with representatives of member governments, OAU and ECA.
7 Through its Greater Horn of Africa Initiative.