Bureau of African Affairs
November 12, 2002
Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is the successor organization to the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD), created in 1986 by six drought stricken East African countries to coordinate development in the Horn of Africa. IGAD headquarters are in Djibouti.
In April 1996, at the recommendation of the Heads of State and Government, the IGAD Council of Ministers identified three priority areas of cooperation: Conflict Prevention, Management, and Resolution, and Humanitarian Affairs; Infrastructure Development (Transport and Communications); and Food Security and Environment Protection.
IGAD seeks to foster regional security and sustain economic development. The leading principles of IGAD are stipulated in the agreement establishing IGAD and are consistent and contribute to principles of both the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity. IGAD aims and objectives include promoting peace and stability in the subregion and creating mechanisms within the subregion for the prevention, management, and resolution of inter-State and intra-State conflicts through dialogue.
Article 18 of the IGAD establishing Agreement states that member States shall act collectively to preserve peace, security, and stability in order to facilitate economic development. Along these lines, since its inception IGAD has been extensively involved in peace efforts in Somalia and southern Sudan. Today, restoration of peace in Sudan and Somalia remains the primary goal of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. The IGAD peace process, a regional initiative based on a declaration of principles, provides the framework for resolution of Sudan's 17-year civil war. A chairman is elected by the member states in rotation. Sudan chairs the IGAD process, joined by mediators Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Uganda. For the medium-term, IGAD is seeking to build capacity in the areas of conflict prevention and the alleviation and mitigation of humanitarian crises.
IGAD has several important institutions. The Assembly of Heads of State and Government, which meets at least once a year, is the supreme organ of the Authority. The Council of Ministers, which is composed of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and one other Focal Minister designated by each member state, meets at least twice a year. The Committee of Ambassadors, which is comprised of IGAD member states' Ambassadors or Plenipotentiaries accredited to the country of IGAD Headquarters, advises and guides the Executive Secretary. This advice is aimed at helping the Secretary realize the work plan approved by the Council of Ministers and interpret policies and guidelines that require further elaboration. The Secretariat is the Executive arm of the Authority and 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, in addition to the Office of the Executive Secretary, has three Divisions, one each in the areas of Economic Cooperation, Agriculture and Environment, and Political/Humanitarian Affairs.
IGAD Member States are: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda. Eritrea became the seventh member of IGAD following its independence in 1993.