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New Policy Brief Calls for Shift from Crisis Response to Resilience Building in the Horn of Africa

Updated: Jun 10

The Centre for Pan-African Studies at SOAS and Shabaka have published a new policy brief that calls for a fundamental shift in the approach to humanitarian crises in the Horn of Africa. This comes in response to the escalating humanitarian emergencies in the region, marked by armed conflict, food insecurity, climate change, political instability, and loss of livelihoods. The brief stresses the need to move from crisis response to resilience-building, emphasising locally-led initiatives and enhanced regional cooperation. 

 

The humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa has reached alarming proportions. As of April 2024, approximately 8.2 million people are displaced in Sudan, 4.47 million in Somalia, 3.4 million in Ethiopia, and over 2.02 million in South Sudan. Food insecurity is widespread, with nearly 18 million people in Sudan and 16 million in Ethiopia facing acute hunger. This dire situation is compounded by widening humanitarian funding gaps and donor commitments falling short of meeting actual needs. 

 

To tackle these interconnected crises, the policy brief offers a series of recommendations. A key focus is increasing support for locally-led initiatives by redirecting humanitarian funding to grassroots organisations and local civil society groups. This approach aims to align humanitarian efforts with the real needs of affected communities, giving them greater control over their futures. Additionally, it calls for stronger support for local civil society and diaspora partners, who are often the first responders to crises but are frequently overlooked and underfunded. 

 

The brief also emphasises the importance of resilience-building through long-term collaboration among funders, humanitarian partners, and local communities. It suggests greater support for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre to improve climate forecasting and early warning systems.  Strengthening regional cooperation is another crucial aspect of the recommendations. The policy brief calls for revitalising IGAD to foster trust among member states and align regional and international priorities.  

 

The Centre for Pan-African Studies and Shabaka also urge international stakeholders to adopt a more holistic approach, integrating political, security, and humanitarian strategies while emphasising transcontinental collaboration. This broader perspective would recognise the strategic importance of the Red Sea region and its role in global trade and food security. The aim is to foster comprehensive cooperation that goes beyond transactional relationships and addresses regional security threats, including piracy and smuggling. 

 

The recommendations are based on discussions from a closed round table meeting organised by the Centre for Pan-African Studies at SOAS, University of London, and Shabaka on 14 February 2024, attended by researchers and specialists on the Horn of Africa region, former African Union (AU) representatives, the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD), international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) and donors supporting crisis response, FCDO regional specialists, and diaspora humanitarians. Click below to see the full report.


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