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IGAD Calls for Regional Action on Climate Change.

By Kei Emmanuel Duku


Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC) has urged the Greater Horn of Africa countries to develop frameworks to combat impact of climate change.

Dr. Gulied Artan, ICPAC’s Director, was speaking at the 67th Greater Horn of African Outlook Forum for June to September, held in Juba.

Under the theme “Climate Services for Frontline Climate Action.” Dr. Artan emphasized to the forum, challenges of responding to disasters without national and regional policies.

“The Greater Horn of Africa has experienced natural disasters like floods and cyclones for the past five consecutive years,” Dr. Artan said.

He added that prolonged drought has worsened the situation in many Greater Horn of Africa countries.

“Rainfall has been below average, something I’ve never seen before,” Dr. Artan said. “On average, the Greater Horn of Africa receives four cyclones every two months, meaning cyclones occur twice a month.”

An estimated one million people across the eight Greater Horn of Africa countries face food insecurity. Additionally, heavy rains threaten to displace another million people.

Dr. Artan stressed the need for IGAD and Greater Horn of Africa countries to adapt early warning systems and develop early action programs to tackle climate change. He explained that creating national and regional frameworks would facilitate information sharing among meteorological departments.

Dr. Artan said Tanzania and Ethiopia are the only IGAD member states with national climate change policies. Kenya is yet to pass its law, and he urged South Sudan’s government to enact laws mitigating natural disaster risks.

“Kenya is about to pass a carbon market law,” Dr. Artan added. “ICPAC calls on the South Sudanese government to enact national frameworks for climate services. We at ICPAC are ready to collaborate to ensure South Sudan is well-prepared for climate change challenges.”

However, Pal Mai Deng, South Sudan’s Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation, acknowledged the country’s hydrological department as the least developed sector in terms of infrastructure and staff capacity. Weather rain gauge monitoring also falls below World Meteorological Authority and IGAD member state standards.

Minister Mai noted that forecasts predict above-normal rainfall in South Sudan, potentially leading to floods. However, he added that the northwestern and northeastern regions would experience frequent droughts exceeding previous years by 60–100%.

He said South Sudan needs over 1,500 meteorological and 500 hydrological stations for updated hydro-climate information.

“We only have eight operational hydroelectric stations, seven of which are automatic,” Minister Mai said. “Out of the four river basins, only Behr el-Jebel has monitors. The remaining three lack them, leaving a deficit of over 1,000 meteorological and 500 hydrological stations.”

Meanwhile, Albino Akol Atak, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, highlighted South Sudan’s existing struggles with climate change’s impact, partly due to limited monitoring and response capacity.

Akol pointed out that rising and extreme weather events are causing floods and displacing local populations. He added that South Sudan has experienced severe floods for four years, destroying crops and disrupting livelihoods.

“We developed the National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy in 2016 with IGAD’s support. The National Disaster Management Policy is in advanced stages and was adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2022,” Akol said.

“As a country, we’re establishing National Platforms for Disaster Risk Reduction, National Multi-Hazards Early Warning Technical Working Groups, and Disaster Risk Management Working Groups at national, state, and county levels to manage climate change shocks,” Akol added.

Since July 2022, an estimated one million people have been affected by severe flooding in 36 counties across South Sudan and the southern part of the Abyei Administrative Area.



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