14 July 2015 – IGAD’s Executive Secretary Amb.(Eng.) MahboubMaalim and H.E. Mr. Sebastian Kurz, Federal Minster for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria, today signed a Memorandum of understanding (MoU) which makes the Government of Austria a lead development partner of CEWARN on a Rapid Response Fund (RRF).
IGAD’s Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism (CEWARN) was set up in 2002 as a specialized unit to provide data-based conflict early warning information and analysis to government and non-government actors in IGAD Member States.
In 2009, CEWARN set up the Rapid Response Fund (RRF) as a multi-donor basket fund to support locally-driven crisis response projects that contain the spread and escalation of violent conflicts across the borders of Ethiopia-Djibouti; Ethiopia-Kenya-South Sudan Uganda; as well as Ethiopia-Kenya-Somalia.
Projects supported by the RRF range from short-term peace dialogues to modest development projects that provide peace dividends to communities affected by conflict. In line with CEWARN’s strategic aim of promoting proactive response to violent conflicts in the region, these projects are also intended to catalyze long-term structural and policy response to conflicts.
The Government of the Republic of Austria has been CEWARN’s strong partner on the RRF including by making direct financial contributions that so far amount to over USD 900,000.
The signing of the MoU which was held at the CEWARN regional office in Addis Ababa, signifies a more robust collaboration between the Austrian government and CEWARN in making the RRF financially resilient and expanding its use to support crisis response projects on a broader range of violent conflict and insecurity challenges in the region. Since 2012, CEWARN’s early warning and response mandate has expanded beyond what was initially limited to cross-border pastoral and related conflicts to a much broader spectrum of conflict typologies and geographic areas.
The Rapid Response Fund has so far supported 52 CPMR related projects along the borders of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda. While these projects range in worth from USD 10,000- 50,000. Their combined worth is close to1.8 Million USD.
An independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the RRF and its projects undertaken in 2011 revealed that projects implemented through the RRF support have led to significant decrease in violent conflicts. This was most visible in CEWARN areas of reporting along the KenyaUganda and the Ethiopia-Kenya-Somalia borders.
Development partners that have made contributions to the RRF so far include the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) as well as the Governments of Belgium, Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom.