On 6 October 2020, more than 200 people gathered online to attend the launch of the Strengthening Drought Resilience for Smallholder Farmers and Pastoralists in the IGAD Region (DRESS-EA) project. Approved by the Adaptation Fund in October 2019, the DRESS-EA project is transboundary in nature and aims to build on existing initiatives and establish new mechanisms to address drought-related challenges in the IGAD region. The four riparian nations of Djibouti, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda will be executing this four-year project at the national level.
Providing a regional perspective of the importance of the DRESS-EA project, GWP Eastern Africa’s Chair, Peter M. Macharia explained that the existing early warning systems (EWS) will be strengthened by “…investments in optimised hydro-meteorological monitoring networks, more effective management and exchange of hydro-meteorological data [thus] improving the capacity to forecast future water and weather conditions.”
The Sahara and Sahel Observatory’s Executive Director, Mr. Khatim Kherraz emphasised that the DRESS-EA project will provide an opportunity “…to work together to enhance our understanding of the risks and opportunities and find innovative and effective ways to address the climate change challenge in a manner that will result in a climate resilient and a secure future in the IGAD region – especially for the most vulnerable groups.”
Professor Yasir A. Mohamed Ali, the Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources (Sudan) officially launched the project and in his remarks said, “Resilience against drought for smallholder farmers and pastoralists in the IGAD region is a very important issue to address.”
The DRESS-EA project, which will be implemented from 2020 to 2024, will strengthen national, regional and inter-regional alliances to not only get closer to realising Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 but to also attaining other development goals targets such as SDG 13, which focuses on combating the impacts of climate change.