Peacemaking in the Midst of War: an assessment of IGAD's contribution to regional security
Working Paper No : 59 (series 2)
Author: Sally Healy
Date : November 2009
This paper considers IGAD's contribution to regional security in the Horn of Africa since its creation in the mid 1990s. The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is the regional organisation of seven Eastern African countries mandated to achieve peace, prosperity and regional integration among its member states. An assessment of IGAD's creation, its role in two major peace processes in Sudan and Somalia and its overall effectiveness leads the author to conclude that while member states will attempt to harness IGAD's authority to legitimise their own regional agendas, the ability of the IGAD secretariat to develop an autonomous conflict-resolution capability is limited.
This paper argues that many of IGAD's failures to prevent or resolve much of the conflict in the Horn can be attributed to an entrenched political culture which endorses juridical sovereignty, mutual intervention by member states and the use of force. While African regionalism has considerable resonance with advocates of 'African solutions for African problems', IGAD currently does not possess the structural conditions that have facilitated the successful emergence of regionalism elsewhere in the world. IGAD has the potential to serve as the regional forum in which unequal relationships and localised hegemony could be managed without recourse to violence, yet this will only be realised once its institutions are consolidated, relations are restored between its fragile member states and their political and regional objectives rectified.