IGAD was initially established to address issues of drought and development in the region. It was revitalized in 1996 and its mandate expanded. IGAD’s expanded mandate is to coordinate and harmonize policies in the areas of socio-economic, agricultural development, environmental protection and political and humanitarian affairs.
The prioritization of programme and projects in the expanded areas of cooperation recognizes the alleviation and mitigation of humanitarian crises as an integral part of IGAD’s overall strategy for sustainable development in the region. A series of natural and manmade hazards induced disasters and other urgent challenges facing the IGAD Region have necessitated the realization by the political leaders of the region for more integrated cooperation in the area of DRM.The IGAD Secretariat with the active participation of the member states has been involved in consul- tative work to develop Regional Disaster Preparedness Strategy and Programme. The strategy/pro- gramme was presented to the IGAD Policy Organs for endorsement. The strategy/programme was endorsed 2003 and mandated the IGAD Secretariat to start the process of operationalization.
The overall objective of the disaster risk management programme is to establish capacities to mitigate impacts and manage disaster risks and ensure that when people are affected by disasters they can continue to meet their minimum needs for food, water, shelter, health and security and reduce impacts on the people.
The risk management concept is used to refer not only to primary risk reduction or prevention and mitigation activities, but it is also perceived as an integral concept and a tool that covers the whole spectrum of risk, including conflict, disaster risk management from prevention through reconstruction, preparedness and response. Here the major conceptual shift is that it is the risk scenario rather than the disaster itself, which becomes the center for stakeholder interventions.