The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is the regional organisation of seven Eastern African countries with a stated ambition to achieve peace, prosperity and regional integration among its member states. This paper assesses the contribution that IGAD has made to regional security in the Horn of Africa since the mid 1990s. It begins with a brief account of the origins of IGAD in 1986 and the development of its peace and security mandate in 1996, set in the context of an evolving African regionalism. It then examines the two major peace processes over which IGAD has presided, the first for Sudan (1993-2005) and then the Somali process (2002-2004). The next section considers the overall effectiveness of IGAD’s contribution to peace and security and assesses the success of IGAD’s reconciliation efforts in Sudan and Somalia. The paper argues that the regional security framework of IGAD was conceived during an exceptional (and brief) interlude of good relations among all its member states. It attributes the subsequent failure of IGAD to prevent or resolve much of the serious conflict in the Horn to an entrenched political culture that endorses the use of force and mutual intervention by states in each other’s conflicts and domestic affairs. It notes that IGAD member states continue to fuel conflict even when reconciliation talks are in progress and suggests that where positive results have been achieved these are more the product of regional power politics than of IGAD’s institutional strength. It concludes that the scope for the IGAD Secretariat to develop an autonomous conflict-resolution capability will remain limited, but that member states will still seek to utilise IGAD’s authority to legitimise their own regional policies.
Working Paper No. 59 (series 2), London, UK; Crisis States Research Centre, 24 pp.