Conflict Early Warning and Response Mechanism, CEWARN, for short, launched in 2002, is a co-operative initiative of the seven IGAD (Inter-governmental authority on development) member countries, namely,
The basic underlying mission of CEWARN is to assess situations that could potentially lead to violence or conflicts and prevent escalation. CEWARN has in the past 9 years, primarily focused on avoiding conflicts related to cross-border pastoralist and other associated issues. The organization\’s tagline, “Empowering stakeholders to prevent violent conflicts”, in a gist, explains what they have been working towards for the past 9 years and continue to do so.
By establishing national collaboration between several government and non-governmental stakeholders such as Conflict Early Warning and Response Units (CEWERUs), National Research Institutes (NRIs), and Field Monitors (FMs), the CEWARN target of early warning and response has been undertaken in three main geographical clusters, namely, the Karamoja cluster (includes cross-border regions of Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, and Uganda), the Somali cluster (encompassing cross-border regions of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia), and the Dikhil Cluster (cross-border regions of Djibouti and Ethiopia).
The function is carried out by collecting and discussing information regarding the outburst and elevation of probable violent conflict in the region occupied by the IGAD countries, analying and processing this data, and coming up with alternative routes of response.
The ultimate goal of CEWARN is to establish itself as a self-sufficient, functional and long-standing conflict warning and response system in the IGAD region; promoting an environment of positive co-operation among the stakeholders, in response to possible and real violent conflict between these countries, and set the grounds for peacefully settling disputes in the area.
In the latest CEWARN meeting in May 2011, several propositions were made, the most prominent of which was the idea of CEWARN’s liasion with the IGAD Climate Prediction And Application Centre (ICPAC), in order to take into account the conflict indication of climatic situations such as drought, flooding. Food security and early warning systems for famines were also proposed. The implementation of these proposals is en route.