The Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network (HoA-REC&N) was formed in 2006 with the aim of uniting academia and practitioners to promote environmental conservation and natural resource management across the Horn of Africa. HoA-REC&N facilitates, strengthens and advocates for improved sustainable development and better environmental governance across the Horn of Africa, with funding support from several international development partners. The Centre and Network were established to promote cooperation and knowledge exchange between organisations with environmental expertise, including NGO’s, CBO’s, research institutions and universities from Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. Currently, the Network consists of more than 40 members, of which Ethiopia has the largest share of about 40 percent. The Network is constantly growing with environmental organisations from the Horn of Africa showing an interest to join.
HoA-REC&N was initiated by the Faculty of Science in 2006 through the support from the government of the Kingdom of the Royal Netherlands. In 2010 the University Senate established HoA-REC&N as an autonomous centre governed by a board of trustees chaired by the Vice President for Research and Graduate Program accountable to the President of the University. In the current structure of the University, it is placed under the office of the President.
Situation in the Horn of Africa
The Horn of Africa has faced startling levels of environmental degradation, as a result of two factors; global climatic changes and human activities that affect natural resource integrity and trigger adverse land use. Rainfall over the last half century has become more erratic, temperatures are rising, and drought events have become more frequent. At the same time, large areas across the region have seen land degradation through deforestation, desertification, soil erosion, and loss of biodiversity and vegetation.
The effects of this degradation have been devastating in many areas, leading to food shortages, water and energy crises, resource based conflicts, and increased poverty. There is little doubt that unmitigated environmental deterioration poses a significant risk to human security in the Horn of Africa.
HoA-REC&N believes that better natural resource management and protection are urgently needed to prevent ecological collapse and a breakdown of the social fabric in many parts of the region. By promoting sustainable development and better environmental governance and management, the crises can be averted, enabling the Horn of Africa to benefit from a safer, healthier and more sustainable environment.