Djibouti

Country background

The Republic of Djibouti is situated in the Horn of Africa bordering Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Yemen. Its location on the eastern coast of Africa, the southern outlet of the Red Sea and the western Gulf of Aden, that is, between the Suez Canal and the Far East, is the origin of its strategic importance.

123,000km2

Total Surface area

900,000

Population

577,933

Urban Population

All of Djibouti’s  territories are Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs). The country receives cumulative rainfall of approximately 150mm annually. Djibouti ASALs limit production systems and livelihoods due to ecological constraints such as erratic rainfall pattern; heavy showers that are lost as run-off; high rates of evapo-transpiration rates; highly competitive weeds; and low organic matter contents in soils.
Djibouti has a dual economy of a modern sector, based on income, co-existing with a large informal sector. Massive influx of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) mainly from the Gulf countries, are destined
for capital-intensive sectors and therefore do little job creation. These FDIs are part of the long-term strategy of the authorities to make Djibouti a regional platform of commercial, logistical and financial services.
According to a household survey carried by the statistics department in 2013, the incidence of extreme poverty in Djibouti was 21.1%, with Djibouti city having an incidence of 13.7% while the rest of the country had an incidence of 40.9%. Over the past decade, economic damages resulting from droughts have amounted to millions of Djibouti francs caused by climate changes. The droughts in 1983–85, 1991–92, 1998–99, 2010-2011 and recently in 2016 have resulted in between 37% and 62% of the livestock population perishing, mostly from starvation and lack of water. The fragile
resource base in Djibouti rural areas is very sensitive to changes in climatic conditions, making pastoralists and agro-pastoralists highly vulnerable to climate change.

 

National IDDRSI Coordination Mechanism

A Strategic Coordination Committee, under the co-presidency of the Ministry of Economy and Finance responsible for Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was established by presidential decree No. 2015 -311 / PR / MEFI dated 03 November 2015. It includes all line ministries and technical and financial partners concerned, as well as the senior officials of the cooperation. The Strategic Coordination Committee is the platform designated to implement the recommendations of the annual forum for development assistance coordination. It works through sectoral groups and the Technical Secretariat has been placed under the authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The Secretariat is responsible for facilitating the proper functioning of the committee.

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There is a subgroup of Resilience, Climate Change, and Food Security, chaired by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, Livestock, and Marine Resources. Members are all line government institutions and development partners (see details in the organigram below).

The main mandate of the subgroup is the exchange of information related to resilience, climate change, and food security and coordinate all activities related to this theme. It has a mandate as well to prepare investment plans and mobilize resources accordingly. It held its first meeting on 30 April 2017.

The Government of Djibouti, under the leadership of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, Livestock, Fisheries in charge of marine resources (IDDRSI focal point) favors a solid participatory approach (from bottom up) and has created a solid basis for implementation of the IDDRSI drought resilience strategy. In each ongoing or planned project and program, there is a steering committee of which the local communities are represented.

Djibouti is arid and semi-arid climates. The ecological constraints of Djibouti ASALs set limits to rural production systems and livelihoods. These constraints include

  • A rainfall pattern that is inherently erratic;
  • Rains which often fall as heavy showers and are lost as run-off;
  • Extreme high levels of potential evapo-transpiration rates which quickly reduces available water and moisture;
  • Highly competitive weeds growing more vigorously than cultivated crops and likewise competing for moisture and
  • Low organic matter contents in soils except for short periods after harvesting or after manure applications.

Djibouti is characterized by recurrent drought, famine, and environmental degradation and is amongst the world’s most food-insecure and ecological vulnerable regions with 20% of inhabitants being pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. 

The country has experienced an unprecedented drought since 2007, seriously affecting more than 50% of the rural.

Extending well beyond the borders of Djibouti, this drought has also encouraged the resurgence of refugees entering the country since May 2011. 

The drought has had multiple and cumulative effects resulting in (i) a sharp drop in groundwater and drying up of traditional wells for the supply of drinking water to the rural population and livestock; (Ii) the degradation or total disappearance of the vegetation cover in many areas of range, thus decimating the herd; (Iii) and the depletion of wells in small agricultural areas.

A combination of population pressure, desertification and above all drought is forcing Djibouti pastoralists out of their traditional grazing lands to live in improvised settlements near the capital city. 

Rural conditions in the small Horn of Africa nation at the mouth of the Red Sea are approaching the point where the pastoralist way of life itself – in which people are almost entirely dependent on their animals – might soon no longer be viable. 

 “Distress sales” of privately-owned cattle, sheep and goats are becoming more and more common as people move toward Djibouti city in the hope of finding casual work or humanitarian aid. 

Djibouti “Pastoralism” combines the way of living and the distinct production system. Both elements are mutually dependent and the response to the marked ecological conditions and rainfall variability, have evolved over generations and used the main strategy of mobility to access limited water and grazing resources in large ecosystems across borders.

The majority of livestock is kept in pastoral and agro-pastoral production systems, which are driven by the availability of pasture and water. The fragile resource base in Djibouti rural areas is very sensitive to changes in climatic conditions, which makes pastoralists and agro-pastoralists highly vulnerable to climate change. The droughts cause highly level of animal mortality, mostly from starvation and lack of water. 

A combination of population pressure, desertification and above all drought is forcing Djibouti pastoralists out of their traditional grazing lands to live in improvised settlements near the capital city. 

Rural conditions in Djibouti are approaching the point where the pastoralist way of life itself – in which people are almost entirely dependent on their animals – might soon no longer be viable. 

“Distress sales” of privately-owned cattle, sheep and goats are becoming more and more common as people move toward Djibouti city in the hope of finding casual work or humanitarian aid. 

Djibouti is exposed to numerous natural hazards:

  • Acute droughts occurring approximately every 4 years since 1996;
  • Large floods returning on average every 10 years;
  • Frequent earthquakes reaching magnitudes of 4 to 5 on the Richter scale;
  • Volcanism in the Afar depression region; And (v) fires related to prolonged dry periods.

The country has experienced an unprecedented drought since 2007, according to the Djibouti government, seriously affecting more than 50% of the rural population.

The drought has had multiple and cumulative effects resulting in (i) a sharp drop in groundwater and drying up of traditional wells for the supply of drinking water to the rural population and livestock; (Ii) the total degradation or disappearance of the vegetation cover in many rangelands, thereby decimating livestock; (Iii) and the depletion of wells in small agricultural areas.

In addition, drought has had a major impact on household incomes and living conditions (especially in rural areas), food security, and the prevalence of malnutrition and the health of populations, especially the most vulnerable.

The occasional cyclonic disturbance from the Indian Ocean resulting heavy rains and flash floods, cause property damage in both rural and urban areas, often resulting high displacement of the affected population.

Djibouti had limited volcanic activity experiences, Ardoukoba (elev. 298 m) last erupted in 1978; Manda-Inakir, located along the Ethiopian border, is also historically active.

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