Centre for Human Environment
Institute for Development
Studies (CHE/IDS)


Notwithstanding an array of declarations, communiqués and action programmes, the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa continues unabated. The crisis assumes additional dimensions as rapid political developments spurred by changes in institutional development and governance as well as economic adjustments continue to make new demands on individuals and communities already at the brink of collapse.


Persistent armed conflict over the past decades have constrained economic development and have resulted in making the sub-region among the least developed areas of the world. Massive militarisation and continued war has squandered valuable and scarce resources and has caused unparalleled human disaster, rendering the region's population chronically vulnerable and dependent on international charity.

Today, the international aid community is reaching the consensus that governments by themselves are unable to decrease people’s vulnerability. They have recognised that future efforts must accord civil society a substantial and expanded role; a strategy which implies the need for greater decentralisation and autonomy in the management of development.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that future progress depends on negotiating a trend toward greater institutional pluralism and broad based participation in the mobilisation and management of resources. Thus the creation of institutions such as CHE was necessary. The question is: How are we going to deliver this?