The history of establishing the IGAD Security Sector Program (ISSP) emanates from the successful implementation of the activities as well as the challenges of the previous program, the IGAD Capacity Building Program against Terrorism (ICPAT). ICPAT was launched in 2006 and aimed at building national capacity to resist terrorism and promoting regional securing cooperation. It comprised of five main components, namely; enhancing judicial capacity, optimizing interdepartmental cooperation, enhancing border control, providing training, and promoting strategic cooperation.
The general achievements of ICPAT during its life span can be summarized with six points:
- It did well to cover most of the IGAD member states and has shown that security is not only national but regional with broad scope for cooperation in a number of security related fields.
- It was successful in building capacity in the region with regard to countering terrorism as member states possess a stronger counterterrorism posture.
- It saw positive and indeed fundamental contributions including the signing of the Mutual Legal Assistance and Extradition Conventions.
- It’s diverse and various trainings were an important positive impact as they increased the knowledge and awareness of member states.
- It demonstrated the value of thinking beyond the states when planning for security as it helped experts and officials to envisage security in a more comprehensive vision.
- It succeeded in overcoming the human and financial resource limitations that have hampered other parts of IGAD as well as other RECs and the African Union.
The fact however, is that the IGAD region is source, transit and final destination of a wide range of security threats, calling for a concerted regional approach and collaboration. Despite ICPAT’s notable achievements, its mandate means that it is not in a position to effectively deal with evolving security challenges in the region and increasing demands.
Resulting from a revitalized IGAD’s Peace and Security strategy and the concurrence of the Member States, IGAD has sought to restructure ICPAT to enable it meet the challenges posed by an environment exhibiting a convergence of various threats. The new structure, re-named IGAD Security Sector Program (ISSP), absorbs the best practices from the four years of ICPAT while at the same time addressing regional security matters in a holistic manner. Accordingly, ISSP was launched and became operational on October 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia