Examining the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Non-Interference Principle as a Conflict Management Strategy in the Horn of Africa

  • Micheale Kihishen Gebru (Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS))
  • Kjetil Tronvoll (Oslo New University College)


The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) advocates for non-intervention principle as a conflict management strategy in the Horn of Africa. However, the principle's contribution and effectiveness in conflict management have sparked debates and concerns. Thus, the purpose of this article is to critically examine the IGAD non-intervention principle in conflict management, focusing on its actual contributions and potential shortcomings. The principle is assessed based on its stated objectives and the attainment of the desired outcomes. The study used the principles of non-intervention and responsibility to protect to examine the IGAD's non-intervention. The study adopted qualitative research methodology with a case study design. Four interstate interventions were selected as case studies and used as data sources. The findings demonstrate that IGAD’s non-intervention policy fails to prevent and manage interstate intervention and intrastate conflicts. The principle does not manage to protect the sovereignty of its member states, as the region witnessed four cases of interstate intervention between 2005 and 2020. The principle's inability to prevent and manage interstate interventions and intrastate conflicts demonstrates its limitations in achieving desired outcomes. The article has identified four limitations of the principle: lack of clarity on non-intervention and internal affairs, mismatch between rhetoric and state practice, IGAD’s lack of enforcement mechanisms, and the principle's limitations in dealing with contemporary peace and security challenges in a region with high level of conflicts. This article further illustrates that the principle not only has limitations in managing conflicts but also contradicts its objectives, hindering the organization’s leadership role.

Keywords: conflict management strategy, Horn of Africa, IGAD, non-intervention principle, interstate intervention, responsibility to protect

How to Cite:

Gebru, M. K. & Tronvoll, K., (2024) “Examining the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Non-Interference Principle as a Conflict Management Strategy in the Horn of Africa”, Negotiation and Conflict Management Research 17(1), 41-71. doi:



Published on
10 Mar 2024
Peer Reviewed