The Horn of Africa countries are plagued by violence and insecurity. A hub on the Red Sea trade and migration route, bordering the unstable areas of the Sahel and central Africa, the region is of strategic interest for the European Union. The EU has adopted an integrated framework to align various external policy programmes and instruments aimed at securing the region. However, strong antagonisms between the states concerned add to the difficulty of achieving a coordinated approach. A region hit by natural and man-made crises In its broadest sense, the 'Horn of Africa', the easternmost part of Africa, refers to the eight member states of IGAD, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development; Somaliland, a self-governing region of Somalia, is not recognised as an independent state by IGAD, nor by the EU. Seventy per cent of the Horn of Africa's land is arid or semi-arid, making it vulnerable to extreme rainfall variability. In 2016, droughts have been intensified by the El-Niño weather phenomenon; they can be followed by flooding caused by the opposite phase of the phenomenon, La Niña. The number of people suffering from food insecurity doubled in the region between August 2015 and August 2016. Land and water scarcity is one of the main conflict factors in the region. The region could benefit from underused assets: farmlands, or oil and gas reserves in Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Somalia; and the Nile river basin could be better exploited to develop access to water or river trade routes. Human resources are available, but developing infrastructure to tap into this potential more effectively would require trans-border cooperation, currently hindered by conflict and distrust.