The CEWARN Protocol lays down a wide range of areas on which CEWARN can collect information. These include livestock rustling, conflicts over grazing and water points, nomadic movements, smuggling and illegal trade, refugees, land mines and banditry. CEWARN has, however, been mandated by the Member States to commence with the monitoring of cross-border pastoral and related conflicts, providing information to Member States concerning potentially violent conflicts as well as their outbreak and escalation in the IGAD region. Incidentally, the Horn is home to the largest pastoralist population in the world and cattle rustling is one of the violent practices among the pastoral communities.
The Mechanism has been operationalized in three Clusters known as the Karamoja, Somali and Afar-Issa clusters. The above areas only represent a portion of pastoral communities in the Horn of Africa.
CEWARN operates an indicator-based early warning system focused on cross border and interstate pastoral and related conflicts, monitoring specific factors in so far as any aspect relating to them could be a peace-promoting or conflict generating. Collection and analysis of information received from the field is done through National Research Institutes (NRIs), independent bodies contracted directly by CEWARN.
Part of the strength of the Mechanism is the ability to link up with the formal government structures at the national and local levels as well as with the civil society. At the national level, national Early Warning and Early Response Units referred to as CEWERUs have been established in all Member States except Somalia. The composition of CEWERUs include representatives from government, security agencies, Members of Parliament and civil society. The value of the CEWERU lies in its capacity to generate or cause a response as a result of information or alerts received from CEWARN.
The data analyzed reports (which include Country and regional Updates as well as alerts and Situation Briefs) generated by CEWARN are shared with the CEWERUs at the national level and with coordinating structures of the mechanism like the Technical Committee on Early Warning (TCEW) and the Committee of Permanent Secretaries (CPS) at the regional level.
CEWARN currently produces three periodic reports and two early warning Briefs.
Baseline Reports: provide analyses of the structural influences and causes of conflicts in a historical and socio-economic context. It also provides an overview of the impact of conflict and vulnerability of these communities. These reports are updated after every 5 years.
Country and Cluster Updates: are national and ‘Cluster’ based reports, documenting and analyzing the conflict and peace situation of the Areas of Reporting. Both reports are produced after every four months.
Alerts and Situation Briefs are warnings that are issued as the situation demands. Alerts are real time warnings on impending violent conflicts that need urgent interventions. Situation Briefs report on occurrences (natural or manmade) that could threaten the existing peace or worsen already tense situation and lead to violent conflicts.
All the above reports provide short, intermediate and long term response recommendations to stakeholders at all levels—Local, National, Regional and International.