IGAD to Take Stock of the Nairobi Declaration and Action Plan on Refugees and Returnees

By Biruktayet Bihon

IGADSeptember 14, 2019 (Ezega.com) -- Two and a half years after the IGAD Special Summit on Durable Solutions for Refugees and Returnees, the second stocktaking meeting is to kick off in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 16th to 18th of September.

The meeting is reported to deliberate on the progress made since the historic Summit in 2017 that came up with the Nairobi Declaration.

The refugees’ situation in IGAD region presents an overbearing to the IGAD Member States and international community to urgently take action and share responsibility with hosting countries to respond comprehensively to the refugee crisis and of (re) integrating refugees and returnees into the host countries development plans and programs.

The New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants and its Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) adopted in September 2016, was the initial milestone for global solidarity and refugee protection.

It was with this understanding, for the first time, the IGAD Heads of State and government convened the first meeting subjected to the interventions improving protection and durable solutions for the Somali refugee in Nairobi.

The concern over the Protection of Somali Refugee’s living in Nairobi has printed landmark to generate a compressive regional approach to address the right of the refugees.

Towards the end of 2017 and following Djibouti Conference for Refugee Education, IGAD Member States extended the focus of the Nairobi Declaration to all refugees in the region.

As the Nairobi Declaration and Plan of Action agreed at the Summit are being rolled out, they represent the regional application of the New York Declaration and its accompanying Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) including the regional compact for refugees recently adopted.

Key milestones are developing National Action Plans, conducting regional thematic meetings, Education, Livelihoods and Health.

The outcome of the Nairobi Summit was clearly outlined comprehensive regional approach reflected in the results framework of Nairobi Plan of Action.

Accelerating solutions inside Somalia by creating conditions for safe, voluntary and sustainable return of refugees to Somalia; Maintaining the protection and asylum space for refugees in host countries by enhancing self-reliance, inclusion and access to services and assistance for refugees and host communities; Strengthening sub-regional co-operation on durable solutions for Somali refugees; and Easing pressure on host countries through increased international solidarity and responsibility sharing’ ’were indicated as the main results following the Nairobi Plan of Action.

To realize the Heads of State and governments’ commitments, IGAD has reported to propose result frameworks to translate into actions the agreed commitments.

Thus, IGAD together with the member states and partners have developed defined roadmap and national/regional plan of actions with clear indicators and measurable parameters.

In December, 2017, IGAD and government of Djibouti hosted first regional meeting of education with particular focus on refugee education as part of the Nairobi Declaration.

This regional meeting was aimed at achieving concrete implementation and catalyzing commitments made by the head of states and governments, facilitated improved access and quality of refugees’ education and host communities.

In addition, as a review and follow up meeting, IGAD with its partners organized the first inter-ministerial committee and technical experts meeting on Nairobi declaration and Action plan on durable solution for refugees and integration of returnees in Somalia hold in Nairobi between 20 and 22 March 2018.

During the meeting, IGAD Secretariat, the Member States and Partners presented progress made so far as well as priorities for the next 6-12 months with the evidence of practices in mobilizing resources and increasing international supports.

This year between 25 and 28 March 2019, IGAD in collaboration with the Government of Uganda IGAD organized the second thematic meeting on the implementation of Nairobi Plan of Action. The meeting was on Livelihoods, Jobs and Self-Reliance for Refugees, returnees and Host Communities where Member States Renewed Commitment to address the economic inclusion of the refugees and returnee in their national economies and signed Kampala Declaration and Action Plan to improve Livelihoods and Self-Reliance for Refugees, Returnees and Host Communities.

Hosting Thousands of Refugees and being the chairperson of IGAD; Ethiopia has now showed its interest to engage deeply in the Nairobi Action Plan.

The meeting is said to bring together experts and ministers from IGAD Member States, as well as partners that include the European Union (EU), the German Development Agency (GIZ), the World Bank and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The delegates will review the implementation of the Nairobi Action Plan and will provide analyses on the documented challenges and strategize to the next phase.

The speakers on Special Summit will include IGAD Executive Secretary, H.E. Amb Mahboub Maalim and the UNHCR Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, H.E. Amb Mohamed Affey.

At the Last Day of the Summit it is expected that the ministers will deliberate the second progress report from the technical experts and receive commitments from Member States and partners, before issuing a communiqué.

The three-day Addis Ababa meeting comes at the right time for the IGAD region to prepare for the Global Refugee Forum (GRF) scheduled to take place end of the year in Geneva, Switzerland.  


Biruktayet-BihonBiruktayet Bihon is Addis Ababa-based contributor for Ezega.com. She can be reached through this form.

Other articles by Biruktayet Bihon:

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