8 May 2019, NAIROBI (Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in partnership with Maseno University and the Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), this morning inaugurated an “International Scientific Conference on Forced Displacement and Mixed Migration in the and East and Horn of Africa” in Nairobi.
Participants are comprised of researchers, policy makers, development partners and practitioners working in and outside the IGAD region.
The three-day conference that ends on 10 May 2019 is an effort to provide a convergence platform for reflections on forced displacement and mixed migration to address the issues in a more humane and sustainable manner for both those displaced persons and host communities.
This conference is aimed at enabling a scholarly and policy interrogation of the relationship between forced displacement and other forms of migration (mixed migration flows). Secondly, it will be an opportunity to assess and analyse new knowledge and developments in migration management in the Horn of Africa in particular and the African continent as a whole. The participants will also discuss how these mixed migration flows are influenced by the political economy of international migration.
In discussing these broad dynamics, the conference aims to help in shaping future directions of the forced displacement and mixed migration discourse, interventions and policy in the Horn and East Africa.
During a comprehensive opening session that saw interventions by representatives of the host country, the IGAD Chair, OSSREA, Maseno University, the UNHCR, the International Organisation for Migration, the German development agency GIZ and the World Bank, the Director of Health and Social Development Division at IGAD, Ms Fathia A. Alwan, highlighted that migration and forced displacement required “sound legal frameworks and policies for the protection and empowerment of vulnerable populations and for enhancing the developmental impacts of those who are affected”.
“Sound legal frameworks and polices, in turn, need reliable data and scientific research in scaling up responses to existing needs and we must make our response even more relevant”, she said; thus the rationale behind the conference.
This conference is made possible with financial support from the German Cooperation, the World Bank, and the Swiss Government.
Forced displacement presents a major development challenge in the East and Horn of Africa Region, accounting for some of the world’s most protracted displacement cases with limited prospects for return or self-reliance. In light of this, the “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants”, adopted the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) which provides an imperative to overcome the long held view of refugees and migrants as burden to societies while calling for increased solidarity and responsibility sharing in addressing displacement and mobility.
It is within this context that the IGAD Special Summit held in 2017 adopted the Nairobi Declaration and its accompanying Plan of Action on durable solutions for Somali refugees (with a much broader reach on solutions for refugees and host communities in the region). The Nairobi Declaration is the regional application of the CRRF which seeks a multi-sectoral approach in dealing with displacement and takes cognizance of the development impacts of displacement on host communities and governments.