Dec 16, 2019 (Geneva, Switzerland): Through the office of the IGAD Executive Secretary, H.E. Dr Workeneh Gebeyehu, IGAD Member States launched the IGAD regional support platform at the Global Refugee Forum currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.
The support platform is designed to motivate and aggregate of support from the international community, civil society and the private sector on one hand. On the other hand, the IGAD support platform will facilitate and coordinate the delivery of this technical and financial support for refugees, returnees and host host communities and funnel it to where it is most needed. Ultimately, the IGAD support platform will strengthen the implementation of long-term solutions to the refugee situation in the East and Horn of Africa
The IGAD support platform represents the world’s leading comprehensive regional approach towards realising the commitments set out in the Nairobi declaration on durable solutions for refugees and reintegration of returnees and is emblematic of the commitment of IGAD to address the rising needs of the over 4 million refugees in the region. IGAD was the first region to embark on implementation of longer-term actions and comprehensive responses outlined the Global Compact on Refugees, affirmed by the UN General Assembly in December 2018 and aimed at strengthening the international response to refugee situations.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi recognised that the IGAD Member States of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda “were at the forefront of adopting new approaches to dealing with refugees” he added that “It may be a region of great displacement, but has also become a region of solutions and opportunities.” IGAD Member States corroborated the statement of the Hugh Commisioner demonstrating for instance how in Ethiopia, the new refugee law permits refugees to open bank accounts and receive work permits; in Uganda refugees have access to land, freedom of movement and the right to work and own businesses, as well as inclusion of refugees in national education and healthcare plans; and in Somalia how in development in governance and infrastructure are progressively improving the conditions fro return and reintegration .
During the launch of the IGAD support Platform, Mme. Fathia Alwan, Director for Health & Social Development, IGAD secretariat drew participants attention to the progress IGAD has made in implementing the Global Compact on Refugees through the 2017 Djibouti Declaration of Refugee Education in which IGAD Member States agreeing to standardize education for refugees across there region by 2020 and the 2018 Kampala Declaration in which IGAD Member States Committed to expand economic livelihoods and work opportunities for refugees, returnees and host communities. “ These declarations are more than signed documents – they are changing the reality for refugees on the ground” said Ms. Alwan on behalf of the IGAD ES.
Participants at the IGAD spotlight session also identified remaining gaps and needs and the launch of a support platform motivated humanitarian and development organizations, private sector actors and donors to make concrete pledges of support to show solidarity with IGAD countries and help to improve the lives of refugees, returnees and host communities in the region.