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October 28, 2019 (ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), is holding a Technical Workshop on the Return and Reintegration of Migrants in the East and Horn of Africa for IGAD Member States on Oct. 29 and 30 in Addis Ababa.

The primary objective of the workshop is to provide a forum for IGAD Government officials on addressing issues related to assisted voluntary return and sustainable reintegration of migrants in the East and Horn of Africa. The workshop is also expected to propose actions to respond more comprehensively to the need of safe return and sustainable reintegration of returnees and by discussing policy and good practices in the IGAD member states.

The outcomes and recommendations of the workshop will also be used for the implementation of the Joint Initiative programme, in particular for capacity building initiatives and for the improved delivery of reintegration services.

The two-day technical workshop will bring together participants from IGAD Members States (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda) and four Joint Initiative priority countries.

According to the Director of Health and Social Development, Fathia A. Alwan, ‘sustainable reintegration should not only look at the immediate needs of a returning migrants but also the community enabling environment and structural factors in areas on return’.

She highlighted that at a regional level, there was a ‘lack of a cooperation framework of return and reintegration’ while at the national level, ‘IGAD member states are yet to develop policies frameworks and guidelines for sustainable return and reintegration’.

As Fathia Alwan concluded her opening remarks, she called upon the participants to brainstorm on the challenges and share best practices in respective member states ‘in order to inform how best we can address the immediate and long term needs of returning migrants’.

The Joint Initiative enables migrants who decide to voluntarily return to their countries of origin to do so in a safe and dignified way. In close cooperation with partnering state and non-state actors, it provides assistance to returning migrants to help them restart their lives in their countries of origin through an integrated approach to reintegration that supports both migrants and their communities, has the potential to complement local development, and mitigates some of the drivers of irregular migration.

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration (Joint Initiative) was launched in December 2016. It is the first comprehensive programme bringing together African countries, IOM and the European Union (EU) around the shared vision of ensuring that migration is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities and supports implementation of priorities outlined in the Joint Valletta Action Plan. The Joint Initiative is implemented in some Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Member States: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan as priority countries and extended to other Khartoum Process countries. It is funded by the European Union.

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