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April 4, 2023 (DJIBOUTI-VILLE, Djibouti):   The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) commenced the regional Consultative Meeting on the Preparation for the December 2023 Global Refugee Forum and provided recommendation and way forward, under the IGAD support platform, today, in Djibouti Ville, Djibouti.

The overall objective of the two days meeting is to take stock of the implementation status of pledges and commitments, including, to tease out potential best practices, as well as, to assess potentials for joint pledges and to review and validate the GRF roadmap for the IGAD Support Platform.

Speaking on behalf of the Executive Secretary of IGAD, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, the Director for Health and Social Development Division, Mme. Fathia Alwan, welcomed the participants and calls for broadened partnerships (particularly core-group members of the EU, World Bank, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, USA, many others) and stronger cooperation at all levels.

“As we gear up to the December 2023 Global Refugee Forum, we must identify the key priorities for our region.  We must not lose sight of the compact’s intended purpose, which is to address the impact of displacement on the refugee-hosting countries and communities.”  She highlighted.

Moreover, the Director expressed that the Republic of Uganda has been a leading example in progressive refugee policy with the country currently hosting over 1.4 million or 33% of all refugees in the IGAD region who are residing in the country.

Madam Fathia, further emphasized that Uganda’s policy of refugee integration of is a testament to its commitment to providing protection and assistance to those who have been forcibly displaced from their homes.

“We should all recognize and appreciate their leadership in this regard.  I am, particularly, grateful to the Government of Uganda for their role to co-convene the Global Refugee Forum this year and for their continued commitment to refugees.” She stressed.

Mr. Houssein Hassan Darar Executive Secretary of the National Office for Assistance to Refugees and Victims (ONARS) on his part pointed out that the regional meeting comes at the right time, just as we have just concluded the second annual national dialogue on forced displacement.

Saying that Time is not on our side as we need to accelerate the identification of challenges and areas that require increased government support in finding solutions to forced displacement, Mr. Houssein called for participants to take advantage of this conclave to harmonize our global vision on forced displacement but also the national legal and institutional frameworks.

According to the Executive Secretary, the crucial step conditions the effectiveness of the IGAD support platform on its efforts and its objectives in terms of realizing the promises made.

“Today, we are on the eve of the Global Refugee Forum scheduled for next December. Now is the perfect time to consider together the prospect of the Global Refugee Forum scheduled for the end of this year.”  He noted.

Participants of the  Support Platform drawn from  humanitarian and development organizations, private sector partners, and donors committing to show solidarity by providing concrete financial and development support to refugees in the East and Horn of Africa.

Budget for the meeting funded by EU-CRRF project.

Finally, the meeting validated Global Refugee Forum roadmap for the IGAD Support Platform, agreed best practices for documentation and Potential new pledges including a regional joint mega-pledge.

It is known that the IGAD Support Platform contains four pillars to channel efforts and amplify impact, namely, Education, livelihoods, Self-Reliance and economic inclusion of refugees, Health and return and reintegration.

Subsequently, the first flagship activity of the IGAD Support Platform was the launch of the solutions initiative for Sudan and South Sudan in October 2020.

It is to be remembered that in 2019, on the margins of the Global Refugee Forum, the IGAD Support Platform was launched with the aim of mobilizing additional support from the international community, civil society, and the private sector.  Additionally, during the 2019 Global Refugee Forum, IGAD member states and other stakeholders made pledges for the protection, inclusion, and self-reliance of refugees, asylum seekers, and other vulnerable groups.

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