February 21, 2023 (Nairobi, Kenya): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) from February 22nd to 23rd 2023 convened a Regional Dialogue on Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement under the auspices of the IGAD Regional Consultative Process on Migration (IGAD-RCP).
The regional dialogue which was hosted by the Government of Kenya brought together Member States, relevant transit and destination countries beyond the IGAD region, international organizations and other stakeholders in the area of migration and forced displacements and was organized under the theme; Finding new approaches to persistent problems.
The IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr. Workeneh Gebeyehu said that the IGAD region had up to 17 million displaced persons comprising of more than four million refugees and 1.3Million IDPs while recognizing that these figures continue to grow as a result of natural disasters, climate change and the emerging conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He also stated that IGAD Members states are facing financial challenges in implementing several commitments coupled with the pressure of the ever-increasing displacement statistics and the need to address the drivers of this displacement including droughts and climate change.
In remarks read by Madam Fathia Alwan, the Director Health and Social Development, IGAD, Dr. Gebeyehu also stressed that IGAD at a regional level had made a lot of progress since the signing of the Nairobi Declaration on protection and durable solutions for Somali refugees and reintegration of returnees in Somalia. The commitments of the Nairobi Declarations were expanded to cover all populations of concern in the IGAD.
In March 2017, members states adopted the Djibouti Declaration on Refugee Education. the Kampala Declaration on Jobs, Livelihoods and Self-Reliance of refugees in 2019 and the March 2022 Mombasa Declaration on Refugee and Cross Border Health Initiatives. In October 2020, IGAD had also launched the Solution Initiative to promote durable solutions of displaced populations in Sudan and South Sudan.
This progress was recognized and esteemed by the partners at the regional meeting. The Switzerland Ambassador to Kenya, Ambassador Valentin Zellweger, commended IGAD’s dialogue approach in enhancing the protection and living standards of displacement affected communities in the Region.
He appealed to the different development partners to take up a shared responsibility in seeking sustainable solutions to protracted displacement situations while pledged Switzerland’s Government support to interventions that are solution oriented, human rights centered and moving towards social-economic inclusion.
Delegates shared experiences and challenges from the region in fostering resilience and promoting durable solutions, discussed the progress of the regional initiatives under the Nairobi process and the issue of urban IDPs from relevant stakeholders including the UN-Habitat, World Bank and academicians.
Other discussions centered on the regional role of IGAD in shaping the upcoming Global Refugee Forum agenda, community perspectives from different settings were explored while several innovative financing schemes support of displacement affected communities and reinforcing durable solutions were discussed.
There were recommendations and proposal for governments to roll out and implement of durable solution in national policies, engagement of displacement affected communities in framing and implementation of solutions, easing mobility policies, pursuing private sector investment in displaced populations and the use of qualified data for decision making.
Delegates adopted the recommendations and outcome document which will be a foundation for strengthened initiatives by different stakeholders in pursuing durable solutions as part of the ‘whole of society’ approach spearheaded by IGAD since 2017.
The IGAD Regional Consultative Process (RCP) was established in 2008 as an informal, non-binding mechanism whose overall objective is to facilitate dialogue and regional cooperation in the management of migration and forced displacement, by creating a platform through which information is exchanged, best practices are shared and solutions to common challenges are pursued.