September 13, 2022 (ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) launched the 2nd regional Experts Meeting, under the framework of its Support Platform of the Nairobi process, on Kampala Declaration on jobs, livelihoods and self – reliance for Refugees, Returnees and Host Communities, today, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The main objective of the expert meeting is reviewing member states’ reports on the Declaration implementation, commitments provisions, reviewing and adopting the Action Plan as well as recommendation for the coming ministerial meeting on the declaration.
Speaking on behalf of the Executive Secretary of IGAD, H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, and Madam Fathia Alwan, the Director of Health Social Development Division, Commander Abebe Muluneh, IGAD Head of Mission to Ethiopia, welcomed the participants and lauded the efforts of the IGAD and its member states engagement to find sustainable solutions for refugees, returnees and host communities in line with the commitments IGAD Heads of States made under the Nairobi Declaration, the Kampala Declaration and the IGAD Support Platform.
“This Expert meeting will take stock of the progress made by member states towards creating livelihood opportunities and self-reliance for refugees, returnees and host communities.” The commander added.
Furthermore Commander Abebe emphasized that the Kampala Declaration commits IGAD member states to help refugees, returnees and host communities to build a new life in a new community with dignity, rather than waiting for humanitarian handout.
Ato Nigusu Tilahun, State Minister of Ministry of Labor and Skills of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, on his opening remarks stated that since the adoption of Kampala Declaration, the government of Ethiopia has created favorable conditions for refugees to engage in gainful employment opportunities.
“Ethiopia is home to close to 900,000 refugees. This has enabled the creation of 17,526 direct and close to 80,000 indirect economic opportunities for refugees and hos communities.” The State Minster said.
Madam Margaret Atieno, UNHCR Deputy Director to Ethiopia operation, Madam Kokebe Haile Gabriel, GIZ Team leader for Strengthening IGAD Migration Policy Implementation (SIMPI) and representative of the Sudan Mr, Bashir Mohmed Ahmed Musa, Commission of Refugees, Livelihood Director IGAD Chair person, also gave their welcoming remarks.
The two days discussions highlighted the policy short comings and ways to incentivize policy reforms that support refugee economic integration in the IGAD region.
The IGAD support platform and engagement of its Core Group members aim to ensure support for comprehensive response in the IGAD region. It also calls for coherent and comprehensive partner intervention to address the needs of displaced affected communities.
The preparatory meeting brought together representatives of member states experts from refugee affairs, labor and planning as well as UNHCR, GIZ, ILO and IGAD staff.
This Regional Experts Meeting on Kampala Declaration on self – reliance is funded by joint IGAD –GIZ SIMPI project.
The outcomes of the meeting resulted in inter active exchange among governments on best practices, challenges, lessons and recommendation for the ministerial meeting on the declaration.
The 1st technical Expert meeting took place virtually on 27th – 28th April 2021 and reviewed the progress of member states and partners towards implementing the commitments made in the declaration and plan of Action. This year first preparatory meeting took place with the IGAD Core Group members in July 2022.
The thematic pillar of livelihoods and self – reliance adopted on March 28th 2019 under the framework of the Kampala Declaration on jobs, includes creating the enabling environment, engagement of private sector to create jobs, return and reintegration, natural resource management as well as coordination and resource mobilization.