Somalia President Mohamed Farmaajo with President Uhuru Kenyatta during the swearing-in ceremony in Mogadishu. PHOTO/PSCU
By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN
A special summit of Heads of State and Government on Somali refugees will be convened on Saturday 25th March 2017 in Nairobi on Satuday, March 25, 2017.
The summit will bring together member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the international community and other stakeholders to marshal a comprehensive regional approach to deliver durable solutions for Somali refugees.
The summit will be preceded by a special session of the IGAD ministerial committee on durable solutions for Somali refugees on Friday 24th March 2017 bringing together ministers responsible for interior, security and refugee affairs from the Horn of Africa region.
More than two million Somalis have been displaced in one of the world’s most protracted humanitarian crises that have now entered its third decade. An estimated 1.1 million people are internally displaced (IDPs) within Somalia and nearly 900,000 are refugees in the region.
Returning refugees disembark from a UN plane.PHOTO/UNPBF
Continuing political and security stabilization progress in Somalia, along with growing pressures in hosting countries, makes this a critical moment to renew efforts to find durable solutions for Somali refugees.
The election of the new President of Somalia in February 2017 and Parliament in December 2016 marks a milestone in the country’s post-conflict transformation.
This provides the opportunity to accelerate progress on national priorities, including: security sector development; completing the constitutional review process; building State institutions and local government; addressing humanitarian crises shocks and displacement; continuing dialogue with Somaliland; and improving public finance management and revenue collection.
The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund in December approved $3 million for a pilot project that will provide peacebuilding and vocational skills to Somali refugees volunteering to return from Kenya to Somalia
While announcing the release of the money, UN Peacebuilding Fund said the funding will help the returning refugees to settle down and contribute to a community dialogue and reintegration process.
A refugee at Dabaab Refugee Camp in Kenya. PHOTO/UNPBF
“The project is unique as it reaches across borders and targets the same population, first in asylum in Dadaab, Kenya, and then upon return to Baidoa, Somalia,” the UN Peacebuilding Fund statement said.
It builds on an agreement between the governments of Kenya and Somalia and UNHCR on the voluntary repatration of Somali refugees living in Dadaab.
The initiative is part of a comprehensive set of measures to promote coexistence and peaceful resolution of conflict in Somalia and aims to support the government’s priorities for stabilization and peace dividends, including investment in jobs.
The funding will be directed to UNHCR in Kenya as well as to UNHCR, UNICEF, FAO, WFP, IOM and the ILO in Somalia. With this funding, the Fund hopes to provide momentum to similar initiatives on return and reintegration of refugees.
The UN PBF is currently also sponsoring other projects in Somalia, aimed at strengthening the national authority in areas liberated from rebel control.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) under Security Council resolution 2102 (2013) is providing support to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) in its peacebuilding and statebuilding priorities under the New Deal Compact.
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