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UN Peacebuilding Fund provides US$ 3m for Somali refugees voluntarily returning home from Kenya

Returning refugees disembark from a UN plane.PHOTO/UNPBF
The United Nations Peacebuilding Fund has 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 on Tuesday, UN Peacebuilding Fund said the funding will help the returning refugees to settle down and contribute to a community dialogue and reintegration process.
“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.
A refugee at Dabaab Refugee Camp in Kenya. PHOTO/UNPBF
The Peacebuilding Fund aims to help sustain momentum through immediate and mid-term peacebuilding phases of the Compact, in particular in the ‘newly recovered’ areas.
The second phase will help to deliver longer-term programmatic support to lay the foundations for a more inclusive political dispensation by 2016. A package of $12 million in IRF funding to support Somalia’s Vision 2016 support has been committed, based on a declaration of eligibility for the PBF by the Secretary-General in December, 2014.
President Hassan Sheikh prioritized a request to support the Government’s stabilization strategy in south central Somalia, leading to a grant of $4.2 million that complements joint Somalia National Army and AMISOM military offensives to retake control of territory. Activities will help to install interim and caretaker administrations in a manner intended to build local legitimacy and trust.
This initial PBF support was followed by additional funding amounting to US$4.9 million to support Compact priorities jointly endorsed by the Federal Government of Somalia and the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Framework (SDRF) Steering Committee. Priorities supported included the following: Risk management strategy support; Joint Rule of Law – Justice and Corrections support; Support for State Formation – reconciliation conferences, and the Rehabilitation of high risk prisoners in Baidoa.
Somalia is also a beneficiary country for the PBF Gender Promotion Initiative 2, with an additional $1 million allocation for the project on “Support to Women’s Role and Participation in Peacebuilding: Towards Just, Fair and Inclusive Somalia”, and will in the future also benefit from a pilot PBF cross- border project to support Somalia-Kenya refugees and peacebuilding initiative (UNHCR) with an additional US$3 million allocation.
In Somalia, the Fund is prioritizing ways to reinforce the existing planning mechanisms that the Government and partners have put in place. Not only is the PBF following the New Deal and SDRF mechanisms, but is planning in 2016 to channel funds directly through Government financial systems, an approach that is being pursued collaboratively with the World Bank.
Having benefited from a package of IRF support, Somalia will seek in later 2015/ early 2016 support through the Peacebuilding and Recovery Facility.
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