15th May 2018, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The first consultative meeting of IGAD and core partners on the implementation of the Djibouti Declaration and Plan of Action on Refugee Education was held in Addis today.
Opening the two-day meeting, the Director General responsible for School Improvement Program and Support of the Ethiopian Federal Ministry of Education, Ato Yasabu Berkneh appreciated the leadership of IGAD on this very important matter that is a critical tool for change. While acknowledging the large number of refugees, returnees and IDPs in the region, he urged IGAD Member States to implement the declaration at national and sub-national levels.
The Director General also called on the development partners to support programs emerging from the plan of action in addition to addressing other social challenges that the region faces.
Making her welcoming remarks, the Acting Director for Health and Social Development at the IGAD Secretariat, Ms. Fathia Alwan stated that education for refugees is an important element to the mandate of the regional organization charged with responsibility of addressing socio-economic needs of vulnerable communities in the region that include refugees, cross border mobile populations, women, youth, disabled and the aged.
The meeting follows the special IGAD Summit and the first IGAD Regional Ministerial Conference on Refugee Education held in Nairobi and Djibouti respectively. Among other things, the Djibouti Declaration makes a strong commitment for IGAD Member States and Development Partners to take collective responsibility to ensure that every refugee, returnee and members of host communities have access to quality education in a safe learning environment without discrimination.
Four work-streams have been identified to carry the plan of action forward. These include inclusion of refugees in national education systems, minimum standards and targets, regional mechanism to recognize qualifications and strengthening the capacity of IGAD Secretariat to coordinate the implementation process.
Partners attending the meeting that Dr Kebede Kassa of IGAD and Mr. Robert Prouty of EU are co-facilitating include UNHCR, UNICEF, UNESCO, FAO, the World Bank, EU, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, USA, GIZ, Global Partnership for Education, GESPI and Education Cannot Wait. ###