October 5, 2021 (GENEVA, Switzerland): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency co-hosted a special high-level information sharing session of the IGAD Support Platform on the Solutions Initiative for displacement situation in South Sudan and Sudan.
Held on the margins of the 72nd session of UNHCR’s Executive Committee (ExCom) proceedings, the high-level session reviewed progress made since the launch of the Solutions Initiative a year ago, and explored ways to mobilize political, technical and financial support as the process moves forward.
Over the past year, under the leadership of the governments of South Sudan and Sudan national strategies and accompanying action plans have been developed, validated by a wide range of stakeholders. Refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and host communities were extensively included in national dialogues, ensuring that their needs and interests are included in the planning and management of these national processes. The result is significant progress on an inclusive regional strategy and action plan that is expected to inform the deliberations at the IGAD Special Summit of Heads of States and Governments scheduled for early 2022.
The high-level information sharing session also provided guidance for the implementation period that will follow for the national and regional strategies and plans of action.
In his opening remarks, IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, highlighted that the two countries had “made deliberate efforts to promote a whole-of-society approach in the pursuit of durable solutions by guaranteeing the inclusion of refugees, IDPs and returnees in the development and implementation of national strategies and action plans”. Dr Workneh also recalled that these efforts “had been augmented by the support of stakeholders and partners in the international community”.
He encouraging all to do their “utmost to ensure that displaced populations are able to live a normal life and become productive members of our society”.
Launched in October 2020 as a flagship activity of the IGAD Support Platform, the Solutions Initiative seeks to galvanize international support towards the early recovery and longer-term peacebuilding and resilience needs of over seven million internally displaced persons, refugees and returnees as well as their host communities in the two countries. This effort aligns with the aims of the IGAD Nairobi Declaration, an agreement by IGAD member countries to pursue comprehensive regional approaches to deliver durable solutions for refugees while also maintaining protection and promoting self-reliance in countries of asylum.
Humanitarian and development partners, as well as the private sector also have a significant role in supporting the two countries to sustain current aid efforts, consolidate development gains and ensure that refugee and IDP returns and reintegration are sustainable. The participants welcomed the support from development partners including the European Union, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, Germany and the World Bank for the Initiative.
Here attached the opening remarks by the Executive Secretary