Since 2016, the response to refugees has gradually shifted in many countries in the East Africa region. This briefing paper aims to document learning around the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) application in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia and at the regional level with the role of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) through a thematic approach. It highlights learning from new ways of working as well as opportunities that the application of the CRRF has enabled in three key areas: (1) return and (re)integration; (2) area-based and locally-led approaches; and (3) regional and national level engagement around the CRRF process. Crosscutting issues such as multi-stakeholder approaches, accountability and adaptability are brought out across all themes. The paper also addresses gaps and opportunities with recommendations for further development that can be used for planning and policy dialogue beyond this year’s first Global Refugee Forum (GRF) to support a common agenda around durable solutions programming in the East Africa region.
Key recommendations to inform future planning and policy dialogue beyond this year’s first GRF Return and (re)integration
Return and (re)integration
Create space for key stakeholders to come together to discuss and work on common standards to measure and monitor progress towards sustainable (re)integration. This should be done not only at the programmatic level but also across regional/national levels and linked to wider discussions around the poverty agenda, including by linking to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Advocate for and ensure common understanding of benefits of cross-border programming, drawing on good practice examples from other countries and programmes, such as the Building Opportunities for Resilience in the Horn of Africa (BORESHA) programme. IGAD could also play a key role in enhancing understanding and awareness of the benefits of cross-border programming.
Support awareness and understanding on people’s (re)integration and movement patterns, including urban-rural linkages and how these can be supported by flexible (re)integration programming. Increased coordination between durable solutions and resilience actors will be crucial in this regard.
Balance investments and engagements carefully between local/municipal and federal level, both in terms of programming, secondments/capacity injections and policy/legislation support. Invest in institutional capacity development, not only individuals.
Even though there is now more focus on sustainable (re)integration, this should not detract from the continued importance of the quality of the asylum space, and the importance of the informed and voluntariness of the return and repatriation process, which together with adequate preparedness and increased cross-border coordination is crucial for a sustainable returns and reintegration process.