Somalia as a nation, continues to face multiple challenges and obstacles to finding durable solutions to forced displacement. Protracted displacement issues that undermine peacebuilding and state reconstruction, are drivers of fragility not only for Somalia, but for the whole of the Horn of Africa region. The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), supported by partners, realised that broad coalitions among humanitarian, development, peace and state building actors, under the leadership of local authorities and informed by communities affected by displacement, were instrumental to holistically address the root causes of displacement and its consequences.
The emergence of Federal Member States (FMS) has led to increased coordination and government ownership in displacement issues. Since 2016, strong political commitments to achieving durable solutions for Displacement Affected Communities (DACs) are therefore validated by an increased leadership of Somalia’s national and local authorities at the normative, institutional and operational levels. The inclusion of the durable solutions agenda in national and local development plans and investments for instance, has led to an evolution of the Somali institutional framework. Anchoring the work on durable solutions within Somalia’s Social Development priorities has also created an enabling environment that can support, more innovative and impactful durable solutions initiatives. At the same time, Somalia has adopted an impressive array of new policies to protect the rights of DACs and subsequently reduce the disenfranchisement and grievances that arise from abuse, inequality, impunity and exclusion. Furthermore, prioritising the work on displacement is an immediate strategic priority for the Government’s commitment to reduce poverty and successfully complete the process conducted in the framework of the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative. Unlike other impoverished communities, DACs in Somalia are concentrated in accessible urban areas and poverty reduction interventions can be more easily implemented. Overall, this level of government support strongly increases the likelihood of durable solutions interventions achieving impact at scale. The Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF)/ Global Refugee Compact (GRC), the Nairobi Declaration and related thematic declarations on education, jobs and livelihoods, and resilience all underscore the need for a strengthened framework for regional and global integration and cooperation on durable solutions.
Recognising that finding durable solutions to forced displacement requires a broad institutional engagement, a Durable Solutions Secretariat of the FGS was established in 2019. This government-led body which brings together 14 government institutions aims to provide technical expertise and high-level strategic guidance and oversight to ensure that durable solutions initiatives are prioritised and implemented in Somalia across levels and are in line with the NDP-9, Resilience and Recovery Framework (RRF), and other relevant government frameworks and policies.
Although there are a lot of positive practises emerging and strong advances on building the architecture and cross-government approaches to sustain durable solutions, there remains key challenges and barriers that exist and need to be addressed. These include the low technical, institutional, and financial capacity of government actors, limited long-term funding streams and donor fatigue, protracted and recurring humanitarian crises, issues of perceived trust in and accountability of international aid, weak urban systems and rapid urbanisation rates, marginalisation, insecurity, and lack of access in large parts of South and Central Somalia. Overcoming these challenges requires a longterm development approach that complements the humanitarian response. The FGS therefore embeds the durable solutions agenda within a development approach that holistically addresses the multi-dimensional challenges of poverty, inequality and vulnerability in the country. Doing so is essential to continue Somalia’s transition toward greater stability, economic prosperity, resilience, and human development. The National Durable Solutions Strategy (NDSS) will help the Somalia government guarantee a fiscal and political space for the durable solutions agenda, develop a clear and realistic vision for durable solutions, guide implementation, and link durable solutions with other policy actions to achieve comprehensive outcomes.