Geneva – Today, 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 the 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 people, 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.
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 people, 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, donors and the private sector also have a significant role in supporting the two countries to sustain current aid efforts, consolidate development gains and support governments in addressing the socioeconomic dimensions of displacement – including returns and reintegration – in a sustainable manner. The participants welcomed the various types of support provided to the Initiative by partners including the European Union, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, Germany and the World Bank and invited other humanitarian and development partners to join the effort.
There are over 2.2 million refugees from South Sudan hosted in the region, and another 1.7 million displaced in the country. There are more than 1.8 million Sudanese internally displaced, mainly in the Darfur region, and over 700,000 Sudanese refugees located in neighbouring countries. The IGAD member states are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.