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Somalia: Improving livelihoods for refugees, returnees and host communities

Source: Peace Brigades International
Country: Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Yemen

Part I: Introduction

This document is developed for the IGAD Regional Thematic Meeting on Jobs, Livelihoods, and Self-reliance for Refugees, Returnees, and Host Communities taking place in Kampala, Uganda from March 25 to March 28, 2019. It is based on research conducted by IGAD over several months from October 2018 to February 2019that includes a comprehensive literature review as well as semi-structured and informal interviews, and focus group discussions, which were held with key informants from the government, private, humanitarian, and development sectors. The purpose of the document is to help guide participants from IGAD Member States, as well as from the private, humanitarian, and development sectors for the meeting. This will help facilitate the achievement of the commitments by Member States in the Nairobi Declaration and Action Plan (NAP), and strengthen efforts to provide equitable and sustainable livelihoods for host communities, refugees, and returnees in the IGAD region.

As such, this framing document first provides an overview of the jobs and livelihood component of the Nairobi Declaration, the regional geopolitical context, together with definitions of key terms used. Following is a summary of livelihoods-related policies, commitments, and practices that each IGAD Member State has made, with a strong focus on economic inclusion. The third section of the document provides summaries and a set of questions to help the deliberations of working groups. These are:

  • Working Group 1: Policy and legislative frameworks for livelihoods and self-reliance;

  • Working Group 2: The role of private sector and civil society;

  • Working Group 3: Sustainable return and reintegration;

  • Working Group 4: Regional coordination and partnerships, and;

  • Working Group 5: Natural resource management for livelihoods and self-reliance.

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IGAD Heads of State and Government held the first ever Special Summit on Durable Solutions for Somali Refugees and Reintegration of Returnees in Somalia, in March 2017.
The Nairobi Declaration and the accompanying Action Plan that were adopted set out a comprehensive regional approach and commitments at four levels: accelerating solutions in Somalia by creating an environment conducive for voluntary and sustainable returns; delivering durable solutions, whilst maintaining protection and asylum space, and promoting the self-reliance and inclusion of refugees in countries of asylum; strengthening sub-regional co-operation; and increasing international responsibility-sharing. Together, they reinforce the commitments made by Member States at the Leaders’ Summit in New York in September 2016, and provided important ground work for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration that took place in December 2018.

The Nairobi Declaration and the Action Plan, promoting durable solutions in the region, places emphasis on self-reliance and economic resilience for host communities and refugees.

In the declaration, IGAD Members States have committed to:

  • Enhance, with the support of the international community, education, training, and skills development for refugees to reduce their dependence on humanitarian assistance, and prepare them for gainful employment in host communities and upon return;

  • Call upon States to align domestic laws and policies, including civil documentation, in line with refugee status under the 1951 Refugee Convention obligations in order to enable refugees to access gainful employment and selfreliance;

  • Progressively advance alternative arrangements to refugee camps and facilitate the free movement of refugees and their integration into national development plans and access to services, and;

  • Invite the humanitarian and development actors, including the private sector, Somali Diaspora, International Financial Institutions, regional development banks, and bilateral donors to combine their efforts, and strengthen collaboration and inter-linkages in support of durable solutions.

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In the case of returns, there is a commitment to:

  • Further support accelerated socio-economic stabilisation, the provision of basic services and livelihoods in Somalia through increased planning and investment in development to facilitate the voluntary return and sustainable reintegration of returnees and IDPs in line with the National Development Plan (NDP).

The accompanying Action Plan set out more detailed and specific commitments, including the need to invest in comprehensive skills development, create an enabling business environment for refugees to access employment opportunities, generate a favourable climate for domestic and regional investment (para 3.1.8); increase the number of refugees benefiting from free movement (para 3.1.9); provide work permits to refugees (3.1.11), provide access to arable land to rural-based refugees (3.1.13);and improve income and productivity for host communities and refugees through support to the development of industrial parks as well as the growth of small and medium enterprises (3.1.14). In addition, there were a set of country specific commitments, which will be reviewed in Part II below.

To help meet and build on the commitments made in the Nairobi Declaration and Action Plan, and following the 11th meeting of the Regional Consultative Process on Migration 2018 (October, in Djibouti), and the successful Regional Conference on Education for Refugees in IGAD Member States resulting in the Djibouti Declaration in December 2017, IGAD Member States have organized the IGAD Regional Thematic Meeting on Jobs, Livelihoods, and Selfreliance for Refugees, Returnees, and Host Communities.

The objectives of the meeting are to:

(i) Identify existing constraints and opportunities towards sustainable livelihoods and job creation for refugees and host communities in the Horn of Africa;

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(ii) Share existing experience and best practice on enhancing self-reliance and economic resilience for refugees and host communities;

(iii) Re-affirm existing commitments of the Nairobi Declaration for livelihoods and job creation with identification of agreed practical steps towards implementation;

(iv) Identify opportunities for policy reform and programmatic intervention towards sustainable livelihoods and job creation for refugees and host communities in the Horn of Africa, and;

(v) To galvanize resource mobilization in support of these steps.

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