In April 2019, the Federal Government of Ethiopia (GOE) endorsed The Strategic Plan to Address Internal Displacement in Ethiopia and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Recovery Plan, which guided the return and relocations of IDPs. Subsequent to the two policy documents, the GOE and the UN jointly launched the Durable Solutions Initiative (DSI) Ethiopia in December 2019.The DSI was launched in the presence of a high-level participation of GOE authorities, UN, NGOs, donor community, regional authorities, and civil society, including mayors of cities near displacement-affected areas. Over two hundred participants attended the ceremony. To animate the occasion, a popular Ethiopian singer, Betty G, graced the occasion at the beginning and at the end with Hagere and Birabiroye respectively.

DSI Ethiopia provides a principled operational framework for durable solutions responses and proposes five levels of support shaping multi-sectorial and collective efforts towards the sustainable returns, voluntary relocations, and local integration of IDPs. The durable solutions initiative aims to support the implementation of Kampala Convention, jointly address internal displacement and large-scale development projects while recognizing and respecting the rights of IDPs and other affected groups.

Despite numerous achievements in policy areas, legislative reform, coordination, and planning, the operationalization of the DSI in Ethiopia was hindered by the many challenges brought by the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic further threatened the immediate health and socio-economic well-being of displacement-affected communities, many of whom were already in dire needs of humanitarian assistance. The planning and implementation of durable solutions activities therefore became more challenging under these circumstances. Attempts to return IDPs to their areas of origin increased their protection risks in addition to concerns about limited access to basic services and changing security situations in the planned locations of return or relocation. Insufficient land allocation also made it difficult to decongest already overcrowded IDP settlements. Since the DSI launch the gap between IDP DS needs and the availability of dedicated financial resources for durable solutions has increased as many funds were diverted to immediate emergency preparedness and response actions of current humanitarian shocks. In order to bridge into longer term solutions Durable Solutions Working Groups (DSWGs) are active in Afar, Gambella, Oromia, and Somali Regions, with groups anticipated to be created in Amhara and Benishangul-Gumuz. These DSWGs are working to build common understanding on DS, be a platform for sharing of knowledge and joint action to mainstream durable solutions for all beneficiary groups.

The Federal DSWG is chaired by NDRMC and co-chaired by IOM and the RCO. It has approximately 80 members and holds quarterly meetings or as required by its members or chair.