Durable Solutions Strategy Seeks to Resolve Displacement in Ethiopia’s Somali Region

IOM, the UN Migration Agency yesterday (05/10) joined the Ethiopian Somali Regional Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB) in partnership with the Durable Solutions Working Group, to endorse the Durable Solutions Strategy for the Somali Region.

The first of its kind in Ethiopia, the Strategy provides a framework that seeks to solve the widespread displacement of over 570,000 people in Ethiopia’s Somali Region. With the five-year anniversary of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa – known as the Kampala Convention – coming up in December, this represents important progress in deepening engagement with the Government of Ethiopia in meeting the challenges of internal displacement.

Speaking at the endorsement ceremony, Peter Manfield, the United Nations’ Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator for the Somali Region, emphasized that more than one billion USD has been spent in response to drought in Ethiopia over the past year. He welcomed the endorsement of the Strategy as a crucial first step in moving beyond the immediate humanitarian needs and beginning to address the long term needs of the displaced in their search for self-sufficiency. 

Anwar Ali, Deputy Head of the DPPB and Advisor to the Ethiopian Somali Regional State, highlighted the timeliness of the Durable Solutions Strategy, stating, “If we had had a Durable Solutions strategy and system already in place [before the drought], we would not be facing the scale of displacement we now have to address.”

Ali stressed the importance of immediate development of an Action Plan to operationalize the Strategy and called for the full support and engagement of every government Bureau to develop it. He also called on all UN agencies and partners to provide expertise and financial support to the Region to implement the strategy. Ali further requested IOM to continue its coordination and support in drafting an action plan and its long-term implementation.  

“The strategy is a critical tool providing the government and humanitarian and development partners with a common platform to address the challenges of displacement in the region,” added Nicola Rounce, IOM’s Durable Solutions Expert. She noted that the growing global concern about protracted displacement makes Ethiopia’s first-ever initiative on Durable Solutions a welcome innovation. She also stressed the importance of the Strategy’s provisions for establishing sustainable mechanism for humanitarian and development partners to work together in pursuit of these common goals.

“The Durable Solution Strategy of the Ethiopian Somali Regional State, which has taken three years to reach fruition, is an ambitious but essential plan. We encourage the continued collaboration across government and partners to move the Strategy to an actionable plan,” Paolo Caputo, IOM’s Ethiopia Programme Head said.

Caputo reiterated IOM’s commitment to co-chairing the Durable Solutions Working Group and supporting the Somali Regional authorities in tackling the enormous challenges of resolving the region’s displacement.

Following endorsement of the Strategy, the document is to be presented to the Somali Regional Cabinet in the coming weeks for formalization.

At the request of the DPPB, IOM has agreed to immediately convene and facilitate initial consultations for the development of the Strategy’s Action Plan.

For further information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11  6611117 (Ext. 455), Mobile: +251 91 163 9082, Email: [email protected] 

Anwar Ali, Deputy Head of the DPPB (left) and Paolo Caputo, IOM Ethiopia Program Head sign the Durable Solution Strategy document