he Somali region has long been a priority geographic area for durable solutions interventions in general, and DSI Ethiopia more recently, due to the political will and security environment that requires significant improvement for progressive resolution of displacement situations. As the second largest region in Ethiopia, the Somali Region has arid climate and perennial rivers that provide opportunities for irrigated and localized rain-fed farming activities. Low rainfall, high temperature and insufficient infrastructures pose major constraints to the region’s predominantly pastoralist populations and expose them to various risks including displacement. Meanwhile, for many years, the region has suffered from frequent border conflicts with neighboring regions of Ethiopia, especially with Oromia, with which it shares a long administrative border (1,400km). Violence continued in the border areas following the conflictual claims over land and resources, which peaked in September 2017 resulting in internal displacement of 1 million populations by the end of the year 2017. Due to the high number of IDP caseloads, the border areas were also major target of the recent return/relocation processes. Given such circumstances, displacement-affected communities in the region will require longer-term peacebuilding, social cohesion and economic recovery interventions in order to address root causes of recurrent violence in these areas.
The Somali Region of Ethiopia has pioneered to develop different institutional mechanisms to address internal displacement issues. In 2014, the region set up a Durable Solutions Working Group (DSWG), a platform via which humanitarian, development and peacebuilding actors are convened to discuss joint actions towards facilitating durable solutions in policy, programming and advocacy aspects. The group membership includes government sector bureaus, INGOs, NGO & UN agencies. In October 2017, the group developed and endorsed the 2017-2020 Somali Region Durable Solutions Strategy, which was the first of its kind in Ethiopia. By early 2020, the Somali Regional Government established a Joint Steering Committee for Durable Solutions, providing a strategic guidance to the DSWG established in 2014 as well. The high-level SC is chaired by the Regional Vice-President and the DSWG is chaired by the Disaster Risk Management Bureau (DRMB) and co-chaired by IOM, with the view of ensuring strong coordination between different sectoral bureaus, UN/NGOs, civil society organizations and donor agencies.
A technical advisory group is also under development to provide technical assistance to the Steering Committee. The Somali Regional Government developed a “Durable Solutions Menu of Options” containing:
- Rural return,
- Rural relocation,
- Urban relocation and,
- Local integration of IDPs.