Remarks by UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Dr. Catherine Sozi at the Somali Region Durable Solutions Strategy launch
24 May 2022
Launch of the Strategy on Durable Solutions in the Somali Region for 2022-2025 in Jig-Jiga, Somali Region, Ethiopia
Your Excellency, Mr Mustafe Mohumed Omer, President of the Regional Somali Government,
Esteemed representatives of the Regional Somali Government and regional authorities, clan leaders
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors, esteemed partners and colleagues,
- On behalf of the UN in Ethiopia, it is a great pleasure to join you here today for the launch of the Strategy on Durable Solutions in the Somali Region for 2022-2025. I am very happy to see so many representatives from partners and the donor community, including esteemed ambassadors from the diplomatic corps.
- This event today is a testimony of the commitment, leadership, and ownership of the Somali Regional Government under the leadership of His Excellency President Omer to address the occurrence of internal displacement in the region.
- It is also a testament of the interest and commitment from partners to explore further ways to work together to promote durable solutions for those affected by displacement.
- Every year, people around the world face the devastating impacts of conflicts, violence, disasters, and climate change. Tens of millions flee their homes but never cross an international border.
- These individuals - internally displaced persons ‘IDPs’ - make up the vast majority of those who are forcibly separated from their homes around the globe today.
- In Ethiopia, it is estimated that over 4.5 million persons are internally displaced across the country, of which close to 1 million are in the Somali region, where conflict and violence have displaced an estimated 518,000 persons and the impact of climate change - including drought, seasonal flash floods and landslides - has further displaced around 415,000 persons in the region. Women, children and marginalized groups continue to face the greatest impacts.
- Many of the IDPs have spent years, at times decades, in limbo, unable to find an end to their displacement or to achieve a durable solution.
- In Somali, it is estimated that the majority of the IDPs has been displaced for at least six months - many for years.
Ladies and gentlemen,
- In 2016, the United Nations Secretary-General called for new and protracted internal displacement to be reduced by at least 50 per cent by 2030. However, the numbers are increasing.
- His call is more urgent than ever before, and we need to redouble our efforts to help IDPs reintegrate into society, be it at their places of origin, local communities or other areas of the country.
- We have a collective obligation to help them reach a point where they no longer have needs associated with being displaced. In other words, they must achieve durable solutions.
- We must work creatively and collectively on this path from the outset of displacement, drawing on globally recognized standards like the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons.
- Drawing on the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Framework on Durable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons and the Ethiopia Durable Solutions Initiative of 2019, the Strategy we are launching today provides the overarching framework for partners to work together to scale-up our joint efforts to find lasting solutions that are voluntary, safe and dignified for the most vulnerable populations of this region.
- Every situation of displacement is unique and durable solutions must be tailor-made solutions based on the local context.
- Delivering more effective solutions begins, crucially, with recognizing the rights and agency of IDPs of all ages, genders, and diversities, including in respecting their right to choose the solution that is best for them and to meaningfully participate in decisions that affect them.
- The engagement of host communities and communities in areas of return or future settlement is also vital.
- Indeed, the Durable Solutions Strategy for the Somali Region emphasizes the principles of community engagement and accountability. It puts the needs, aspirations, priorities and capacities of all affected groups at the center of the identified solutions
- Moreover, it recognizes the importance of supporting and strengthening local initiatives, organizations, and community networks as key instruments to build resilience and sustainability.
Ladies and gentlemen,
- There are real opportunities to facilitate solutions in many internal displacement contexts, opportunities which can and must be seized. This is achievable if we go beyond treating internal displacement as just a humanitarian problem and recognize it as a priority for development and peace.
- In this context, the search for solutions must be embraced by development, peacebuilding, human rights, climate change action and disaster risk reduction efforts.
- Intervention in support of durable solutions need to address governance, infrastructure, social cohesion, security, and risk reduction components. They are all essential for achieving solutions at scale and for supporting the achievement of the sustainable development goals.
- I submit that supporting nationally owned solutions processes requires Government and development actors to have effective and appropriate coordination structures. These will promote accountability for ensuring progress toward solutions within the international system.
- Further, it will strengthen coordination and coherence among humanitarian, development, and peacebuilding sectors, ensuring links with disaster and climate actors within the Somali region.
- The strategy provides this framework for accountability.
- It is also important to ensure close linkages with other initiatives that are underway in the Somali region to support the promotion of sustainable solutions.
- One key example here is the Multi-Year Resilience Plan for the Somali Region. It looks at the impact of climate change on the local population and will provide an umbrella for longer-term resilience initiatives for the entire region. Through the structure outlined in the durable solutions strategy, close coordination with other ongoing and planned initiatives is critical.
Ladies and gentlemen,
- As highlighted by the UN Secretary-General, financing is a fundamental requirement for effective action to address internal displacement.
- He has made a strong call for bilateral donors and International Financial Institutions (IFIs), including regional multilateral development banks, to put in place measures to address internal displacement proactively and systematically as part of development financing.
- Predictable financing across the humanitarian-development nexus complementing Government resources will prove invaluable for catalyzing action under the Strategy.
- Let me end by reiterating the United Nations’ full support for a shift towards a strengthened development approach to solutions and confirm our commitment to deliver on this direction. Resolving displacement is critical for delivering on the promise to Leave No One Behind in achieving the SDGs and for attaining lasting peace and prosperity.
- I look forward to our discussion this morning and our close collaboration from now on in operationalizing the Durable Solutions Strategy for the Somali Region.
I thank you.
UN entities involved in this initiative
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office