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Minister Onek Opens IGAD Meeting on Refugees, Returnees and Host Livelihoods

The Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Eng. Hilary Onek on Monday launched the Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s experts meeting on livelihoods of refugees, returnees and host communities.

Onek said Uganda has effectively implemented Comprehensive Refugees Response Framework (CRRF) by keeping her borders open to refugees and ensuring favorable condition for refugees in the country.

“The successful rollout of the CRRF approach in Uganda is demonstration of the country’s commitment to keep our borders open and keep the refuges in dignity until the conditions are favorable for them to return,” said Onek.

Uganda’s CRRF, which defines the government’s implementation arrangement with other stakeholders, was adopted in January 2018. CRRF also serves as the action plan on the implementation of the country’s commitments including declaration on refugee education in IGAD member states.

The meeting organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in collaboration with the Government of Uganda was also attended by the Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, IGAD Director of Health and Social Division, Ms. Fathia Alwan, representatives from the European Union, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Labor Organization (ILO).

The three-days gathering of experts is to pave way for a ministerial level meeting due to take place on Thursday 28 March at Speke Resort Munyunyo.

The regional thematic meeting brings together IGAD Member States, development and humanitarian partners as well as the private sector and the civil society groups from the humanitarian and development spheres to support these commitments.

Participants are drawn from IGAD Member States’ line ministries, including lead agencies that handle refugee matters; ministries of finance (treasury); ministries of planning and those responsible for local government (devolution, federalism or decentralization), as well as ministries of agriculture, livestock development and those responsible for labor.

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Representatives of refugee and host communities, international finance institutions, partners engaged in securing durable solutions and the IGAD core group of partners to the Nairobi Plan of Action will are expected. Others include the private sector, civil society and the Diaspora who are champions for refugees.

The meeting is looking at a range of issues connected to the access of refugees and host communities to livelihood and economic opportunities including challenges accessing supporting services and functions including financial, information, training, infrastructure, business development services and others.

Onek said the meeting is critical to further explore mechanisms of promoting economic inclusion of refugees, returnees and host communities in the IGAD region.

 

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