Some refugees have found new homes in Uganda

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in collaboration with the Government of Uganda is to hold a “Regional Thematic Meeting on Livelihoods and Self-reliance for Refugees, Returnees and Host Communities” at the Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala, 25-28 from March 25-28, 2019.

According to a press release by IGAD Secretariat, The first three days will have experts meet to pave the way for a ministerial level meeting due to take place on March 28.

The regional thematic meeting will bringing 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 will come 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 labour.

“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 are expected. Others include the private sector, civil society and the Diaspora who are champions for refugees,” reads the press release in part.

The meeting will look 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 such as financial, information, training, infrastructure, business development services among others; as well as barriers in the regulatory and policy environment preventing refugees and host communities to fully take advantage of available opportunities.

The press release adds the objectives of the meeting are to: Identify existing opportunities and the associated constraints towards sustainable livelihoods and job creation for refugees, returnees and host communities in the Horn of Africa and learn from Uganda’s refugee management model; identify opportunities for policy provisions and areas of strategic reform and programmatic interventions that would enhance/increase opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and job creation for refugees, returnees and host communities in the region.

Others are to; Share existing experience and good practices on enhancing self-reliance and economic resilience for refugees, returnees and host communities, identify practical steps and milestones for delivering commitments on self-reliance and livelihoods as set out in the Nairobi Action Plan and galvanize resource mobilization from IGAD Member States and partners to support these steps.

Central to the principles of the Nairobi Declaration and Action Plan of March 2017 is the promotion of self-reliance and economic resilience for refugees, returnees and host communities. IGAD Member States have committed themselves to; enhance, with the support of the international community, education, training and skills development for refugees to reduce their dependence on humanitarian assistance, and prepare them for gainful employment in host communities and upon return.