Delegation of the European Union to Kenya

IGAD Heads of State commit to a comprehensive regional approach to deliver durable solutions for Somali refugees

27/03/2017 - 08:51

A Special IGAD Heads of State summit on Durable Solutions for Somali Refugees & Reintegration of Returnees in Somalia was held in Nairobi on 25th March 2017. The EU Delegation was headed by EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa Alex Rondos. EU ambassador to Kenya Stefano A. Dejak was in attendance. Here below, speech delivered by EUSR Alex Rondos



I am grateful to President Kenyatta for hosting the Summit, as well as to IGAD's Chair, Prime Minister Hailemariam, and IGAD's Secretariat, in particular Executive Secretary Maalim, for organising it.


Your presence today at this Summit is a demonstration of the solidarity and sacrifice your countries have all consistently shown to Somali refugees over many years. But it also marks a major new determination to find solutions to their plight, and to do so jointly.


Just a few weeks ago many of us were gathered in Mogadishu for the inauguration of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. At this event, you committed to a new spirit of regional cooperation to face common challenges and provide collective remedy. We commend this approach, for which the EU will stand by you.


The Summit comes at a critical juncture, with the prospect of Somalia entering a new era. The opportunity for stabilisation both in Somalia and the sub-region stands before us.


Gaining agreement on the shape of a federal Somali security archirecture and long term support to build it is an immediate priority. So too is maintaining  AMISOM’s critical role – both opening up areas under Al Shabaab control and building Somalia’s security forces, which in turn will create the opportunity for transition. The international community owes a large debt of gratitude to the Troop Contributing Countries.


At the same time, we need to accelerate other stabilisation requirements – stimulating jobs, basic services, private sector development and the extension of state authority. And address the new tragedy that is gripping Somali and the region – the drought. It is critical to scale up the response in Somalia and neighbouring countries, but also sustain it. The reality is that new displacement is already occurring and will continue. We need to be braced for this.


Ultimately, stabilisation and recovery in Somalia will help achieve the longer term aim of helping refugees go home voluntarily.


In the meantime none of us wants to leave them stranded in camps, living off short term hand-outs. This neither prepares those refugees that will return home to become an engine of Somalia’ recovery, nor does it allow them to contribute to the economy and life of their host communities in countries of asylum.


That is why the EU commends the major changes that are taking place in the region to find durable solutions for Somali refugees. This was exemplified in the pledges you made in New York last September, and in the new commitments being made today. Access to jobs and education, out of camp policies, freedom of movement – all point to increased opportunities for self-reliance and greater local integration. And this requires a major change from our side as well, in particular the need for increased development investment to help build the social and economic infrastructure that benefits both host communities and refugees.


In this regard, we welcome UNHCR’s key role in supporting IGAD and its Member States develop a regional framework for durable solutions for Somali refugees, based on the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework agreed as part of the New York Declaration.


We also acknowledge the call for greater global responsibility sharing. The EU and its Member States are playing their part and will continue to do so. I would like to highlight four key components of the EU’s contribution.


First, we are providing significant humanitarian assistance. Just last week, we announced a further €65 million to support the drought response. We have also just committed €100 million in response to the South Sudan refugee crisis.


Second, we are scaling up our contributions to stabilisation in Somalia. This includes our ongoing support to AMISOM, the police and broader stabilisation. We are now looking at another significant package of support that will be announced in London in May.


Third, we are increasing our development investments in durable solutions in the region. This includes investment, notably through the EU Trust Fund, in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia, where for example, we are in the process of putting together major investments in industrial parks that will benefit host communities and refugees. And we’re also supporting reintegration in Somalia with a €50 million programme.


Fourth, we are also committed to bolster regional co-operation. The EU already has considerable investment in cross-border infrastructure, borderland development and migration management. In January, IGAD hosted the launch of a major new €63 million cross-border programme.




Today’s Summit demonstrates your political leadership and commitment to give hope and solutions for over two million displaced people. It also underlines that none of these issues can be addressed in isolation.


The Action Plan that is before us provides the necessary comprehensive, regional approach to help tackle the security, economic, development and humanitarian challenges. We welcome it. However, there is a need for prompt follow up to maintain the momentum, if we are to deliver a brighter future for Somali refugees and their host communities, for Somalia itself and for the region.


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