IGAD and UNHCR discuss Solutions Initiative to the refugee crisis in Sudan and South Sudan

Talks aim to build international support to ensure the sustainable return and reintegration of more than 7 million displaced people, ensuring peacebuilding
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AP/JUSTIN LYNCH  -   South Sudanese refugee children play outside a temporary school in Bidi Bidi camp in northern Uganda.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) met to discuss and review the IGAD Support Programme, specifically addressing the status of the Solutions for Displacement Initiative in Sudan and South Sudan.

The project follows in the wake of the objectives set out in the IGAD Nairobi Declaration, where member countries (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda) commit to creating durable solutions for refugees, while maintaining well-being and balance in countries of asylum.

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File photo - Refugees in Uganda flee South Sudan conflict

The initiative, launched in October 2020, was born with the aim of mobilising international support for the recovery and restoration of peace for the more than seven million refugees and displaced people in Sudan and South Sudan.

At last year's meeting, strategies were developed to enable the participation of refugees and affected people in national planning dialogues to protect their interests and needs.

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File photo - Refugees from South Sudan

During this most recent meeting, the 72nd session of UNHCR's Executive Committee, an attempt was made to review the progress made since the initiative's inception, and new methods were proposed to promote support from all political and financial levels. The results show significant progress at the regional level that will shape the structure of the discussions at the Special Summit of Heads of State and Government to be held in early 2022.

Thanks to the joint action plan between UNHCR and IGAD, more than 2.2 million South Sudanese refugees have been hosted in the region, while 1.7 million have been internally displaced. In Sudan, more than 1.8 million people have been internally displaced, and close to 700,000 people have been hosted in neighbouring countries.

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AFP PHOTO/FLORENT VERGNES - Displaced South Sudanese pray outside the church in Obo refugee camp.

The involvement of partners has been essential in the development of the initiative which requires Sudan and South Sudan to sustain its objectives, consolidate its achievements and promote the return and reintegration of displaced persons. Of particular note is the role of the European Union, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States, Germany, the World Bank and other private sector humanitarian partners.