The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) makes strides towards solutions for refugees in the Horn of Africa


Ethiopia. Refugee and host community women farmers say hello

These refugee farmers and their Ethiopian friends greet each other at an irrigation scheme where refugees and the host commune share land to grow crops in Melkadida, Ethiopia.  © UNHCR/Diana Diaz

UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency welcomes the outcome of inter-ministerial stocktaking on the Nairobi Declaration and Action Plan on Durable Solutions by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) that took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last week.

The meeting convened humanitarian and development partners who conducted a second review on the progress made since the Declaration and its Comprehensive Plan Action Plan for Somali refugees was adopted in March 2017. 

The plan foresees concrete actions in the seven IGAD member states including Ethiopia, Uganda, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti and Somalia.  The meeting is also supported by a dedicated core group of stakeholders which include the United Nations Development Programme, the European Union and the World Bank as well several NGOs.

UNHCR Bureau Director for the East, Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region Ms. Clementine Nkweta-Salami who attended the meeting commended member states for developing and implementing multiyear Action Plans in their respective countries.

“A clear policy shift is emerging, moving away from refugee management regimes based on encampment to ‘out of camp’ models which optimize the potential of refugees as agents of economic development,” she said.

Key among other agreements reached in Addis is the commitment to enhance protection and safety in refugee hosting areas while finding long term solutions in line with the Global Compact on Refugees

“The commitment made by these governments in instituting national refugee reforms that will lead to refugee inclusion in national development plans is a win-win for both refugees and host communities,” said Nkweta-Salami

Leading up to the Global Refugee Forum to be held in Geneva in December, it was agreed that IGAD will lead multi-stakeholder consultations in the context of advocating for international responsibility sharing. IGAD has committed to support regional platform to sustain the momentum, galvanize and mobilize additional support.

Whereas many countries in Africa have shown exemplary solidarity, they often face significant development challenges and resource constraints.

“We need to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Global Refugee Forum for the international community to make concrete pledges in solidarity with refugee hosting countries,” said Ambassador Mohammed Affey, UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.

“This demonstrates to the rest of world on how this kind of engagement by IGAD can really be a game changer in addressing forced displacement,” he added. 

The IGAD region is host to over 4 million refugees, 80% of whom are women and children.

Read the IGAD communique on the outcomes of the meeting here:

For more information, please contact:

Tina Ghelli [email protected] +254 078 488 0087

Dana Hughes [email protected] +254 733 440 536