UNHCR convenes two-day workshop to discuss the new approach towards responding to refugee crises

The new global approach lays out a vision for a more comprehensive response to refugee crises.

A two day workshop on the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), a new global approach to support refugees and the countries that host them, has taken place in Nairobi. The meeting was hosted by senior UNHCR staff responsible for promoting and overseeing the implementation of the Framework, which has been agreed to by UN member states, including the Government of Kenya.

CRRF represents a new approach to supporting and finding solutions for refugees which focuses on nations coming together to ease the pressure on countries receiving refugees, promoting self-reliance among refugees which benefits them and people living in areas that host displaced communities. Finding solutions such as resettlement in other countries, and helping refugees who want to return home.

UNHCR’s Deputy Director for the Division of Resilience and Solutions, Mamadou Dian Balde, said that the CRRF builds on addressing humanitarian needs but with a focus on solutions and long term planning for refugees.

“The CRRF is a government led process that is based on a whole society approach to benefit both refugees and host communities.”

“It builds on existing plans, strategies, and coordination mechanisms, aims to address root causes of displacement and prevention and is adaptable to specific country and regional contexts,” he expounded.

UNHCR’s Representative in Kenya, Raouf Mazou, who was also present at the workshop explained to an audience including representatives from the Government of Kenya, donors such as the United States and European Union, that the CRRF approach had two pillars of inclusion; one the socio-economic inclusion of refugees living in Kenya; and secondly providing integrated services such as hospitals and schools for both refugees and the communities living alongside them.

Under socio-economic inclusion, Mazou pointed out that a recent World Bank report, Yes in my Backyard demonstrated the positive impact of the presence of refugees in Turkana County, where more than 185,000 refugees live in Kakuma Refugee Camp, and a later report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Kakuma as a Marketplace, highlighted the importance the private sector in Kakuma.

“The two studies are now used all over the world as a starting point for discussions on refugee inclusion.”

Mr Mazou added that for the first time, refugees in Kenya were being included United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAF) as well as in domestic County Integrated Development Plans.

He also explained that the Ministry of Education was looking at proposal to end parallel education services for refugees and host communities – so the two learn side by side. He added similar integrating of refugees was being looked at in the health sector and water areas.

CRRF was adopted by all 193 Member States of the United Nations in September 2016. It contains historic and wide-ranging commitments that reaffirm the commitment by Member States to respect the human rights of refugees and migrants and to support the countries that welcome them. The New York Declaration which follows the Framework lays out a vision for a more comprehensive response to refugee crises.

To date, 15 countries, among them Kenya, have formally rolled-out the CRRF.  To better support and find much needed solutions for refugees the Declaration calls on UNHCR, to work with a wide range of partners. These include not just governments, NGO and UN agencies, but also the private sector, international financial institutions and civil society, including think tanks, academia and faith leaders.