East African ministers work to end Somalia’s refugee crisis

By Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) ministers who met in Nairobi to review progress in the implementation of a regional pact on finding durable solution to the refugee crisis in Somalia vowed to mobilize resources and political capital to realize that goal.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Internal Security Fred Matiangi stressed that robust financing, partnerships and political goodwill is key to sustaining progress achieved in reducing the suffering of an estimated 900,000 Somalia refugees scattered in the region.

“I’m confident that with concerted relentless efforts, we will eventually meet all our pledges and ultimately deliver our promise for durable solution to Somali refugees,” said Matiangi in a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Interior Ministry Patrick Ole Ntutu.

The security ministers were joined by representatives of UN and multilateral lending agencies to review progress in the implementation of Nairobi Declaration and Action Plan adopted by Heads of State from the region in March last year to find long-term solution to refugee crisis in Somalia

Matiangi hailed progress that has been achieved since the adoption of the regional pact to end the refugee challenge in Somalia that has worsened against a backdrop of clan based skirmishes, terrorism and climatic shocks.

“It is gratifying to note that remarkable progress has been registered over the past one year towards realization of the objectives of the Nairobi Declaration and comprehensive plan of Action,” Matiangi said.

“We commend the Federal Government of Somalia for measures taken to create conditions for safe, sustainable and voluntary return of refugees,” he added.

Matiangi noted that restoration of civil authority, economic recovery reconciliation and response to natural disasters has improved the plight of Somalia refugees.

He reiterated Kenya’s commitment to transforming the lives of an estimated 450,000 Somalia refugees living in the country through provision of basic education, health, vocational skills and employment.

Pan African blocs have rallied behind home-grown solution to Somalia refugee crisis that has undermined stability and development in a significant portion of the continent.

Mahboub Maalim, the Executive Secretary of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), noted that a holistic approach that combines humanitarian aid, provision of social services and security has enhanced the capacity of Somalia refugees to rebuild their lives.

Source:  – xinhuanet