Special advisor: Durable solutions for displaced persons in Somalia require combined humanitarian, development, peace approach

30 Aug 2017

Special advisor: Durable solutions for displaced persons in Somalia require combined humanitarian, development, peace approach

Mogadishu – During a week-long visit to Somalia, a senior UN advisor on internal displacement called for the establishment of an effective framework and durable solutions in the country, which, together with strong government leadership and the mobilization of multi-year flexible funding, would provide sustainable livelihoods and adequate standards of living to internal displaced persons (IDPs) and their host communities.

Walter Kälin, Special Advisor on IDPs to the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General/Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, developed the Durable Solutions Initiative and has been instrumental in ensuring this concept is properly incorporated in the Somali National Development Plan.

Professor Kälin, who until recently was also Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of IDPs, visited Kismaayo, capital of Jubaaland State, Dollow, a small town in the Geddo region bordering Ethiopia, Baidoa, the administrative capital of South West State, as well as Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.

In Kismaayo, the Special Advisor held discussions with a delegation of senior state government officials, led by the First Deputy President of Jubbaland, Mohamud Sayid Aden. The discussion focused on multi sectoral interventions required to find long term solutions for the displaced population and the affected communities, as well as issue of land tenure security, protection and urban development.

“The objective of my mission in Kismaayo is to discuss with Jubbaland authorities about gaps and opportunities to find durable solutions. The government availed a piece of land to resettle some of the displaced population, which is very encouraging, but additional efforts are required to create sustainable livelihoods for IDPs and bring services closer to them. Kismaayo is a lively city with a growing economy. We need to facilitate the socio-economic integration of IDPs so that they can contribute actively to the economic development of their city,” Prof. Kälin noted.

Prof. Kälin also visited the Haanta Dheer IDP settlement where several United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations built permanent shelters and latrines. During the visit, Prof. Kälin took part in the distribution of solar lanterns and was briefed about the upcoming community consultation meetings leading up to the preparation of locally-based development plans.

In Dollow, the Special Advisor visited several resilience building projects for IDPs, including a farming project in the outskirts of town for IDP communities with solar irrigation system, an urban resilience market, a poultry project, a water treatment system and a permanent shelter construction project. He also witnessed the difficult living conditions of IDPs who arrived recently because of the drought.

In Baidoa, Prof. Kälin held a meeting with a delegation of senior South West State officials, headed by the Acting President and concurrent Minister of Agriculture, Mohamed Hassan Fiqi. Briefing the media after the meeting, Mr. Fiqi noted that the discussions focused on humanitarian and development interventions required to support families who would like to go back to their rural areas as well as projects facilitating the local integration of the displaced populations who would like to resettle in Baidoa.

“There are different categories of IDPs, those who came a long time ago, and those who have recently been displaced because of the drought. Thanks to the humanitarian assistance, we are able to save their lives, but in the long term, we need to switch to development approaches to help them become productive and self-sufficient again,” Prof. Kälin noted.

While in Baidoa, the internal displacement expert visited two IDP settlements and held discussion with a group of former displaced persons who collectively managed to buy a plot of land on which to resettle.

Prof. Kälin ended his mission by attending the National Forum on Durable Solution for IDPs and Refugees, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia. During the encounter, Prof. Kälin commended the Government of Somalia for its political commitment to address the issue of displacement and durable solutions, and for the mainstreaming of displacement and durable solutions in the National Development Plan.

“Somalia is one of the only countries in the world where solutions for IDPs are presented as a key development priority. While absolutely necessary for saving lives and provide immediate assistance, humanitarian interventions cannot achieve long term solutions. A combination of humanitarian, development, peace and state building approaches is required to achieve that objective and the National Development Plan provides a very solid basis for that.”

This was Prof. Kälin’s third mission to Somalia and to various IDP camps across the country. Prof. Kälin has been instrumental in launching the Durable Solutions Initiative for Somalia and is a strong advocate for the durable solutions approach, which includes support for returnees as well as their reintegration, and addresses the issues that host communities face due to displacement influx. Prof. Kälin will present the findings of his mission to the international community during a briefing today.