Held under the theme, “Regional Thematic Meeting on Livelihoods and Self-reliance for Refugees, Returnees and Host Communities”, the meeting brings together IGAD Member States, development and humanitarian partners.
The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) held in collaboration with the Government of Uganda has opened this morning in Kampala.
It was opened by the Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees of Uganda, Hilary Onek on Tuesday morning.
Held under the theme, "Regional Thematic Meeting on Livelihoods and Self-reliance for Refugees, Returnees and Host Communities", the meeting brings together IGAD Member States, development and humanitarian partners.
It also brings together as the private sector and the civil society groups from the humanitarian and development spheres to support these commitments.
Onek said his belief was that the forum was critical to "further explore mechanisms of promoting economic inclusion of refugees, returnees and host communities in the IGAD region".
He also noted that his country was "delighted to share good practices, lessons learnt and opportunities on the creation of jobs and livelihoods".
The Director of Health & Social Division at IGAD-Ms Fathia Alwan, said IGAD started implementation of the Nairobi Declaration immediately after its adoption with support from partners such as the European Union, the German Agency for Development, and UNHCR among others. She added that promoting livelihoods and self-reliance was a "major concern for national and global stability and security".
The meeting is looking at a range of issues connected to the access of refugees and host communities to livelihood and economic opportunities including challenges accessing supporting services and functions.
It also seeks to address barriers in the regulatory and policy environment preventing refugees and host communities to fully take advantage of available opportunities.
The meeting is attended by several dignitaries including Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs of Uganda, Hon. Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi, as well as representatives from the European Union, the UNHCR, and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
The three-day gathering is a meeting of experts to pave the way for a ministerial level meeting due to take place on Thursday 28 March at Speke Resort Munyunyo in Kampala.
Participants are drawn from IGAD Member States' line ministries, including lead agencies that handle refugee matters; ministries of finance (treasury); ministries of planning and those responsible for local government (devolution, federalism or decentralisation), as well as ministries of agriculture, livestock development and those responsible for labour.
Representatives of refugee and host communities, international finance institutions, partners engaged in securing durable solutions and the IGAD core group of partners to the Nairobi Plan of Action will are expected. Others include the private sector, civil society and the diaspora who are champions for refugees.