Photo: UN - Photo: 2019

Finding Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa

By Caroline Mwanga

NEW YORK (IDN) – ‘Towards durable solutions for forcibly displaced persons in Africa’ is the overarching theme of the African Dialogue Series (ADS 2019) being organized by the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) from May 21 to 23, 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

The three-day ADS will coincide with the celebration of Africa Day on May 24, 2019, organized by the AU Permanent Mission to the UN, and the events will feature Member States, the African Union, The United Nations System Entities, Members of the Diaspora, Civil Society (including women and youth groups), Private Sector, Media and Academia as well as development partners.

The ADS 2019 focus aligns with the overarching priority theme of the African Union for 2019, entitled: Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.

Co-organizers are the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA), UNHCR, OCHA, UNDP, ECA and the Department of Global Communications (DGC).

The African Union is commemorating this year the 50th Anniversary of the adoption of the 1969 Organization of African Unity Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa (OAU Refugee Convention) and the 10th Anniversary of the adoption of the 2009 AU Convention for the Protection of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (the Kampala Convention).

It calls on the United Nations and its partners to support Africa, through global advocacy and actions, to find durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa, and to assist the leadership of African Member States in ensuring ratification and adoption of the pivotal African and Global instruments, namely – the Kampala Convention on IDPs, the OAU Convention on Refugees, and the Global Compact on Refugees, and on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

The AU theme also coincides with the growing recognition of the humanitarian and development nexus, and the need for greater collaboration and coherent support by all stakeholders, particularly on the need for greater financing across the transitional period from humanitarian to development action.

The OASS said, addressing this nexus will help towards finding solutions to forced displacement in Africa, while also promoting conflict prevention and resilience to natural disasters, in line with the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.

The ADS 2019 will therefore provide an advocacy platform to discuss durable solutions to forced displacement of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Africa, and the need for their protection and support, the OASS added.

According to the Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, ADS 2019 will in particular:

Exchange best practices and lessons learned in African countries hosting refugees by citing good examples of protection of refugees, including for women and girls, education and skills training, and opportunities that will eventually result in a sustainable, safe, and dignified durable solution, especially in the context of the 1969 OAU Convention:

Discuss shared responsibility and the role of the UN, humanitarian and development partners as well as the private sector in support of the AU and its Member States in implementing their international obligations not least in the context of the Global Compact on Refugees and financing infrastructure;

Raise the profile of the issue of internal displacement in Africa, in particular protracted internal displacement, to coincide with the AU theme of the year on forced displacement and 10th anniversary of the Kampala Convention;

Provide a platform for displaced populations to highlight their successes and challenges; and

Identify concrete areas for practical and coherent international support, including by the UN, its Member States and others towards refugee and IDP hosting countries in Africa.

The expected outcome of the ADS 2019 will be to increase awareness of the solutions to forced displacement of refugees in Africa; showcase best practices and lessons learned on African solidarity in dealing with forced displacement in Africa; bring out the voice of IDPs; and come up with concrete and action-oriented recommendations of UN coherent support based on the discussions.

Finally, the outcome of the ADS 2019 will feed into the regional consultative conferences leading to the Global Forum for Refugees to be held in December 2019.

The ADS will be structured into the following sessions over a three-day period:

The first two days, May 21-22, the main sessions of the Dialogue.

The third day, May 23, various side events organized around the theme by partner organizations such as the UN, Diaspora, Civil Society (including women and youth groups), Private Sector, and Academia. [IDN-InDepthNews – 12 May 2019]

Photo: UN

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