Uganda’s Solidarity Summit for Refugees raises over USD350mJun 26, 2017
Kampala - On 21st and 22nd June 2017, the world gathered in Uganda to stand in solidarity with the country as it hosts over 1 million refugees. This was during the Uganda Solidarity Summit on refugees.
The summit, hosted by H.E President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres raised over USD350m out of the targeted USD2m.
“We the indigenous people of the Great Lakes, have been dealing with refugees for millennia. Our concept of refugees was dynamic, not static like the concept we hear about today,” President Museveni said while opening the 2nd day of the summit which was also the pledging day.
He further said that Uganda’s Pan-Africanist ideological orientation and the history of the people made it easy to absorb or co-exist with refugees from within Africa.
However, he added that the sudden large numbers present problems that include providing food and shelter, energy for cooking and light while preserving the environment, providing water, education, and addressing health needs among other needs.
It was on this basis that he was calling on the international community to assist in coping with these challenges.
Agreeing with him, Mr. Guterres described the refugee influx from South Sudan as, “the biggest refugee exodus in Africa since the Rwandan genocide.”
He recognised Uganda’s exemplary refugee policy and called on the international community to recognise it.
“Even today faced with the largest refugee in-flow of the past year, Uganda remains a symbol of the integrity of the refugee protection regime that unfortunately is not being respected everywhere in the world,” Mr. Guterres said.
He called on the international community needs to step up and give to the Ugandan people and to the refugees hosted by the Ugandan people the kind of support that is absolutely needed because the circumstances in which these sacrifices are being made are extremely challenging.
“International solidarity with Uganda is not a matter of generosity, it’s a matter of justice. International solidarity is absolutely crucial at the presence,” he said.
Several countries heeded the call with Equatorial Guinea kick-starting pledging USD100, 000, it was followed by several other countries such as the United Arab Emirates which pledged USD5m, China – USD500, 000, United Kingdom – USD50m, Japan – USD10m, Gabon – USD250,000, Kenya – USD200,000, Somalia – USD100,000, Germany - USD56m, Australia – USD5m, Italy USD 5.6m, Canada – USD11.5m, Sweden USD 27.1M, Norway – USD4m, Austria -USD2.2m, Netherlands USD6.2m, Republic of Korea - USD6.8m, Denmark – USD62m , Ireland – USD2.6m, Finland – USD2.4m.
Regional groupings such as the European Union pledged USD 96.3m while African Union pledged USD100, 000.
The private sector pledges were led by MTN Group Uganda who pledged USD1m and more pledges were made in kind on the first day of the summit during the Private Sector Side event whose theme was - “Enabling the Private Sector to support Refugees and Refugee hosting communities.”
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) led side event was intended to showcase the contribution of the private sector to refugees and host communities as well as present successful business models that provide a compelling business case for investing in refugee hosting communities.
UNDP together with the Japan International Development Agency (JICA) also led the side event Local Government with the theme: “Enhancing Development Approaches for Resilience and Self-Reliance of Refugees and Host Communities: Strengthening the Capacity of Local Governments in Uganda.”
12 districts in Uganda host refugees and this meeting called for partners to support these districts improve their social service delivery for both their local communities as well as their guests.
“We must respond simultaneously to the needs of newly arriving refugees as well as of those in protracted refugee situations, living in local communities. And these communities, in turn, must be supported by local governments,” Mr. Hiroshi Kato, JICA Senior Vice President who attend the event noted.
Ms. Almaz Gebru, the UNDP Country reiterated UNDP’s commitment to work with both the Private Sector and the Local Governments to provide both humanitarian and development solutions to the refugee hosting communities in Uganda.
Ms. Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator as well as the UNDP Resident Representative described the Summit as a milestone event that had put Uganda’s on the global map for its development oriented initiatives.
She thanked all partners for their contributions and called on others to continue pledging as the pledge lines were still open.