Planning for All: Integrating Refugees in District Development

Oct 31, 2017

KAMPALA - Today, nearly 1.4 million refugees reside across 12 districts in Uganda, live alongside their Ugandan hosts. While Uganda’s approach to refugee protection and management provides exemplary prospects for dignity, normality and self-reliance, and creates a conducive environment for pursuing development-oriented approaches, it also places inordinate pressure on the communities that host them.

In support of a comprehensive refugee response in Uganda, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) joined forces with the Uganda’s National Planning Authority (NPA) and the World Bank to convene the first-ever workshop for Chief Administrative Officers and District Planning Officers from each of the refugee hosting districts to advance efforts for integrating district planning.

Opening the workshop, Dr. Godfrey Okot, the acting Chair of NPA, called for better planning to manage refugees, mitigate potential conflict, and sustain the Uganda model through shared benefits and the strengthening of the resilience of both refugees and host communities.

“We need to look at how refugee hosting districts can be further strengthened to lead their local development and leverage the opportunities while addressing the challenges of hosting a large number of refugees,” Mr.  Innocent Fred Ejolu, the Team leader for UNDP’s Institutional Effectiveness programme said.

He added that with the national budget process underway, the time was right for districts to re-visit their priorities for next year’s budget in light of the refugee influx.

Mr. Godfrey Kaima, Office of the Prime Minister (OPM)’s Under Secretary for Refugees and Disaster highlighted that refugee management, an OPM mandate, had been integrated into the second National Development Plan through the Government’s Settlement Transformation Agenda, shifting the focus from a solely humanitarian approach to one that recognises the connection between humanitarian and development.

“As such,” he said, “greater coordination and engagement of all stakeholders is required if the needs of both the locals and the refugees are to be addressed in an integrated manner.”

Following a presentation from the Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) Support Team on the findings from a recent stocktaking exercise, the Chief Administrative Officers and Planners had technical consultations on further prioritising district needs and explored actions required to strengthen coordination and joint planning within districts and between districts and the national level.

The workshop resulted in a number of actions to be taken forward, including the compilation of district priorities into a programme framework and the review of Local Government Planning Guidelines to provide for integration of refugee issues into District Development Plans, among others. UNDP committed to supporting the Government take these forward. Please find a summary of the meeting here.

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