Statement by Hon. Sam K. Kutesa Minister Of Foreign Affairs At The High-Level Pledging Conference Of The Central Emergency Response Fund (Cerf) At The UN Head Quarters, New York

Dec 13, 2016

 

The Secretary General   of the   United   Nations,    Mr. Ban Ki Moon,

Distinguished Panelists,

Excellences,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

I  pay   tribute   the    UN   Secretary-General   Ban    Ki-moon for   this    initiative  in establishing   the   Central  Emergency  Response  Fund,  which  has    remained  a vital   tool    for    the     UN    to    mobilize  resources    to    address    humanitarian catastrophes.

Two years  ago,  here  at   the   UN  world leaders  adopted  the   2030  Agenda on Sustainable  Development which laid  out  an  ambitious  set  of Goals committing themselves to  "leaving no  one  behind".

Last  September,  at   the   first   ever Summit  meeting  for  refugees and   migrants here  at   the    United  Nations,  world  leaders  in   'The   New    York   Declaration', expressed  the  political will  to  save lives, protect rights and   share  responsibility for  Refugees and   Migrants on  a global scale.

For over fifty years, Uganda has   been hosting refugees.    By the   end   of 2015, Uganda hosted the   third-largest refugee population in Africa and   the   eighth- largest in the world.

Since then,   the    refugee population   has    grown significantly.  385,166   new arrivals  have  been  received  during  the   course  of  this    year,  predominantly originating from three simultaneous  emergency influxes from South Sudan,  the Democratic Republic of Congo and  Burundi.

Uganda is hosting over 895,000 refugees and   asylum-seekers,   the   highest in the    country's   history.     Currently  there  are    over  2000  new    arrivals  being received a day, meaning that   the  number  of refugees being hosted in  Uganda is set  to  pass  the   one   million mark  before the  end   of the  year. In  the   space of a few months,  the  Bidibidi settlement  in  North Western Uganda, which opened in August  2016 to  host   South  Sudanese  refugees has   become one  of the   largest refugee-hosting areas in  the  world

With thousands of refugees continuing to flee to Uganda, the needs are growing larger. Uganda   needs   the    support   of   the    international    community   with providing sustainable protection to refugees and host   communities.

  • The     inter-agency    refugee   response    plans    continue    to     be     severely underfunded.           This   is    compromising   the    capabilities   of   humanitarian organisations to provide vital life-saving assistance to refugees.
  • CERF has   been an instrumental   partner for the   humanitarian    response in Uganda.    CERF funding  in   Uganda  in   2016  led   to   the    fast   delivery  of essential  life-saving assistance  to  newly arriving refugees  through  the   fast  release of resources  in  areas where gaps existed.
  • Without CERF funds,  some agencies and   implementing partners  would not have been  able to  provide any   assistance  to  new arrivals  and   would have experienced significant constraints  in  providing ongoing services to  refugees who arrived earlier.

Uganda's  policy and   approach  provides refugees with land,  education  and   a chance  to  work -  but   the   continued  influx of  refugees is  putting  pressure  on resources.   While this   policy has   been praised by the international community, the    influx of refugees has    brought pressures   on   the    economy and    fragile infrastructure.     If we do not   address this   situation realistically, it will create pressures   on our   host communities.   

Therefore, while Uganda gets accolades for its generous refugee policy, Uganda needs tangible support to put   in place the necessary infrastructure.

The    government   is   investing   significant domestic   resources   estimated   at US$150 Million in   the   protection, management and    integration of refugees, through            the    provision   of   land,   social services,   personnel   and     security. However, resource gaps remain which include;

a)  The   Settlement  Transformation  Agenda which is  a  government five-year plan  on   refugee  protection  and    management  which  has    an   estimated budget ofUS$300  Million in  2015, this  is unfunded.

b)  The South Sudan emergency response is budgeted at US $251.1 Million. This is funded at 36%.

c)  The   Burundi response with an   estimated budget of US $ 21   Million is funded at 33% only.

d)  The   overall Government of Uganda/UNHCR Country programme budget is funded at 30%.

There  is   therefore  a   need  to   mobilise additional   resources   for   Uganda  to adequately  respond  to  this   humanitarian   situation,  at   a  time when  globally asylum space is becoming a challenge.

The   comprehensive  and   holistic approach  in  the   Settlement  Transformation Agenda/response   to   refugee  management  requires  support  through  its   pilot phase in  the  Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF)as proposed by   the    UNHCR High  Commissioner,  to   give dignified  asylum  to   refugees.

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