Readout of the High Level Event ‘Uganda’s Transformational Approach to Refugees and Host Communities – Dealing with Multiple Vulnerabilities’

Dec 14, 2016

 

On 14 December 2016, the Permanent Mission of Uganda to the United Nations convened a high level event on ‘Uganda’s Transformational Approach to Refugees and Host Communities

– Dealing with Multiple Vulnerabilities’ at the United Nations in New York.

H.E. Mr. Sam Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uganda and President of the 69th Session of the General Assembly presented an overview of the ongoing refugee influx, highlighting that Uganda is now hosting over 895,000 individuals, with the number expected to exceed 1 million in the coming months. Outlining Uganda’s ‘out-of-camp’ refugee hosting approach, that provides refugees with land, access to social services and the opportunity to work, he noted the continued influx is placing pressure on the economy and fragile infrastructure.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that Uganda, together with the Secretary-General designate will convene a Solidarity Conference in Uganda in early 2017, to enable Member

States, the private sector and others to see first-hand Uganda’s transformational approach to refugee and host community management in the face of multiple vulnerabilities, and to identify opportunities to make development investments and increase humanitarian support.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs outlined Uganda’s ‘Settlement Transformation Approach’ under the second National Development Plan (NDP-II), that seeks to address six inter-related development areas needed to sustain the refugee hosting approach and to reduce the pressure faced by hosting communities: land management, sustainable livelihoods, governance and rule of law, peaceful coexistence, environmental protection, and community infrastructure.

The Secretary-General, in remarks delivered by Mr. Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant

Secretary-General for Political Affairs, commended Uganda’s transformative and integrated settlement approach, which allows refugees the possibility to live with greater dignity, independence and normality.  He welcomed the United Nations-led ‘Refugees and Host

Communities Empowerment’ (ReHOPE) strategy, aligned to the NPD-II, that aims to sustainably assist refugees and host communities by promoting socio-economic development in refugee-hosting areas.

Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Assistant

Administrator and Regional Director for Africa, highlighted that Uganda is affected by a multiplicity of vulnerabilities including the ongoing refugee influx from South Sudan, the

Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, spill-overs from conflicts in surrounding countries, fragile border points and food insecurity. He noted that the regions primarily affected by these complexities are also home to the most vulnerable in the country. It is this confluence of factors that compounds the vulnerability of Uganda and places an enormous stress on its economy, social services and attainment of its middle income status by 2040 as envisaged in the NDP-II.

Ms. Rosa Malango, United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Uganda, provided an overview of the coordination mechanism in Uganda noting that these are development focused, led by the Government, at both national and sub-national level, and supported by the United Nations. Referencing the ‘Delivering as One’ approach, Ms. Malango highlighted the alignment of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework

(UNDAF) to the NDP-II, both guided by the Sustainable Development Goals. She urged

Member States to consider both the humanitarian and development needs in Uganda and the linkages and investment opportunities, particularly in climate smart agriculture, natural resource management and renewable energy.

Mr. Bornwell Kantande, UNHCR Representative in Uganda, underscored that Uganda’s refugee hosting communities are at the frontlines. By supporting these communities, the asylum space in Uganda is being reinforced at a time when it faces immense pressure. He stressed the need to invest in social cohesion and peacebuilding. Mr. Kantande highlighted that Uganda’s refugee approach is providing an important model, with Tanzania having visited, and Ethiopia and Malawi expected to visit in 2017.

Member States took the floor to commend Uganda’s dignified approach to refugee hosting. A number of Member States emphasized the importance of increasing development assistance to sustain and re-enforce the approach, enhancing South-South cooperation, and re-orienting assistance to better meet the context in Uganda. Member States welcomed the announcement of the Solidarity Conference in early 2017.

 

References

- Remarks of the Foreign Minister of Uganda:

http://newyork.mofa.go.ug/files/downloads/2828_001%20(2).pdf

- Remarks of the Secretary-General:  https://www.un.org/sg/en/content/sg/statement/2016-12- 14/secretary-generals-message-ugandas-transformational-approach

- Remarks of  UNDP Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Africa:

http://www.africa.undp.org/content/rba/en/home/presscenter/speeches/2016/12/14/openingremarks-by-abdoulaye-mar-dieye-at-high-level-event-on-uganda-s-transformational-approach-torefugees-and-host-communities-/

- UN webcast of event: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/other-meetingsevents/watch/uganda’stransformational-approach-to-refugees-and-host-communities-dealing-with-multiplevulnerabilities/5248352511001

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