From pledges to implementation: exploring local government responses for urban refugees in Ethiopia

Ethiopia is host to the second largest refugee population in Africa, with over 930,000 refugees, the majority from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan. Most are located in Tigray Regional State and the four Emerging Regions of Ethiopia (Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, and the Somali Regional State), which are the least developed states in the country. In 2016, the Ethiopian government made Nine Pledges to comprehensively respond to refugee needs in the country. These nine pledges broadly correspond to the main objectives of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), officially rolled out in Ethiopia in late 2017.
The government has increasingly pursued a sustainable response that moves beyond care and maintenance of refugees towards promoting their self-reliance. This approach combines wider support to host communities, fostering peaceful coexistence and greater inclusion of refugees in national development plans. The government has quickly sought to establish a governance structure for the CRRF, which includes a Steering Committee, a National Coordination Office, and Technical Committees. However, it has become apparent that greater focus on local government engagement and capacity building is needed to ensure successful implementation in refugee-hosting regions. A National Comprehensive Refugee Response Strategy, currently under development, recognises the importance of decentralising refugee responses so as to create the space for local actors, including host communities, local administrations and other non-governmental entities, to lead in response design and implementation. In practice, this is not yet happening.
This seminar considers the complexities of planning and implementing comprehensive responses for refugees at a sub-national level in Ethiopia, presents some examples of ongoing practices that might inform this process, and outlines key challenges, with the aim of initiating a discussion on how local authorities and other stakeholders can best respond to the challenges of managing refugee responses.

Registration is not required. Refreshments will be served after the seminar.