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IGAD, UNHCR and partners welcome meeting of two Sudan’s on IDPs

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IDPs gather to receive food provided by the WFP during a visit by a EU delegation, at an IDP camp in Azaza, east of Ed Damazin, Blue Nile state, October 21, 2015. (Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters Photo)

December 5, 2020 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan and South Sudan government representatives agreed this week on a regional roadmap which will outline the next steps toward medium to long-term solutions for seven million forcibly displaced persons originating from and hosted by the two countries, and other States hosting displaced populations from both countries.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), currently chaired by Sudan, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and partners, welcomed the conclusions of this first technical-level meeting, building on the unprecedented opportunity to find lasting solutions for displaced persons from the two countries.

The solution strategies, it noted, will include refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and host populations and be advanced through the established IGAD Support Platform launched at the Global Refugee Forum.

“It is a historic moment, for the two governments to come together in search for solutions for their populations," said Amb. Mohamed Abdi Affey, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa.

"We have recently seen impressive developments towards solutions. We have a practical and cordial working relationship between the two governments. We have a roadmap. Now we must work together to show the world that to invest in this process is to light a candle for enduring peace, sustainable return and a hopeful future for the people of South Sudan and Sudan," he added.

During the meeting, the representatives from Sudan and South Sudan reportedly highlighted that the uniqueness of the joint initiative on solutions to displacement stems from the complementarity of the two comprehensive peace agreements, including the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement concluded on 3 October 2020, and the continued efforts in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (RARCSS) signed on September 12, 2018.

They stressed the need to anchor the initiative within their respective peace deals, which, critically, provide for solutions for refugees, IDPs and returnees.

They agreed that both governments should work to create conditions conducive for voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return while simultaneously working to implement innovative solutions which enhance the quality of asylum in the two countries.

Meanwhile, the IGAD Director for Health and Social Development, Fathia Alwan noted that the inception workshop was a start of the multi-year journey as durable solutions are long-term endeavours that require concerted efforts by all parties and acknowledged the support of the core group members including the European Union, Germany, the World Bank, GIZ and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

She reiterated that the IGAD Support Platform will be the ideal vehicle to advance the solution strategies for the Sudan and South Sudan displacement situations.

The European Union (EU) Head of Unit for East and Horn of Africa, Hans Stausboll welcomed the conclusions of the meeting and reiterated EU’s commitment to supporting the initiative.

The first inception meeting was organised by IGAD in coordination with UNHCR and with the support of the EU, the World Bank, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), GIZ and UNDP.

(ST).

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