Somalia government makes progress in addressing internal displacements – report

The Government of Somalia has been making efforts to provide lasting solutions to the increasing number of internally displaced peoples (IDPs), a new report by Refugee International says.

“Usually the news from Somalia is persistently negative: famine, flooding, terrorism, pirates, and a never-ending civil war. Fortunately, there is some good news to report. Although 2.6 million Somalis—close to one-fifth of the population––are displaced internally, the government has made significant progress in establishing and adopting policies that promote durable solutions,” the report published by Refugee International stated.

The key now is to move from policy to practice in a way that leads to tangible improvements in people’s lives. The report also indicated that thus far, the people most affected have not seen these improvements. The government’s writ and capacity are weak, but development institutions, such as the World Bank, are increasing their support of the government’s capabilities to implement its new policies.

“Further, Somalia is expected to have access to more development financing once international creditors relieve the country’s external debt early in 2020. Somalis will continue to face acute emergencies in the years to come, but this moment presents an opportunity to draw down the humanitarian caseload by supporting solutions for those who have been displaced,” it said.

The country’s new national policy on IDPs states that, “Somalia has a permanent system of government that takes responsibility for seeking and facilitating durable solutions for … IDPs in the country.” Now it is time to prove it.

Going forward, the government, with support from international donors, must implement its new policies in a practical way to provide concrete improvements in the lives of IDPs and facilitate opportunities for local integration.

Particular attention should be paid to preventing forced evictions, offering land tenure, and empowering government officials to facilitate effective support for IDP communities while weakening the stranglehold of gatekeepers.

“The government should consider using development funding to purchase land plots that can be made available for IDPs. Indeed, implementing long-term durable solutions for IDPs will also serve to improve the environment for responding more effectively to emergency needs in urban areas more generally,” the report entitled, Durable Solutions in Somalia: Moving From Policies to Practice for IDPs in Mogadishu by Senior Advocate and UN Liaison Mark Yarnell.