1. Executive Summary
Progress related to the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) in Ethiopia – as expressed in the Government of Ethiopia’s pledges at the 2016 Leaders’ Summit and subsequent pledges – gives cause for optimism. The promise of working towards an effective enabling environment and real tangible results for refugees and host communities has been furthered by two major advancements in 2019: The promulgation of a new Refugee Proclamation (No 1110/2019), allowing for increased freedom of movement and opportunities for the right to work; and the four (4) new pledges Ethiopia made as a co-convener of the December 2019 Global Refugee Forum (GRF). Ethiopia continues to show a firm commitment to the spirit of the GCR and was an early leader in pursuing the CRRF – a promise that is clearly enduring.
However, this report also highlights concerns around service levels for refugees and host communities in Ethiopia. Whilst progress is being made with a broader buy-in to the concept of ‘development solutions’, the transition to such a comprehensive approach is taking time to deliver results. This ‘nexus’ must be well planned, sequenced and resourced over time.
This 2019 Summary Pledge Progress Report for Ethiopia is based on Ethiopia’s 2016 pledges. It does not systematically reflect subsequent pledges, such as those Ethiopia contributed to the Intergovernmental Agency on Development (IGAD:2017-2019) Nairobi Declaration and Action Plan, or the recent four (4) GoE pledges at the GRF – although plans for a 2020 report include a review for all such commitments. The opportunity has been taken to highlight some additional information from the L3/BIMS registration data for refugees from UNHCR / ARRA – largely reflected as graphs and additional information in relevant sections throughout this report.
With the Proclamation, the enabling legal and policy environment allows for further investments in concrete development initiatives for economic opportunities for refugees and their hosts, as well as inclusive access to, and quality of, services. The new Proclamation paves the way for more sustainable development-oriented solutions for Ethiopia’s refugee hosting areas: Addis Ababa, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, Somali Regional State and Tigray. Most regions already lag behind on key development indicators and need increased development support for hosting communities.
In December 2019, UNHCR produced a summary of ongoing and committed investments in relation to the GCR/CRRF in Ethiopia, tallying about US$ one (1) billion worth of projects in the Refugee Displacement Development Digest (R3D)
. In the five (5) regional states – in six (6) main Areas of Operations (AoO) for UNHCR - regional governments have welcomed the GCR/CRRF agenda and have increased engagement by supporting coordination mechanisms. Regional Bureaus also organized trainings and prompted awareness-raising. Area-based initiatives with woreda authorities in Fafan zone in Somali Regional State (SRS) show promise. A study tour by Gambella government officials to Melkadida, to examine potential for agricultural development and irrigation, has positively influenced plans in Gambella region. ARRA’s work to develop a National Comprehensive Refugee Response Strategy (NCRRS) and related regional action plans (RAPs), has also continued and awaits finalization. Social cohesion has been emphasized through sporting and cultural events.