Ethiopia is one of the largest refugee-hosting countries in Africa, sheltering over 700,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers as of 31 October 2019.
The Ministry of Peace jointly with UNHCR and the Danish Embassy, organized a Regional Government-to-Government Conference: “Delivering the Global Compact on Refugees: Local Approaches to Inclusion’ in Addis Ababa from 31 October - 01 November 2019. The stocktaking conference was attended by Government representatives from Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia,
South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda.
Together with the Ministry of Peace, UNHCR organized a national consultative meeting on the implementation of the GCR in different parts of Ethiopia. The feedback thus gathered fed into the regional stocktaking conference, held ahead of the first Global Refugee Forum in December 2019
Working with partners
UNHCR's main government counterpart to ensure the protection of refugees in Ethiopia is the Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA), within the Ministry of Peace. In addition, UNHCR works in close coordination with 54 humanitarian and development partners and is part of the Humanitarian Country Team in Ethiopia where refugee programmes are discussed strategically to ensure the needs of refugees are adequately presented and addressed across the UN System. UNHCR is also building on a well-established coordination fora, including the inter-sector Refugee Coordination Group, together with national and regional sector working groups. As part of the GCR/CRRF, UNHCR is furthering partnerships with line ministries, regional and local authorities, as well as development partners and the private sector.
In line with the National Child Protection Strategy, UNHCR and partners address most pertinent child protection issues by strengthening community-based child protection mechanisms for the benefit of the 448,913 refugee children, representing 63 % of the total refugee population in Ethiopia. Out of these, 37,169 either came alone or were separated from their families or care givers during flight. A total of 11,744 children have been issued with birth certificates since Ethiopia launched vital events registration for refugees in October 2017. As a member of the Executive Committee of the United Nations Network on Migration, UNHCR recently participated in and contributed to a national consultation on the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) in Addis Ababa. The meeting discussed implementation modalities of the GCM and the prioritization of the locally applicable goals.
Following the reopening of schools and universities for the new academic year in Ethiopia, 255 refugee students have been placed in different public universities, joining hundreds of others who have already been enrolled in the previous years. UNHCR piloted the ‘Digital Education Platform’ in Bambasi Refugee Camp, in western Ethiopia, a new tool used to record students’ data and provide accurate information on school enrollment rate and out of school children. Once successfully piloted, the service will be established in all camps and accessed by relevant partners and the host government.
All components of primary health care services were provided within camp level health facilities while referral care was provided at regional health facilities as well as specialized hospitals in the capital Addis Ababa. The crude and under-five children mortality rates remained within the expected range. No disease outbreak has been reported from any of the camps. The number of malaria cases has stabilized after coordinated control measures have been taken. World Mental Health Day has been celebrated in all Refugee Camps, focusing on suicide prevention.
Food Security and Nutrition
Eleven out of the 18 refugee camps that have been surveyed for acute malnutrition so far this year have shown a global actuate malnutrition (GAM) prevalence that is within the acceptable range, while the remaining seven camps have higher than acceptable GAM rates. Acute and chronic malnutrition remain a challenge, mainly in camps in the Tigray and Afar Regions due to household food insecurity contributed to by limited access to livelihoods and reduced food assistance and inappropriate feeding practices, among others. Refugees continue to receive a food basket with 84% of the recommended 2100Kcal/person/day. Emergency nutrition programs are in place in all camps to treat acute malnutrition.