UN receives Japanese support for long-time displaced in Somalia

Nairobi, 20 June 2007. The Government of Japan has recently announced its support of $4 million to a UN programme through the UN Trust Fund for Human Security to support Somali internally displaced persons (IDPs). The UN programme, to be jointly implemented by five agencies, aims to help 11,000 protracted displaced living in the town of Bossaso, Puntland State of Somalia.

Thanking the Government of Japan for its continued commitment to support post-conflict countries and particularly its investment in the future of IDPs, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Mr. Eric Laroche, said: "These people are living in some of the worst conditions in Africa and we have an obligation to act. This is an opportunity to make a difference in more stable parts of Somalia." The Humanitarian Coordinator also emphasized the importance of creating "durable and sustainable solutions" for shelter, livelihoods, and basic social services for those who are long-term displaced.

UNDP Country Director, Mr. Bruno Lemarquis, emphasized the unity among the implementing UN agencies, citing it as "one of the first One-UN programmes for Somalia". The programme will draw on the expertise of each of the UN agencies; UNHCR, FAO, UNICEF, UNHABITAT, and UNDP as well as the international NGO Danish Refugee Council.

All of the agencies will work very closely with the Puntland and local authorities as well as the communities benefiting. Bossaso has been a pilot for the UN Strategy for assistance to IDPs, linking upgrading of living conditions in temporary settlements with more durable solutions, while keeping a strong focus on protection. One of the UN staff members involved in developing this project, UNHABITAT's Programme Manager Filiep Decorte, said: "This project will build on lessons learned from the assistance that has been provided to IDPs in Bossaso over the last two years, and scale up the successful elements".

The two-year project will include assistance to the prevention from physical violence and fire outbreaks in IDP settlements, the investment in basic social services and infrastructures in existing settlements, as well as longer term resettlement and reintegration solutions for IDPs currently in Bossaso. The project will offer concrete benefits and strengthen the political, social and economic rights of an extremely vulnerable group which is long-time neglected.

IDPs in Somalia today represent more than 5% of the total population of 6.8 million. The UN estimates that there are approximately 370,000- 400,000 IDPs in Somalia. These form a group of chronically vulnerable people who lack even the most basic protection and essential services. The vast majority live in temporary IDP settlements on privately-owned land subject to abuse as landowners frequently charge rent, force IDPs to settle in extreme densities, while refusing the installation of basic services (latrines, etc.).

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For more information on the joint programme, contact Ms. Louise Chamberlain, UNDP Somalia, +254-20-4255217

For more information on the UN and its programmes in Somalia, contact Ms. Amanda Di Lorenzo, Tel. +254-20-3754150/5

For more information on the assistance of the Government of Japan to Somalia, please contact: Mr. Yasushi Naito, tel. +254-20-2898000, ext. 300

Office of the United Nations Resident & Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, Springette, Off Lower Kabete Road, lst left after Spring Valley Police Station, P.O. Box 28832, 00200, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel. (25420) 4183640, 4183642/3/4; Fax (25420) 4183641