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Ethiopia Update: July 2022

Dear Colleagues,
Greetings from the Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat (ReDSS) Ethiopia Country Unit.

We hope that you are keeping well. In this note, you will find updates for the months since our last update in February 2022. These include operational updates, Gambella seminar, forced displacement researchers' meeting, ReDSS presentations in two conferences, forced return position paper, DAC consultations and other activities in the Somali Region.

It should be noted that this period included a time when ReDSS's activities were temporarily paused (from mid-April to the end of May) due to concerns raised by RRS about the status of ReDSS's presence in Ethiopia. RRS is now discussing with ACSO to confirm that our current operation modality, as a team within DRC, is in line with Ethiopian legislation. We are optimistic that this will resolve positively and, with RRS's approval, have restarted our activities in the meantime.

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Research and Analysis

Forced Displacement Researchers' Meeting: ReDSS convened the researchers' group on 29th June 2022 as part of its quarterly meeting. The group is composed of research institutions, academia and private researchers. ReDSS updated the group about its research and policy dialogue activities. Similarly, research institutions and individual researchers shared their research undertakings on forced displacement issues in Ethiopia. The group also deliberated on establishing the National Network of Academics on Forced Displacement- a process led by UNHCR.

Research Seminar in Gambella: ReDSS, in collaboration with Gambella University, organized a research seminar with the general theme 'Research and evidence to inform Refugee Response Programming and Policy in Ethiopia'. The particular focus was 'Opportunities for Social Cohesion and Economic Inclusion of Displacement Affected Communities in Gambella Region'. The seminar was held on 29th March 2022 in Gambella and was attended by 35 participants from different regional government offices, academia, INGOs and UN agencies.   

Presentation in REF Conference: ReDSS presented a paper at the Research and Evidence Facilities' Second International Conference on Migrants and Forcibly Displaced Persons- Towards Greater Inclusion and Protection in Nairobi on June 9-10, 2022. In a panel on CRRF implementation, ReDSS's presentation was titled, 'Beyond CRRF- Learning from CRRF to inform wider responses to displacement in Ethiopia and the Horn'. ReDSS shared its understanding of the current context and its thinking on the way forward.  

Presentation in a Forum on the Role of Academia in the Protection of Refugees: ReDSS presented in this academic forum organized as part of the World Refugee Week series of events. This forum was conducted on 23rd June 2022 at Addis Ababa University. ReDSS's presentation was titled, 'the status of socio-economic inclusion of refugees in Ethiopia'. ReDSS shared its understanding of the refugee response and its thinking regarding the way forward. This event was attended by academia, the government, UN agencies, NGOs and some donor organizations. 

Engagement with Policymakers and Related Undertakings

ReDSS engagement with the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce (IMTF): ReDSS has accepted an invitation by the IMTF Secretariat to serve as a member of the technical committee member to the Refugee and IDP Affairs Committee under the Taskforce. The Refugee and IDP Affairs Committee is tasked with leading the design and rollout of a comprehensive IDP strategy/response mechanism, the domestication of the Kampala Convention, and creating a comprehensive inventory of internal displacement across the country. ReDSS attended the technical committee's first meeting on 28th June.  
    
ReDSS co-developed a position paper: ReDSS and UNHCR developed a position paper on forced returns and relocation in Ethiopia. The paper contained principles and standards to promote and support voluntary returns, relocation and parameters for managing risk. The writing of the piece was one priority issue under the EHCT Protection Strategy endorsed by EHCT in December 2021. The final draft of the paper was presented to the DS-TAG on 13th May 2022.

ReDSS consultants presented at a regional CRRF learning workshop: Alemu Asfaw and Abdirahman Ahmed, contracted by ReDSS for research undertakings, made a presentation in the experts' roundtable on Regional Lessons for the Implementation of Refugee Policy and Programing in Kenya on 2nd June 2022. The experts shared Ethiopia's experience with refugee response initiatives at national and sub-national levels and good practices Kenya can adopt.  

Participation in High-Level Consultation on the Situation of Refugees in Ethiopia: ReDSS attended a consultative meeting organized by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on 22nd June 2022. This event heard keynote speeches from the heads of EHRC, RRS, UNHCR and IMTF's Secretariat, followed by engaging discussions from participants, including the RC, UN Agencies, donors, INGOs, government institutions and civil societies.

Coordination

ReDSS Members meeting: As part of its regular meeting, ReDSS conducted its members meeting on 24th June 2022. 

Co-lead of the Durable Solutions Technical Advisor Group (DS-TAG): As a co-lead of the DS-TAG, ReDSS convened the group on 13th May 2022 and discussed the issue of voluntariness of return in Ethiopia as one means of durable solutions. This meeting was attended by representatives of donors, RCO, UN Agencies and INGOs.

Participation in the HINGO forum and HLP Working Group: ReDSS resumed its attendance in the HINGO forum, including one meeting on 19th April 2022. This is an important forum to regularly update members and partners on the evolving forced displacement context. ReDSS continues to attend the HLP Working Group monthly meetings.

Undertakings in the Somali Regional State

DAC consultation: ReDSS has conducted DAC consultations in refugee-hosting areas in the Fafan zone. The consultations were conducted in Awbare, Kebribeyah and Shedder on June 10-15, 2022. DAC representatives explored ways to improve social cohesion among communities- including hosts, refugees, and the IDPs- to promote peaceful co-existence. In addition, DAC representatives also presented their plans, priorities, gaps and ways to collaborate during these consultations. 

Various images from the sessions held in Somali Regional State

Somali Regional State (SRS) Woreda CRRF Coordination Meeting: ReDSS co-facilitated a Somali Regional State CRRF coordination meeting on 30th March 2022 at Kebribeyah. CRRF stakeholders and partners attended the meeting. The main issues discussed include capacity building, education, challenges in 2021 and the way forward in 2022.

Operational and Staffing Updates
Mid-year reflection- six months into 2022, ReDSS conducted an internal reflection session on 15th June. It reflected on its workplan and evaluated its progress. ReDSS Ethiopia's workplan was revised to adapt to the delays. 

NCE approved: the EUTF project which ReDSS is implementing was to end in July 2022. However, the donor approved the request for a no-cost extension till the end of this year.

Getachew Desale is ReDSS Ethiopia's new Program Support Specialist. He started work in March 2022. Getachew can be reached at g.nigusie@regionaldss.org  / +251913269790.

The ReDSS Ethiopia Policy and Learning Coordinator resigned from her post at the end of May 2022, and recruitment for a replacement is being finalized.
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Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat hosted at the Danish Refugee Council East Africa & Yemen
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ReDSS · 14762 · Nairobi 00800 · Kenya