As a Mayor and Governor of this great city of Mogadishu, it’s my privilege and pleasure to welcome you this very important event that we are launching the Durable Solutions Unit (DSU).
We are delighted to have you with us and your participation shows your commitment and determination to help us find a durable solutions to the issues surrounding Internally Displaced People (IDPs).
Last month, I attended the eleventh UNHCR High Commissioner’s dialogue on protection challenges in Geneva, The two days of discussions were dedicated to the protection and assistance of refugees, IDPs and stateless persons in urban settings, with a particular focus on cities. We are very glad that the UNHCR understands the importance role on local authorities, making city administrations and mayors some of the most important stakeholders in the delivery of protection and assistance in urban spaces.
First of all, Benadir Regional Administration hugely welcomes The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), which was affirmed by the UN General Assembly on 17 December 2018, that provides mechanisms for the engagement of a wide range of stakeholders in refugee response, including cities and local authorities.
As you are all aware, Mogadishu was once referred to as the Riviera of Africa, and as the White pearl of the Indian Ocean. As Mayor & Governor it is my responsibility to ensure the city once again regains its beauty and glory by enhancing economic opportunities, delivering basic services, improving security and safeguarding the rights of all residents, while overcoming the enormous challenges in a post conflict environment such as lack of infrastructure, lack of job opportunities for youth, security threats from terrorists. Mogadishu faces the unique challenges that no other city around the globe faces, which requires a global and collective approach from all stakeholders.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The crisis of IDPs is affecting the whole country but, Mogadishu is especially affected. Out of the 2.1million displaced all over Somalia, over 500,000 are in Mogadishu alone.
It is of particular concern to us that large numbers of returnees are now becoming IDPs themselves due to the lack of integrated services available to them. The responsibility to respond to their needs is a collective one. Our solidarity must continue to be tangible and affective.
With funding and support from International donors we are leading a project that aims to support the voluntary return, re-integration and protection of the displaced into stable regions within Mogadishu and the federal states by improving the protection of the displaced population through rights-based, sustainable and durable solutions.
Nevertheless, our collective support must get stronger!
We at the Banadir Regional Administration understand that this cannot go on. Therefore, we must define and lead our own solutions in addressing displacement with the support of the Federal Government alongside our International partners.
Our vision is to ensure that all displaced people have access to secure housing and land tenure, employment, critical infrastructure such as schools and hospitals where they live. We Somalis must do more to take ownership and lead to finding a solution to our own IDPs.
Mogadishu today is the second fastest growing city in the world on the other hand we shouldn’t forget the mass depravation and lack of social justice that has necessitated the surge over the last 30 years.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Durable Solutions Unit Launch this morning is incredibly important for several reasons, it means that we are taking leadership in slowly phasing out displacement in a socially just and dignified way. The Durable Solutions Unit’s primary role is to function as policy development, service mainstreaming, advocacy and coordination office for displacement affected communities within the administration.
I have recently signed and approved the IDP policy that will guide my administration through a collaboration with the federal government and international partners in ensuring my vision of finding a durable and socially just solution is achieved by 2023. The IDP and returnees’ policy is specific to Banaadir Region and recognizes and is informed by ongoing efforts to adopt a Somali National IDP policy. My administration has a vision to see those displaced have secure land tenure and housing with legal protection and the re-integration of those displaced into the wider city. For the last 6 months or so we held a wide consultation with all key stakeholders including IDPs and all their comments and feedback has formed the policy.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
With highly skilled and competent staff at the DSU and leadership led by Dr. Hodan Ali, I am convinced the team is ready to work on the main goal which is to identify why displacement is protracted in Mogadishu and reverse the trend of displacement by;
1) Establishing robust institutional capacity;
2) durable solutions coordination platform and;
3) Embedding rights-based policies and procedures.
The Durable Solution Unit will support our goals through the following objectives:
Continue to support and facilitate ongoing humanitarian response
Improve their living standards, including at minimum access to adequate housing, economic empowerment, essential services, health care and basic education.
Ensure safety, security and freedom of movement
Increase access to employment and livelihoods
Increase access to effective mechanisms to restore their housing, land and property for them with compensation.
We reiterate the importance of a strong collaborative partnership among all stakeholders to a more sustainable model. We want the private sectors to be fully engaged in investing in low income housing. I am very pleased that Chamber of Commerce and civil society groups are present here today. In fact, this March we are hosting a housing symposium where experts will share practical solutions to end protracted displacement in Mogadishu.
Furthermore, we have increased our capacity in urban planning and engineering to look at the technical aspects of sustainable housing models and the infrastructures needed in the city. That is inclusive, socially just and suitable for displaced communities.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Eliminating displacement crises through investment in long-term resilience solutions along with partners and regional FMS for voluntary returns is central to BRA’s durable solutions strategy. By aligning with NDP, the RRF and DINA frameworks, both federal and local governments can ensure that available resources are being used effectively to address needs in both the short-medium-long term plan.
As the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu can become a model for the country as we want to promote an inclusive progressive agenda to deal with displacement. BRA believes integrating IDPs into the fabric of society, seeing IDPs as contributing members of the region that bring income and resources both formally and informally will yield both positive economic, social and political cohesion and improve overall security of the city.
Finally, on behalf of the people of the capital city of Mogadishu, I thank you all for participating this very important DSU launch and I hope that we all continue to be strong partners for the Somali people. Together we seek to ensure ALL persons enjoy the right to life liberty and economic security.