An estimated 5.2 to 6 million internally displaced persons, one fifth of the global population of internally displaced persons, are found in the IGAD region where they face critical humanitarian, protection and reintegration needs. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and develop strategies for effectively addressing the crisis of internal displacement in the region.
The Brookings Institution-Johns Hopkins SAIS Project and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ IDP Unit have collaborated with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) — a regional organization in East Africa comprising the countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda — to convene IGAD’s first conference on the issue of internal displacement. The conference, convened from 30 August – 2 September 2003, was hosted by the Government of Sudan in Khartoum.
The conference began with a three-day meeting of experts from the governments from all seven IGAD member states, local and international non-governmental organizations, internally displaced persons, the African Union, UN and other international organizations, research institutions, and donors. Among the recommendations agreed at the experts meeting were: (1) the development by IGAD member states of comprehensive national policies on internal displacement using the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement as a reference; (2) the development of regional strategies for internal displacement and related issues, such as small arms proliferation and cross-border cattle rustling, and; (3) the creation of a unit within the IGAD Secretariat to focus on issues of forced displacement in the sub-region, including internally displaced persons.
The conference culminated in a ministerial meeting which, in addition to adopting the recommendations of the experts meeting, also issued the Khartoum Declaration on Internally Displaced Persons in the IGAD Sub-Region, which sets out a number of concrete steps for IGAD and its member states to take to address internal displacement. The Declaration takes note of the Guiding Principles “as a useful tool for developing and evaluating national policies and legislation on internal displacement,” noting also that the Guiding Principles “compile the existing international law related to internal displacement.” It also echoes the experts meeting’s call for the establishment of a unit on forced displacement within the IGAD Secretariat, which would be tasked to collect data on displacement in the sub-region, disseminate the Guiding Principles, provide technical assistance to member states, and explore further sub-regional cooperation on displacement issues.
This publication contains the report of the conference and related documents as well as the Khartoum Declaration on Internally Displaced Persons in the IGAD Sub-Region adopted by IGAD Ministers.