Environmental Best Practices in UNHCR - Western Ethiopia

Supporting livelihood security in refugee-hosting areas, Western Ethiopia

Project dates: April 2008 - December 2008 has hosted refugees from many of its neighbouring countries for more than four decades. The impact of such a large number of people - at its climax in 1985 numbering some 1.1 million refugees - cannot be underestimated.

Settling so many people, often in fragile ecological settings, has had a considerable impact not only on the physical environment, but also on the affected region's social and economic fabric.

Starting in January 2005, with an improvement of the security situation in the Sudan, and the resultant signing of a peace agreement, prospects increased for the return of refugees settled in the five camps in western Ethiopia. These prospects have now turned to a reality and an active process of repatriation is now underway.

ProAct Network, together with IUCN, is supporting the Government of Ethiopia, UNHCR and the UN Country Team with the development of a programme that ensures that camp closure is completed in a timely and efficient manner, with appropriate hand-over of facilities and programmes to local authorities and communities.

This programme also ensures that appropriate measures are taken to restore the physical environment in and around these refugee-hosting areas, with a view to enhancing the livelihood security of local people or others (possibly internally displaced persons) who may move into the area and benefit from the remaining infrastructure and services.

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