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Somalia

Volume 707: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what policies they and the European Union have agreed concerning aid and development, including the return of refugees, in Somalia; and to what extent they reflect the views of Somali non-state actors. [HL1028]

The Department for International Development (DfID) works very closely with several European Union (EU) member states and the European Commission (EC) on Somalia within the context of the EU + Norway 2008-13 joint strategy paper (JSP). The objectives for this are Somali-owned reconciliation, democracy, rule of law and assisting the Somali people (particularly the most vulnerable groups) in the reconstruction of the country.

The joint strategy paper (JSP) is based on the United Nations (UN) and World Bank (WB) reconstruction and development programme (RDP). Somali non-state actors were consulted throughout the development of the JSP and RDP, and in some cases helped with the drafting. Discussions at EU Development Counsellor and Somali Donor Group meetings guide and decide development policy to Somalia.

Refugee flows out of Somalia increased during 2008 as a consequence of the surge in internal violence—there are now more than 230,000 in Kenya alone. The EC's humanitarian aid department (ECHO) has committed €4 million to Somali refugees in Kenya, and other donors have also provided funds. ECHO has also provided funds to assist Somali refugees in Yemen.

UNHCR is the major agency responsible for Somali refugees (and their return). The UK Government and other EU countries provide central funding to UNHCR. In 2009, UNHCR aims to protect and assist the return of an additional 500 refugees to Somaliland and Puntland—2,500 refugees have been previously returned. Should the security situation in south and central Somalia improve, some may be returned there.