An overview of how the Global Compact on Refugees is being turned into action in Somalia.


An overview of how the Global Compact on Refugees is being turned into action in Somalia.
A man makes a wooden picture frame with a saw.

“I feel welcome back in Somalia. Getting career advice was the best thing that happened to me.” Somali returnee Mohamed (not his real name), started a picture-framing business after completing a three-month training programme.

Content of this page:
1. Description of the refugee situation
2. Somalia's response to the refugee situation
3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact


1. Description of the refugee situation

Where does the population of concern live?

Mostly in urban settings.

Population of concern category 



Refugees and Asylum Seekers 



Refugee-Returnees  Urban/rural  128,211 
IDPs  Urban/rural  2,648,000 

* as of September 2019.

Find live data, information and fact sheets on the refugee situation in Somalia on the UNHCR Operational Portal as well as Global Focus

2. Somalia's response to the refugee situation

An overview of how the Government has structured its ability to respond to the refugee situation, with the support of partners.

Implementation of the GCR in Somalia is rooted in the regional process led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Nairobi Declaration on Durable Solutions adopted on 25 March 2017 by the seven IGAD Member States - Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. The Nairobi Declaration and its accompanying Plan of Action proposes a comprehensive regional approach to find and deliver durable solutions for Somali refugees and to create an enabling environment for the reintegration of Somalis when they return home.  

As a further step to operationalise the Nairobi Declaration, a National Forum on Durable Solutions for Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons held in Mogadishu in August 2017 brought together central and regional government officials, resulting in a draft National Policy to support the roll-out of the Nairobi Declaration in Somalia. Following large-scale consultations involving partners and government offices, this National Policy – called “National Action Plan on Durable Solutions for Somali Returnees and IDPs 2018-2020” - was launched in March 2018 and continues to be the main framework for the implementation of the GCR in Somalia. 

Following its commitment in the Nairobi Declaration, the Federal Government of Somalia has developed additional legislation to strengthen the implementation of GCR/CRRF. These include the National Policy on Refugee-Returnees and IDPs, the Interim Protocol on Land Distribution for Housing to Eligible Refugee-Returnees and IDPs, and the Refugee Act 2019, which are in the final stages of enactment.  

Partners involved:


  • National Commission for Refugees and IDPs (NCRI) 

  • Ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs  

  • Ministry of Planning, Investment and Economic Development 

  • Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management 

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

  • Inter-Ministerial Durable Solutions Secretariat 

  • State Governments of Puntland, Somaliland, Jubaland, South West, Galmuduug, Hirshabelle and Benadir Regional Administration. 

  • UNHCR, UNICEF, UNDP, UN-HABITAT, ILO, WFP, IOM, UN Resident Coordinator’s Office  

  • International NGOs: NRC, DRC, ARC, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, GRT 

  • National NGOs: GCEBD, KAALO, PSA, Somalia NGO Consortium, SWDC, SSWC, DAN 

Which partnerships have been strengthened or have been made possible thanks to the implementation of the Global Compact of Refugees?

In line with one of the core premises of the GCR, the Federal Government of Somalia, the UN Country Team and key stakeholders have strengthened their collaboration and partnership through pillar working groups, a coordination mechanism led by the Government and co-chaired by humanitarian and development actors. In line with the new National Development Plan 2020-2024, the National Durable Solutions Secretariat was launched in October 2019 to replace the pillar working groups. It acts as a coordinator for all durable solutions initiatives in 2020 and beyond.  

In order to maximize resources available to address the significant recovery and humanitarian response that is needed to receive and sustainably reintegrate Somali returnees, partners have occasionally joined forces and pooled together their capacities and assets to implement joint programmes. 

Examples include: 


  • the UN Joint Midnimo Programme (led by UN HABITAT and IOM), intended to enhance local leadership capacities to facilitate sustainable returns, recovery, social integration and peaceful co-existence in Jubaland and South West States 

  • the EU Trust Fund’s “RE-INTEG programme, which seeks to enhance Somalia’s responsiveness to the management and reintegration of mixed migration flows”; and 

  • the Somalia Social Protection Programme (led by UNICEF, WFP and ILO). 

These projects are implemented through a range of NGO partners, state governments and municipal authorities. The results have been significant, including effective coordination, joint mobilisation of resources, and enabling a holistic approach to responses. The majority of these projects focus on returnees and IDPs, who are the largest group of persons of concern in Somalia; in parallel, the GCR has helped to bring the refugee response back into focus. 

3. Steps towards meeting the objectives of the Compact

Here’s a summary of how partnerships working in education, livelihoods, health and social inclusion have already transformed the lives of refugees and their hosts. 

Work towards achieving GCR objectives is still work in progress through the different legislations, processes and interventions. The foundations are in place to achieve this goal, through the commitments of the Government at federal and state levels and of humanitarian and development partners. 

The following describes achievements to date and some of the persisting challenges: 


  1. The inclusion of refugees, returnees and IDPs in public services has been a key consideration in the development of government policies, including in the National Development Plan and supportive legislations. Through these, all refugee children benefit from public education programmes across the country and in federal member states where the primary healthcare initiative is being implemented, all population groups access health services in the local communities. 

  2. The re-integration of returnees across the country is ongoing; efforts to this end are led by federal, regional and district authorities with support from humanitarian and development partners. Programmes to facilitate sustainable re-integration include the strengthening of institutions (law and order, documentation, land management, to name a few) and boosting access to basic services such as health, education and water. 

  3. Through tremendous donor support and good cooperation with the Government of Somalia at both federal and state levels, UN and NGO partners have been able to provide livelihood support to refugees and host communities. Progressive policies in some of Somalia’s states (e.g. the Puntland Refugee Protection Law of 2017) have enabled refugees’ access to the labour markets and have contributed to successful integration of refugees and asylum-seekers in the host communities. Interventions such as skills improvement, entrepreneurship and strengthening public-private partnerships have strengthened livelihoods and self-reliance opportunities for refugees, returnees, IDPs and the communities that host them. Despite these positive developments, lack of access in many hard-to-reach areas, limited information on opportunities and limited vocational skills training options continue to hinder the full achievement of self-reliance objectives for every individual.  

  4. The UN Country Team continues to support the Federal Government of Somalia in working towards the attainment of durable solutions for refugees, asylum-seekers, returnees and IDPs, working in close partnership with international and national actors. Through an integrated approach, protection and solutions considerations are injected into all engagements with a focus on inclusion, building the capacity of national institutions, and sustainable, long-term and multi-partner planning. However, significant challenges persist in areas that need continued support, especially access to enhanced complementary pathways. 

Pledges and contributions made by Somalia

Pledges and contributions dashboard  (interactive by Area of Focus)

This dashboard includes all pledges and contributions made towards the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees in Somalia, including national pledges made by the Government of Somalia itself.