Saturday, September 23, 2023
NewsUN's $2.4bln peace rebirth plan for Ethiopia's ravaged north takes flight

UN’s $2.4bln peace rebirth plan for Ethiopia’s ravaged north takes flight

A consortium of United Nations agencies is gearing up to embark on a USD 2.4 billion peace dividend program through a 24-month project in the war-torn regions of northern Ethiopia.

Planned to operate within a resilient, recovery and reconstruction (RRR) framework, the UN is integrating 18 of its agencies, coordinated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The war-affected regions that will be the focus of the UN’s new project are Tigray, Afar and Amhara.

Speaking at a panel to introduce the Ethiopia Recovery and Reconstruction Programs to donors and development partners, the UNDP resident representative in Ethiopia revealed that the UN has prepared a 24-month support proposal within the RRR framework.

“It is not a separate effort. It is to provide an option and move quickly to deliver a peace dividend in northern Ethiopia,” the representative Turhan Saleh told the attendants last Monday, June 12, 2023.

Calling it “stabilization support for peace,” the new approach for peacebuilding will provide short-term solutions that are “accelerators towards long-term reconstruction,” according to Saleh.

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Reasoning that an early peacebuilding program is crucial for the complete success of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (COHA) between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the UN agencies have designed a financial framework to source the funds.

The Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Addis Ababa wrote to The Reporter that the 18 UN agencies/entities coordinated by UNDP came up with a proposal that “aims to deliver a peace dividend in northern Ethiopia in six key areas.”

The selected areas are where governance, social and economic recoveries, as well as demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants will mainly take place.

In an email response to The Reporter, the Coordinator’s office said that the UN agencies are already beginning to support the three conflict-affected regions while also “in discussion with the federal government on the next stages.”

In a meeting between UN agencies and the cabinet of the Tigray Interim Administration early May 2023 in Mekelle, Saleh had told the cabinet members about the cost for its 24-month project in three regions.

“Tigray, having the largest element of focus for very clear reasons, the cost [for three regions] is about USD 2.3 billion,” he said.

Saleh had told the cabinet members that the UN is in the process of mobilizing resources to start the peace support process, which includes demobilization, an expensive activity. “We understand it is incredibly urgent and we are trying to convey the sense of urgency to our partners,” he said.

At the conference this week, the UNDP representative said the main idea of this project is to provide “a quick injection of benefits that the population can see” for efforts to go beyond humanitarian. “The clock is ticking and we need to move,” he said in the panel discussion.

Prepared by the Ministry of Finance, the conference to introduce the Ethiopia Recovery and Reconstruction Program took place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel earlier this week in the presence of several regional presidents, concerned ministry offices and partners of the federal government.

To sustain the USD 28.7 billion in material and economic damage caused by conflicts in six regions over five years, the government revealed that USD 20 billion is required for the five-year recovery and reconstruction program.

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