The 4th Project Steering Committee Meeting of “Sustainable Reintegration Support to Ethiopian Returnees from Europe and Support to Vulnerable Displaced Populations Affected by COVID-19’’ has taken place on 14 September 2021 in Addis Ababa.

European Countries and European Union Affairs Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr Genet Teshome highlighted on the renewed commitment of policymakers both in Ethiopia and Europe to deal with return and sustainable reintegration of migrants.

Director General of Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs Ato Tesfahun Gobezay reckoned that the meeting was convened at a high time when forced return has become a burning issue in Ethiopia. Ato Tesfahun recalled that Ethiopia is receiving large number of forced returnees, primarily from Saudi Arabia, which requires stakeholders to engage in a proactive and coordinated response to ensure their sustainable reintegration.

Head of Cooperation in the EUD to Ethiopia Mr Stefan Lock acknowledged ARRA’s commitment to strengthen returnee reintegration and called on the need for further coordination and make reintegration sustainable.

The meeting reviewed and approved the minute of the previous meeting and heard a report on project implementation status followed by a brief update on matters finance. The participants reflected on achievements and challenges and outlined plans for the next season. The attendees also discussed ways to boost partnership and ensure sustainable reintegration of returnees.

Video clips that demonstrate returnee’s business engagement and selected message of media coverage on manuals’ Training of Trainers Workshop were premiered.

Training manuals reviewed and developed with the financial support of the European Union through ARRA were handed over to Federal Urban Job Creation and Food Security Agency and Federal Technical and Vocational Educational Training Agency.

The meeting then entertained comments, suggestions, questions and responses. Among the commentaries were words of praise that laud ARRA for having gone a relatively fair distance in owning the business of returnee reintegration.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs, the EU Delegation to Ethiopia, Federal Attorney General, Immigration, Nationality and Vital Events Agency, Federal Urban Job Creation and Food Security Agency, Federal Technical and Vocational Educational Training Agency and National Disaster Risk Management Commission were in attendance to the meeting. Agar Ethiopia, FAG-NPC Secretariat, the embassies of Norway and Switzerland plus IOM and ILO were also part of the meeting.