UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Mr. Valentin Tapsoba, arrives in Zambia on Sunday 14 November 2021 for a ten-day official visit.
Mr. Tapsoba, who oversees UNHCR’s Southern Africa operations covering 16 countries, is scheduled to hold consultative meetings with senior government officials, members of the Diplomatic Corps, UN agencies and other key stakeholders.
Under discussion will be various cross-cutting issues related to policy, funding, and the implementation of the refugee programme in Zambia.
The Regional Director will also visit some of the settlements to engage with refugees and other persons of concern. He will also have discussions with the local authorities and UNHCR partners on the key achievements and to some extent, the challenges they encounter in providing protection, assistance and durable solutions.
The visit will also be an opportunity for the Regional Director to assess progress made towards the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees, a programme designed to involve refugees and hosting communities in social protection such as livelihood projects geared to equip them with skills and the means for greater self-reliance.
The Regional Director’s visit comes at a crucial time when the Government of Zambia and UNHCR are vigorously pursuing the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) as well as mobilising development actors and the private sector to bring lasting interventions to refugee hosting districts.
The programme is anchored on the premise that through productive partnerships and by engaging various stakeholders, protection and support to refugees is a shared responsibility.
UNHCR’s country Representative, Ms Pierrine Aylara, has described the Regional Director’s visit as a sign of UNHCR’s appreciation for Zambia’s long standing, commendable record in hosting refugees and helping them enjoy the most favourable and sustainable solutions including local integration and voluntary repatriation.
Zambia currently hosts some 103,000 refugees and other persons of concern in three designated settlements, Meheba, Mantapala and Mayukwayukwa, Lusaka and across several provinces.
The UNHCR Regional Bureau for Southern Africa covers the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.