Refugee local integration: Local governments as stakeholders in the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework in Uganda

In 2016, member states of the United Nations, by consensus, adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, in which they also agreed to the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). The framework, arguing for a multi-stakeholder inclusive approach that includes local authorities, was suggested to be a progressive step in establishing an international regime offering predictability in dealing with large scale refugee movements, placing focus on self-reliance, economic inclusion, and support for both refugee s and host communities. The CRRF was inserted in the Global Compact on Refugees adopted by UN General Assembly in December 2018.

This thesis sets out to enunciate the involvement of local governments as stakeholders in the CRRF and to explore the role of this stakeholder status in refugee local integration solutions, with Uganda as an exemplifying case of refugee hosting countries implementing the CCRF. As an entry point, the thesis posits the following research question: “As stakeholders in the comprehensive refugee response framework, what is the role of local governments in refugee local integration in Uganda?”. The thesis utilizes concepts including stakeholders, local government, decentralisation and integration to construct an analytical framework employed by the thesis.

The thesis claims that as stakeholders in the CRRF, local governments are relevant in enhancing refugee local integration, but this role can only be maximized if and when the decentralized functions and structures of local government are adequately utilised by other stakeholders in the CRRF including the central government and international community. Local governments, under the right circumstances, potentially play a role in ensuring host communities do not impede the enjoyment of refugee rights by mediating refugee-host community relations. But as it stands; the political, administrative, and fiscal functions of local government in Uganda are yet to be adequately harnessed by CRRF structures.