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The following statement was issued on 23 October 2019 by UN Secretary‑General António Guterres. Statement first published on the UN website. Photo © IOM/Amanda Nero.
Today marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa. Widely known as the Kampala Convention, this seminal treaty is the first and only continent‑wide, legally binding instrument for the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons.
The adoption of the Convention represented an important milestone in Africa’s efforts to address internal displacement and demonstrated the African Union leadership role in developing standards on internal displacement. I also commend its commitment to advance the rights and well‑being of people uprooted within their own countries.
But worldwide, the number of internally displaced persons has continued to grow in recent years, with more than 41 million uprooted by the end of 2018 as a result of armed conflict and violence. Millions more become internally displaced every year due to natural disasters. Internally displaced persons are among the most vulnerable and face a variety of risks to their lives, health and well‑being. And ever more people are displaced for longer periods of time, undermining the efforts of affected countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
It is for this reason that I am pleased to announce today the establishment of a High‑Level Panel on Internal Displacement to focus on finding solutions to internal displacement situations and alleviating the impact on millions of affected people. The High‑Level Panel will work to increase global attention on and support for displaced persons, while developing concrete recommendations for Member States, the United Nations system and other relevant stakeholders to improve the approach and response to the issue, with a particular focus on durable solutions.
I will announce the composition of the High‑Level Panel shortly. I expect the Panel to begin its deliberations in early 2020 and to submit recommendations to me within a year of its first meeting.