Co-chairs statement issued on behalf of: Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Mark Lowcock; European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, H.E. Mr. Christos Stylianides; and African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs, H.E. Ms. Minata Samate Cessouma.
On 21 September, we hosted the “Ministerial Roundtable on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region”, which placed the spotlight on one of the world’s forgotten crises, bringing together representatives of Member States, regional organizations, UN agencies and civil society. The event built on the outcomes of the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region held in February 2017, providing a platform for exchanges on the way forward.
The humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Region is one of the most severe in the world, with 10.9 million people in need of humanitarian assistance across parts of Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger, following eight years of violence and conflict. For many of the affected people, protection, safety and security are the immediate priorities, amid very high levels of sexual and gender-based violence and sexual exploitation and abuse.
We agreed that significant progress has been made in reaching people in humanitarian need across the Lake Chad Basin. The humanitarian response in 2017 has been effective, scaling up to reach millions of people and saving many lives. We also recognized the bravery and dedication of aid workers in the field, often working in very difficult conditions.
At the same time, we noted that the gains are fragile and that needs will remain high into 2018 and beyond. Further efforts by aid organisations to reach all those in need, including in hard-to-reach areas through effective coordination and response planning will be essential. Therefore, sustained donor support is required.
We recognized that donors have demonstrated increased political and financial commitment to addressing the crisis, contributing over $700 million for the humanitarian response in the Lake Chad Region in 2017. The four Humanitarian Country Teams have come together to prioritize interventions for the rest of the year, and their revised regional appeal for US$661 million until the end of December 2017 was shared at today’s event. During the meeting, Denmark, Japan and the Netherlands pledged new funding of $9.8 million.
To prevent the crisis from growing, a collective effort is required, including an increased role for the international financial institutions and the private sector. We agreed that governments have the primary responsibility to meet the needs of their own populations and that international assistance is necessary to complement these efforts.
We noted the vital contributions by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for the humanitarian response in the Lake Chad Region, which amount to over $150 million since 2015, as well as the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund, which was launched in February 2017 and has already received almost $25 million in support of the highest priority components of the Nigeria Humanitarian Response Plan.
We agreed that we must also invest now in more durable development solutions to address the underlying causes of the crisis, while sustaining humanitarian efforts. We encouraged the governments in the Lake Chad Region to continue to lead on recovery and longer-term development, and urged the international community to provide sustained support, politically and financially.
The event, which was also featured remarks by Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, demonstrated that the Lake Chad Region is strategically important. The future stability of the region or its people matters to all of us. Humanitarian assistance, early recovery and longerterm development assistance must proceed in parallel, as a balanced approach across all pillars is the only way to sustainably alleviate the suffering of people in need.