- Pledges of US$458 million for 2017 and $214 million for 2018 and beyond announced by 14 donors
- The conference gave voice to people affected by the conflict and crisis
- Agreement to address longer-term development needs and seek durable solutions to crises
Some 170 representatives from 40 countries, UN, regional organisations and civil society organisations gathered at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region today. The conference was co-hosted by Norway, Nigeria, Germany and the UN and followed a civil society meeting with large participation from local organisations working in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
One of the world’s largest humanitarian crises is currently unfolding in the Lake Chad region with 17 million people living in the most affected areas. Nearly 11 million people urgently need humanitarian assistance. At the conference, 14 donors pledged $458 million for relief in 2017 and an additional $214 million was announced for 2018 and beyond. Pledges were announced by the European Commission, Norway, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Italy, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Republic of Korea.
Humanitarian partners agreed to further scale up their response to reach the most vulnerable groups threatened by famine, including children with severe acute malnutrition. Special attention was given to the protection needs of women, children and youth, as well as the need for longer-term support and durable solutions for the displaced populations.
At the conference, UN Humanitarian Chief O'Brien also launched the Nigeria Humanitarian Fund to support life-saving operations in the North-East. "This fund will enable donors to pool their contributions to deliver a more effective, collective and immediate response and I have encouraged all donors to support this initiative", ERC O'Brien said. "I am deeply grateful to those who have already so committed. What lies behind this is that catastrophes such as a famine can be averted now if we step up in a timely, sufficiently advanced manner."
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The humanitarian appeal requested US$1.5 billion for the Lake Chad Basin region in 2017. "In one morning, we have raised a third of that", ERC O'Brien said. "That is genuine success for 2017. [...] I am deeply grateful for the support. We have the ability therefore to deliver on a plan, and to step up. We are ready, we need the finance, and I am delighted that as finances are coming in, we can save lives."
Foreign Minister Børge Brende of Norway said:
“The conference has helped raising awareness and increased support for millions of people affected by this crisis, not least for the many children and young people who are currently out of school. It is crucial to provide and protect education to safeguard their rights and pave the way for a peaceful development in the region. Our goal must be to ensure quality education for all, for girls as much as for boys. It is of critical importance also to enhance the protection of women and girls, who often carry the main burden of crisis and conflict, and ensure that women are involved in ongoing processes related to peace and development in the region.”
The Foreign minister of Nigeria, Geoffrey Onyeama, said:
“Nigeria is suffering from violent extremism at the same time as it is dealing with low oil prices and an economic recession. While the Government is committing significant budgetary allocations to confront the security and humanitarian situation arising from the insurgency, we also need all the help and support we can get from the international community.”
The Foreign Minister of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel, said:
“With today’s pledges, humanitarian agencies can now concentrate on their work – to save lives and offer help to those in urgent need. Germany contributes 120 million Euro over the course of the next three years to those efforts. We will provide 100 million Euro for humanitarian assistance and 20 million Euro for stabilization efforts in the region. In the long run, we have to strengthen our partnership with the countries involved to address the root causes of terror, displacement and poverty. For that purpose, we established today a Consultative Group on Prevention and Stabilisation with our counterparts from the region.”
United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said:
“The humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Region is truly massive with a staggering 10.7 million people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. Without our increased support, affected communities will face a life of hunger, disease, gender-based violence and continued displacement. But there is another future within grasp: as the international community scales up support, we can stop a further descent into an ever-deepening crisis with unimaginable consequences for millions of people. I am grateful for the generous support to humanitarian action we have heard this morning. The UN and our partners are ready and mobilised to further scale up our life-saving response - the people in the region have no time to wait.”