Nigeria, Germany, Norway and the United Nations have converged on Berlin on Monday for a “pledging conference on Boko Haram”.
The Berlin Conference, holding from September 3 to 4, is jointly organised by the three countries and the UN, and is one of the 2018 largest pledging conferences for the Lake Chad region.
The conference will focus on humanitarian assistance, civilian protection, crisis prevention and stabilisation for the region, as well as seek to raise funds for the humanitarian requirements totaling $1.56 billion.
The pledges at the conference would help provide humanitarian assistance for the North East Nigeria and parts of Niger, Chad and Cameroon, ravaged by Boko Haram insurgents.
It would also discuss the perspectives of civil society, their concerns and contributions, as well as how to strengthen collaboration between the affected countries and organisations involved in responding to the crisis.
The Nigerian delegation to the Berlin conference is being led by Nigeria’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the UN, Prof. Tijjani Bande.
The Nigerian envoy said recently that Nigeria had developed a $6.7 billion robust plan of action for the reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement of the North East, devastated by Boko Haram activities.
Bande said: “The Berlin Conference on the Lake Chad has been slated for the first week of September 2018 and would build substantially on the outcome of the February 2017 Oslo Donors Conference on the Lake Chad.
“I would like to take this opportunity to call on all stakeholders to redouble efforts and commitment towards making the coming Berlin Conference on the Lake Chad of September 3 to 4, 2018, a watershed.
“This is in our collective resolve to further mobilise resources and demonstrate implicit commitment to plans that will ensure moving quickly beyond the immediate humanitarian needs, to concrete sustainable developmental projects capable of substantially elevating the lives of the majority of people in the region.”
The Nigerian envoy stressed the need for collaboration and cooperation among countries of the Lake Chad, the donors, as well as humanitarian and development partners.
According to Bande, collaboration between the humanitarian and development agencies has gained traction at the UN in recent times, such that the involvement of national governments is needed to make it work.
He said the protracted humanitarian and development challenges in the Lake Chad region had placed enormous responsibilities on all to remain engaged in discussion aimed at scaling up national, regional and global responses to the crisis.
The Envoy emphasised that these responses needed to be bolstered by strengthened coordination at the UN level to ensure a more synergised delivery of assistance.
He said: “Let me emphasise that the recharge of the Lake Chad Basin, capacity building, and restoration of livelihood, through facilitation of occupational opportunities, job creation, skill acquisition and others, are central to finding lasting solution to the problem in the region.
“To realise all these would entail our collective commitment to a broad range of actions, facilitated by strong international cooperation and partnership, involving the UN agencies and development partners, like the World Bank and African Development Bank, among others.”
The UN had also said that it would have provided assistance to no fewer than 6.1 million people affected by the Boko Haram crisis in North East Nigeria by the end of 2018.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria, Edward Kallon, said at a recent event in New York that Nigeria was still facing a crisis of global magnitude.
Kallon said: “The figures are alarming – 10.2 million people affected in three states in Northeast Nigeria, 7.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.
“Our 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan was developed to provide assistance for 6.1 million people requiring slightly above a billion dollars in 2018.”