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Lake Chad Basin: Ministers, UNDP, Stakeholders Adopt Regional Strategy for Stabilizing Boko Haram Affected Communities

ABUJA (Sundiata Post) Ministers of member states of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, African Union and officials of UNDP have adopted the Regional Strategy for Stabilising Boko Haram affected communities.

This took place on Monday at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, and the key officials attending the Opening Ceremony of the experts’ meeting includes; Amb. Nuhu Mamman, the Executive Secretary, Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC); Amb. Hadiza Mustapha, Representative of the African Union (AU) Chairperson; Dr. Musa Ibrahim, Permanent Secretary of Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Nigeria; and Dr. Samuel Bwalya, Country Director, UNDP Nigeria.

The almost decade long Boko Haram insurgency has had a devastating impact on communities in countries within the Lake Chad Basin. On the recommendation of the First Conference on Regional Stabilization Strategy for the areas affected by Boko Haram insurgency that held in November 2017 in N’Djamena, Chad, a Regional Stabilisation, Resilience and Recovery strategy has been developed.

The strategy reflects the different levels of engagement, from community to regional, that will be critical in efforts aimed at pursuing the goal of stabilizing the region that has witnessed a crisis of global magnitude.
The Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and the African (AU), supported by UNDP, are hosting the Ministerial conference which is adopting the strategy. The Minister’s Conference, attended by up to ten ministers from Members States, will be preceded by experts’ meetings which will validate the draft strategy.

In his Key Note speech, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, and UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, congratulates the key partners for their leadership in the process and convening the Experts’ Meeting and the Ministerial Conference.

He said; ‘’these meetings are a critical stepping stone towards a resolution of the crisis around Lake Chad. For decades, the Lake Chad Basin has been plagued by underdevelopment, weak governance, low levels of education, and exclusion of women and youth in decision-making structures, and a myriad of environmental challenges that have been exacerbated by drastic climate change in recent times. As the Lake Chad water levels, which have historically provided a lifeline to millions in the sub-region, have diminished and become increasingly unpredictable, the prospects of supporting an ever-increasing population and demographic pressures have become even more challenging. These root causes underpin the general cycle of violence seen in the sub-region – both in terms of increased banditry and a resilient insurgency.

‘’The United Nations has been closely accompanying the relief and recovery efforts of national governments around Lake Chad in addressing the needs of those most affected by the crisis. In March 2017, the United Nations Security Council visited the four Member States around Lake Chad, and resultantly passed the UN Security Council Resolution 2349 (2017). UNSCR 2349 calls for regional organizations to develop a comprehensive strategy, that “effectively addresses the drivers that contributed to the emergence of Boko Haram and ISIL, with a particular focus on longer term development needs”. The transnational nature of the crisis demands a regional response that contributes to a holistic and integrated approach for partners to collectively work together to address the complex set of challenges that have resulted from decades of underdevelopment and violence.

‘’It is against this background that a regional approach has gradually evolved into what now is the regional strategy. Calls for a stronger regional response to the crisis could be heard both at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference in February 2017 and at the Senior Officials’ Meeting on Prevention and Stabilization in the Lake Chad Basin in September 2017. These calls were fully answered by the African Union Commission and the Lake Chad Basin Commission, who have convened a series of key meetings with stakeholders, beginning in November 2017, to help guide and lead the development of the strategy. Our being here today is a testament to the determination, commitment and success of this process.’’

The validation exercise will ensure that the draft strategy receives the required endorsement and adoption by the affected countries through their respective ministers, who are the 1st and 2nd Commissioners of LCBC member states.