The United Nations and hosts of Friday’s Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region have expressed appreciation to donors for their pledges aimed at addressing the humanitarian crisis brought about by years of Boko Haram activities.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that donors pledged more than 670 million U.S. dollars at the UN-backed conference, hosted by Norway in conjunction with Nigeria and Germany to support aid operations in the region.
NAN also reports that at the conference, 14 donors pledged 458 million U.S. dollars for relief operations in 2017 and an additional 214 million U.S. dollars was announced for 2018 and beyond.
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcomed the pledges and stressed the need for sustained support to humanitarian, human rights, development and security needs in the region.
Expressing appreciation for the contributions, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, said apart from devastation left by the Boko Haram terrorism, the region is also threatened by famine, with children at high risk of severe acute malnutrition.
“The resources pledged at the conference will help scale up responses to reach the most vulnerable people with a special attention focused on the protection needs of women, children and youth, as well as the need for longer-term support and durable solutions for the displaced populations.
“Without increased support, affected communities will face a life of hunger, disease, gender-based violence and continued displacement.
“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,” O’Brien said.
He added that 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”.
“It is of critical importance also to enhance the protection of women and girls and ensure that women are involved in processes related to peace and development in the region, Borge Brende, Foreign Minister of Norway, also stressed at the conference.
“With today’s pledges, humanitarians can now concentrate on saving lives and help those in urgent need.
“In the long run, we have to strengthen our partnership with the countries involved to address the root causes of terror, displacement and poverty, Sigmar Gabriel, Foreign Minister of Germany, said.
NAN reports that Nigeria’s delegation at the conference was led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.
The conference witnessed the participation of no fewer than 170 representatives from 40 countries, UN, regional and civil society organisations.
It 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.
Stephane Dujarric, the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, said the 672 million U.S. dollars pledges has narrowed the one billion U.S. dollars humanitarian funding appeal launched for Nigeria’s Northeast for 2017, which is being revised to about 1.5 billion dollars.
“We’ve now gotten some pledges in Oslo which obviously cover part of what we talked about earlier this week which does cover northeast Nigeria,” Mr. Dujarric said. (NAN)