Germany, Nigeria, Norway and the United Nations hosted the High-Level Conference on the Lake Chad Region which brought together 27 nations, 24 regional and international organizations and representatives of national and international civil society. We convened to recommit to work together to address the humanitarian needs and build the resilience of the over 17 million people still affected by the regional crisis and to identify ways of strengthening the collective response. The conference noted the progress made since the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on scaling up humanitarian assistance, crisis prevention and stabilization, and development cooperation. In total, announcements of financial support, including multi-year, surpassed US$ 2.17 billion in grants in addition to US$ 467 million in concessional loans.
The conference was a success – stakeholders working on humanitarian assistance, crisis prevention and stabilization, and development came together to identify shared challenges and opportunities. The conference highlighted the added value of bringing together a range of stakeholders and taking a multi-dimensional approach to the crisis. Discussions throughout the two days underlined the regional dimension of the crisis that transcends national borders. The participation of all affected countries, particularly by the governors and civil society representatives, was key to ground the discussions in the reality of the everyday experience of people affected by the crisis. In this regard, the conference underscored the importance of a people-centered approach, building on the capacities of individuals and communities, in shaping responses across all pillars.
Conference participants agreed that addressing the challenges in the Lake Chad region in a sustainable way requires a coherent and multi-year approach. The three high-level panel discussions recognized that actors in the humanitarian, stabilization and crisis prevention, and sustainable development spheres have distinct but complementary roles to play to address needs, strengthen the resilience of affected populations and countries, and work towards the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution on the situation in the Lake Chad region 2349 (2017) based on their respective mandates.
Principled humanitarian action is necessary to respond to urgent needs with life-saving assistance and will continue to be required in the short- and medium-term despite improvements. We emphasized that it is the responsibility of all parties to the armed conflict to protect civilians and ensure safe, timely and unhindered humanitarian access to people in need in accordance with international humanitarian law.
Actors in the region have already started a process of cross-border cooperation to help resolve conflict, nurture reconciliation and address root causes of the conflict. We expressed strong support for these efforts and also noted the important contributions that can be made by regional organizations in working towards the stabilization of the region.
Strengthening resilience for sustainable development is essential for reducing vulnerabilities in the long term and efforts are already under way. We highlighted the leadership of governments in the region and the centrality of resilience-building measures at all levels.
The conference stressed that the crisis disproportionately affects women and girls and underlined the importance of strengthening protection in interventions, in particular the need for enhanced protection against gender-based violence and welcomed the north-east Nigeria Call to Action road map.