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Working together for peace and stability: Overcoming crises through cooperation

Refugees arriving in Chad at the border with Nigeria.

Refugees arriving in Chad at the border with Nigeria., © UNHCR/Aristophane Ngargoune

19.09.2019 - Article

Be it UN-led peace missions or joint local projects in the Lake Chad region: only close multilateral cooperation can resolve crises.

From crisis prevention to emergency humanitarian assistance to institution-building: German engagement in crisis contexts kicks in at various stages of conflicts around the world. No matter what stage a crisis is at, one thing is true: it can only be overcome if countries work together.

Lake Chad: Working together on the ground to resolve the crisis

The situation in the Lake Chad region makes clear just how important multilateral cooperation is in various conflict phases. Lake Chad is bordered by Nigeria, the Niger, Chad and Cameroon. For more than ten years now, this region in Central Africa has been the scene of one of the world’s most complex crises. Repeated droughts have caused dramatic food scarcity. Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorism has killed over 35,000 people and displaced almost two and a half million women, men and children. More than 10 million people depend on aid for their survival.

Germany not only provides humanitarian assistance in the region, but also supports multilateral and regional crisis management approaches. Because the crisis can only be resolved by countries acting together, on the spot. That is why, as co-chair of the Consultative Group on Prevention and Stabilisation in the Lake Chad Region, Germany helps local stakeholders to develop regional approaches. One product of these multilateral efforts is the regional strategy for stabilisation, reconstruction and resilience in the regions affected by Boko Haram. This strategy was adopted jointly by the Lake Chad Basin Commission and the African Union – an example of successful multilateral cooperation.

UN peace missions and the Peacebuilding Fund

#MultilateralismMatters
#MultilateralismMatters© AA

Cooperation for peace and stability plays a central role in the UN framework, too: peace missions like those in Mali and the Congo see people from many different nations working hand in hand to help build peace and security.

The Federal Government has contributed just under 140 million US dollars from Federal Foreign Office funds to the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF) since its creation in 2006, making it the third-largest donor to the PBF behind the UK and Sweden. The PBF provides fast funding for peaceful conflict management in fragile and post-conflict states, particularly in countries which are not the focus of international attention but which require rapid investment, often involving risk.

Recognising crises before they break out

Crisis prevention is becoming ever more important these days. The aim is to prevent crises before they erupt. The existing and future dangers of climate change, the ensuing increase in natural disasters and the growing complexity of crisis situations are posing challenges for the international humanitarian system that can only be managed through multilateral engagement.

Cooperating closely with its humanitarian partner organisations and coordinating intensively with other humanitarian donors, the Federal Foreign Office therefore calls for and supports a form of humanitarian assistance that goes beyond mere crisis and disaster response to recognise warning signs at an early stage and, ideally, prevent the outbreak of a crisis. The hope is that the humanitarian impact of crises and disasters can be minimised from the outset.

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