Joint article of the Foreign Ministers Brende (Norway), Gabriel (Germany) and Onyeama (Nigeria) as well as the UN-Emergency Relief Coordinator O'Brian on ocassion of the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, published in the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper, 24 February 2017
One of the largest humanitarian crises of today is currently unfolding in North-Eastern Nigeria and neighboring regions of Niger, Chad and Cameroon. The brutal violence of Boko Haram has raged for years, terrorizing people, forcing millions to flee their homes, as well as in some cases their countries, and disrupting local economies. As more areas are becoming accessible for humanitarian organisations, the full scale of the suffering of the people is being revealed. In Nigeria alone, 26 million people live in the affected areas. 11 million people in the region rely on humanitarian assistance and among them more than 7 million people are in need of urgent food assistance. These numbers represent millions of individual tragedies. Women, men, girls and boys, elderly people, young people and infants require assistance to survive. The United Nations estimates that more than 1.5 billion USD is required for 2017 alone to support the most vulnerable people in this region.
Norway, Nigeria, Germany and the United Nations have invited representatives of the international community to Oslo on 24 February to raise funds and pledge our support to the people affected by this crisis. Jointly we want to raise the awareness of this humanitarian crisis and call for urgent action. We must provide food to those in need. We must provide learning opportunities for millions of children and the youth who have been deprived of education. We must increase our protection of the most vulnerable - especially women and children - and ensure access for those most in need to receive humanitarian assistance. In addition to providing urgent humanitarian response, it is important to address the root causes and break the cycle of terror, fragility, displacement, poverty and development deficits. We must do more in the area of prevention and stabilization to set the conditions for political solutions. Without stability and development, human suffering will not come to an end.
Last year, the humanitarian community came together with affected governments, civil society, development actors, donors, and private sector representatives at the World Humanitarian Summit and committed itself to a ‘New Way of Working’ to strengthen the way we assist people in need, including by helping them to become more self-reliant in the long term. Many donors and humanitarian organisations also signed on to the Grand Bargain to provide this assistance more effectively and efficiently. In this spirit, we aim to build bridges at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference. We aim to strengthen local actors and the ownership of the governments in the response and recovery phase.
While preparing for this important conference, we are also mindful of the grave humanitarian situation in other parts of Africa. Displacement continues to rise in some regions of Africa as a result of armed conflicts and severe drought. Together, we must increase our efforts to end this spiral. The Oslo Humanitarian Conference offers an opportunity to save lives and support millions of people in need in North-East Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region. Let us all seize this opportunity.
Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs , Norway
Sigmar Gabriel, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Germany
Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria
Stephen O’Brien, Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations