Wednesday, January 25, 2017 7:16 pm
A multilateral conference to draw international attention and response to the plight of survivors of Boko Haram insurgency in Northeast Nigeria will hold in Oslo on Feb. 24, UN aid official, Mr Toby Lanzer, has said.
Lanzer told the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in New York that the Conference is being organised jointly by Nigeria, Norway and Germany with the support of the UN.
“We expect to bring together the international community at the conference in Oslo to take place on the 24th of February.
“Key member states of the United Nations will be included. Key organisations such as the Red Cross movement, non-governmental organisations and UN agencies would participate.
“The conference is really to shine the light on this terrible tragedy, which is unfolding before our eyes across the Northeast of Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.
“And we have to look for money, we are looking for money and I hope the Oslo event is a step that takes us much further in that direction.”
He regretted the destruction caused by the insurgency in the region, saying the UN in response to the situation, is also working very closely with the authorities of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger.
According to him, the UN agencies and non-governmental organisations are currently seeking over a billion dollars for humanitarian aid for the region in 2017.
“Yes, that’s a lot of money but when we compare the level of need, we believe that it is a very lean and efficient response to the very high level of suffering that is taking place across that region.
“But I say in the same breathe, no single government on earth could do what it takes to confront 7.1 million people who are severely food insecure.
“I think this is a clear case where there has to be international solidarity with the governments of the region.
“And that’s precisely why we would be under the auspices of Germany, Nigeria and Norway and the UN; we are inviting key Member States of the UN to Oslo on the 24th of February.”
The UN humanitarian official said the conference is an opportunity for the insurgency affected countries to once again, review and present the situation in the region to the participants.
“I think the Oslo Conference is really an opportunity for key member states and key organisations to get together and review the situation in the region.
“It is also an opportunity to listen to the Governments of Nigeria, of Niger, of Chad and of Cameroon and for all of these donor countries to, in a very concerted way, see what can be done.”
He said that in 2016, only about half of the humanitarian appeal fund – 52 per cent – was realised, saying that information about the total fund would be ready before the end of January.
“When you launch a humanitarian appeal, you have to wait until usually February when you get a really good idea of how much money is coming in.
“What I can tell you is, 2016, this region, which by far has one of the most desperate levels of human suffering, was only 52 per cent funded and when you are funded to that extent, you lose a lot of lives.
“And so we hope that with the leadership of Norway, Germany and Nigeria in support of the UN, we can convince many Member States to go to Oslo on the 24th February and make statements.
“Statements of political support first and foremost, and also we hope material support that will allow the agencies to do their work and I would say not only to save lives but also to give people a hand-up.”
According to him, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is looking at providing support to farmers when the farming season sets in.
“We are looking at the planting season, which starts in April and May in some parts of the world.
“So by having the conference at the end of February, we hope that that would enable the organisations to get the resources they need for agriculture as well.
“So it is very much about the humanitarian and saving lives but it’s also about enabling people really to take charge of their lives again,” he said. (NAN)