By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Norway, together with Nigeria and Germany, will host an international donor conference in Oslo on February 24, 2017.
“A major humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. This crisis has been largely overlooked.
“We are therefore seeking to mobilise greater international involvement and increased funding for humanitarian efforts to prevent the situation from deteriorating further,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Børge Brende.
Over 10.7 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in the Lake Chad region, which borders Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad.
Almost a quarter of these people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of conflict or food shortages.
Most of the crisis-affected area is in north-eastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram’s campaign of terror combined with a period of economic decline have led to great hardship and suffering.
The UN, the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations have launched major emergency appeals, and there is an urgent need to get aid to the affected areas.
“We must bring an end to this crisis, and reverse the downward spiral we are seeing in the region. The conference has three aims: to raise awareness about the crisis, to gain more support for humanitarian efforts, and to secure greater political commitment to improve the situation,” said Mr Brende.
In addition to focusing on emergency relief efforts, the Oslo conference will have three priority areas: food security; humanitarian protection and access to aid; and education in situations of crisis and conflict.
Norway is organising the conference jointly with Nigeria and Germany, and in close cooperation with the UN. Foreign ministers from the region, representatives of the African Union and the EU, representatives of donor countries, and the heads of UN organisations have all been invited.
The day before the conference, there will be a meeting for civil society, which will bring together representatives of local organisations in the four affected countries, and Norwegian and international aid organisations. The recommendations from this meeting will be presented at the donor conference.
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