$2.5bn raised at Berlin conference for comprehensive response against Boko Haram

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The international donor conference on Boko Haram crisis concluded on Tuesday, raising some $2.17 billion in support, and about $467 million in concessional loans for the crisis-ridden Lake Chad Basin region.

The two-day high-level conference was organised in Berlin on Monday and Tuesday, by the Governments of Nigeria, Germany and Norway, together with the United Nations.

The humanitarian conference, which was one of the 2018 largest pledging conferences for the Lake Chad region, was convened to raise much needed resources for relief, development and peace-building programmes in the region.

A cross section of the participants at the Berlin conference on Boko Haram
A cross section of the participants at the Berlin conference on Boko Haram

“Participants agreed that a coherent, multi-year approach is needed, that integrates all available instruments to tackle the protracted crisis and the root causes of the conflict.

“This is needed to pave the way for sustainable and resilient development of the region, and thus contribute to a better future for the affected people,” the organisers said in a press statement after the conference.

READ ALSO: Nigerian Air Force kill several Boko Haram insurgents at Zari in Borno

The conference also highlighted the regional dimension of the Lake Chad crisis, as well as the crucial role of local actors, cross-border cooperation and ownership, at all levels.

Violence by ‘Boko Haram’ insurgents in the Northeast Nigeria forced thousands to flee their homes, with many seeking refuge in neighbouring countries.

Achim Steiner, the Administrator for the UN Development Programme (UNDP), said that the promised funds amounted to a “strong endorsement” of the UN work, to address both urgent humanitarian needs and the root causes of the crisis.

“In this way, our response to a crisis is also an opportunity to invest in a future, where crises are less likely and nations are more resilient,” Steiner said.

The conference brought together, more than 70 countries, regional organisations, international financial institutions and humanitarian organisations, to discuss immediate relief needs, as well as crisis prevention, stabilisation and  development strategies with a view to charting a way forward for a comprehensive and inclusive response.

According to UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the conference also provides an “excellent opportunity” for in-depth deliberations on issues emerging from last February’s Oslo humanitarian conference on the region.

The Oslo conference raised some $650 million in pledges for humanitarian programmes in 2017 and beyond.

More than 17 million people across the four Lake Chad Basin countries – Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger – remain mired in a complex crisis, driven by extreme poverty, climate change and violent conflict.

As a result, more than 2.4 million are displaced and over 10 million people need more assistance to meet their basic protection and humanitarian needs.

NAN