Partnering with Local Communities, Civil Society Essential for Tackling Challenges in Lake Chad Basin, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Peacebuilding Commission

(Delayed for technical reasons)

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks at the Peacebuilding Commission meeting on the peacebuilding challenges in the Lake Chad Basin, in New York on 20 April:

I thank the Peacebuilding Commission for its leadership in supporting countries and people from the Lake Chad Basin, a region that is both close to my heart and a priority for the United Nations.  I commend the Commission for continuing to leverage its convening power to mobilize international support for peacebuilding and sustaining peace efforts in the Lake Chad Basin.

The Lake Chad Basin is a region with extraordinary opportunities and untapped potential.  Unfortunately, conflict and violence are taking a heavy toll on communities in the outlying areas of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, where over 3 million people are displaced.  More than 11 million people are at risk and in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, while 4.7 million people will face food insecurity during the 2022 lean season.

Over the years, the Governments of the affected countries have taken significant steps to address their challenges, including through the Multinational Joint Task Force.  However, a purely military approach is not sufficient and more support from the international community is needed to change the trajectory on the ground.

Challenges in the Lake Chad Basin are multidimensional and integrated.  And so must be our response.  To be effective, action in countries of the Lake Chad Basin region must be coherent across development, humanitarian and peace dynamics.  And they must position sustainable development front and centre.  After all, development offers the long-term solutions to many of the root causes of instability and humanitarian challenges.

In this regard, the adoption of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel and its implementation through the Office of the Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel have been key in ensuring an integrated United Nations response in the region.  The accelerated implementation of the Regional Strategy for the Stabilization, Recovery and Resilience of the Boko Haram Affected Areas of the Lake Chad Basin Region also remains essential.

Considerable progress has been achieved since 2019.  Through the Regional Stabilization Facility, over 900,000 people in the Lake Chad Basin now have access to newly built schools, clinics, markets, police stations and other basic services.  In total, 1,800 infrastructure and basic service facilities were constructed in just 18 months.

The increasing numbers of disengaged fighters and former affiliates of Boko Haram and other groups that are surrendering also offers a window of opportunity.  However, we need to more effectively support their rehabilitation and reintegration, ensure that populations’ needs are met and prevent new sources of grievances.

Sustaining political will is critical to addressing the challenges in the Lake Chad Basin; and our two regional offices — for West Africa and the Sahel and for Central Africa - have been leveraging their good offices in this respect, in support of national efforts and solutions.

Scaled-up funding to the Stabilization Facility remains necessary to address the root causes of insecurity and violence.  But, we will only succeed if we strengthen the alignment of all we do with the priorities and needs of countries and communities in the region.  And to take action to the scale required, we will need to enhance partnerships with local communities, civil society and peacebuilders, including in the implementation of the territorial action plans.

I am certain that the Peacebuilding Commission is well positioned to help galvanize the necessary resources and support to take the efforts in the Lake Chad Basin to the next level.  In doing so, the Commission will continue to lead by example by demonstrating what prevention means in practice.  Working together, we can make a difference in the Lake Chad and beyond, with the Sustainable Development Goals showing the way.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.