The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Thursday, July 18, 2019 said it had inaugurated a sizeable regional stabilisation facility to scale up interventions in the Lake Chad Basin, ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency.
UNDP said in a statement issued in Maiduguri, Borno State, that the facility was unveiled at the ongoing second meeting of the Lake Chad Governors’ Forum, on Wednesday at Niamey, Niger Republic.
The UN agency disclosed that the official presentation of the facility was one of the high points of the meeting, which was coordinated under the aegis of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and supported by the Africa Union (AU).
The statement revealed that implementation of the two-year programme would commence on Sept. 1, in Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.
It explained that the programme would serve as a rapid response mechanism to help local authorities curtail the ability of Boko Haram insurgency through the restoration and extending effective civilian security, improve delivery of basic services and livelihoods.
UNDP added that the four Lake Chad Basin countries had welcomed the joint initiative, as part of the ongoing efforts to secure and stabilise the region.
The statement quoted Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, the UNDP Regional Director for Africa, as saying: “With the Regional Stabilisation Facility we have a unique and time-bound opportunity and a collective obligation to restore hope to the affected populations.”
She noted that the facility would benefit especially women and the youth who were most affected by the scourge.
“If we respond appropriately to grievances and end the spiral of insecurity, forced displacements and conflict, the situation in the Lake Chad Basin can be stabilised, and the foundations of recovery and development established.”
Also, Ms. Corinna Fricke of the German Federal Foreign Office added: “The multi-donor Regional Stabilisation Facility’s integrated civil-military approach, including a strong focus on livelihoods and resilience, fills a strategic gap in the existing stabilisation efforts.”
According to the UNDP, the facility was anchored in the Regional Stabilisation Strategy (RSS) for the Lake Chad, a ground-breaking initiative led by the LCBC and adopted by member states in August 2018 and endorsed by the AU Peace and Security Council in December 2018.
The facility would be implemented with a $100 million budget for the first phase across the four countries, which expressed strong commitments to leading necessary stabilisation efforts in the region.
The governments of Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom have also lent their full support to the implementation of the facility, and plan to provide fund for the first phase.
“A signing ceremony will be held following the first day of the Governors’ Forum with the government of Sweden signing a cost sharing agreement amounting to 80 million Swedish Kronor as a contribution to the Regional Stabilisation Strategy.”
By Rabiu Sani