'Holistic thinking' needed for peace, development in Lake Chad region – Deputy UN chief Mohammed

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed talks with delegates prior to Security Council meeting on the Council’s mission to Africa’s Lake Chad Basin. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

9 March 2017 – Highlighting the multifaceted nature of the crisis in Africa's Lake Chad Basin, the deputy United Nations chief underlined the need for a holistic approach that includes responding to the Boko Haram as well as closing the gap between humanitarian assistance and development interventions.

“Lasting recovery will entail supporting reconstruction of schools, health centres, and reviving essential infrastructure […] that support the necessary livelihoods,” Amina Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, told the Security Council today.

“Effective prevention of future radicalization and violence will also entail comprehensive responses that benefit all members of society,” she added.

Ms. Mohammed's briefing follows last week's visit of the Security Council to the region and a global UN-backed conference to raise funding to sustain critical aid operations in the region, held on 24 February.

According to estimates, more than 10 million people in the Lake Chad Basin are in need of humanitarian assistance, including more than seven million needing food support, with 515,000 children affected by severe acute malnutrition.

Noting the response by UN agencies to support the local populations and the contributions pledged by countries at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference, the Deputy Secretary-General said that the needs outstripped the resources and urged UN Member States to ensure that the $1.5 billion humanitarian appeal is funded fully.

Speaking on the region's security challenges and the activities of Boko Haram, Ms. Mohammed informed the Council of UN's work to document information on human rights abuses, as well as its assistance to affected countries to ensure that their counter-terrorism efforts fully complied with international human rights, humanitarian and refugee laws.

In particular, she spoke of the plight of women affected by Boko Haram, many of whom are still displaced in camps, detained by the authorities, or are struggling to reintegrate into their communities.

“We also need to scale up efforts to provide access to sexual and reproductive health and psychosocial support and livelihood support for female-headed households,” she said, noting the need to ensure that women have key roles in the response – from food distribution and camp management to all efforts to counter violent extremism, restore state authority and build peace.

Further in her remarks, Ms. Mohammed also underlined the need to address the root causes of the crisis to achieve durable peace and of the importance of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for the region.

“My single clear message today is that the solution lies in holistic thinking,” she noted, hailing the role of the African Union and the continent's regional organizations to peace, security and the integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and Africa's own Agenda 2063.


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