Resilience in the Face of Challenges: Insights from the 4th Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum
August 9, 2023
Remarkable progress has been made through the Regional Stabilisation Facility in the Lake Chad Region, benefitting more than 1.5 million people with the construction of homes, health centers, roads and police stations, and the return of over 400,000 displaced people. Despite these achievements, over 2.9 million remain displaced, with more than 2 million from Nigeria. This displacement has been exacerbated by the negative impact of climate change on environment which has attributed to instability in the regional. With the evolving security context, the Lake Chad Basin Governors Forum provided an opportunity to address regional peace and security and eventually provide solutions to the challenges being faced in the region.
The 4th Lake Chad Basin Governors Forum took place in the city of Ndjamena, Chad. The Forum brought together key stakeholders that included heads of states , civil society organisations, interlocutors and policy makers from the Lake Chad region. The summit themed, “New Opportunities for Peace in a Shifting Context” aimed to provide an opportunity for the Governors of the region to take ownership of the forum process and promote multi-stakeholder engagement to consolidate gains and advance regional cooperation on priority areas.
During the opening ceremony, His Excellency, Ambassador Mamman Nuhu, Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, expressed that, “This fourth edition is planned to build on the gains of the past, it is intended to fast track efforts towards building resilience, improving the condition of the people of the region and setting the direction for the 5th edition in 2024.”
The Lake Chad Basin Region faces the increasing threat from climate change and the evolving face of the Boko Haram insurgency. These challenges have led to severe humanitarian and development challenges, including the struggle for scarce resources, massive internal and cross border displacements, damage of property, and human rights violation. Addressing these critical issues through the Regional Strategy for Stabilisation, Recovery, and Resilience is of utmost importance.
Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Assistant Administrator, and Regional Director for Africa expressed during the opening ceremony that, “In all these countries and communities, what we have seen over the past three years is how the impact of the stabilization program extended far beyond numbers and statistics. It has restored hope, dignity, and a sense of purpose to individuals who had once been displaced but also traumatized and marginalized. It brought communities together fostering resilience and a renewed determination to rebuild their lives and revive local economies.”
In Nigeria, the Boko Haram conflict and insurgency left 2 million people internally displaced. The governments in the region continue to work towards the safe return of these internally displaced persons and the reintegration of ex-associates. A panel discussion with Mr. Mohamed Yahya, Resident Representative of UNDP Nigeria, examined the regional stability approach on community reintegration and transitional justice.
Mr. Mohamed Yahya noted that, “Fanaticism and violent extremism does not see borders and the onus is on us at the international level to help government solve this collective problem”. He further outlined ways the UN will be supporting through the Borno model, a non-kinetic approach to handle counter-insurgency efforts. The support to counter-insurgency efforts by UNDP includes the screening, rehabilitation, and transitional justice. Support from the international community in these areas remains imperative to the success of community reintegration and transitional justice.At the closing ceremony of the 4th Lake Chad Basin Forum, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, in her closing remarks stated that, “We have seen tangible evidence that stabilization works, and it has the power to begin the transformation process for lives and communities, and to lay the foundation for long term development”.
The 3-day summit was filled with rich discussions centered around improved regional cooperation for stabilization, peacebuilding and sustainable development. The summit concluded with the official handover of the Chairperson of the Governors Forum (Far North) from His Excellency, Midjiyawa Bakary Governor of Far North to incoming Chair of the LCB Governors Forum and the acceptance of hosting rights for the 5th Lake Chad Basin Forum by Nigeria.
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