OSLO, FEBRUARY 23 – The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mario Giro Italy is representing Italy at a major international donors conference in Oslo on 24 February. “‘A major humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. This crisis has been largely overlooked. We are therefore seeking to mobilise greater international involvement and increased funding for humanitarian efforts to prevent the situation from deteriorating further,’ said the Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende of Norway, who is co-organizing the meeting together with Nigeria, Germany and UN OCHA.
Goal of the Conference, as Giro explains on his Facebook page, is to put together 1,5 billion dollars necessary to cope with the humanitarian emergency in the area in 2017. Over 7 million people, according to UN estimates are at risk of famine in North Eastern Nigeria and in the Lake Chad Basin. “The greatest problem right now is food insecurity but there is a greater risk looming is real hunger”, Giro said.
Over 10.7 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in the Lake Chad region, which borders Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad. Almost a quarter of these people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of conflict or food shortages. Most of the crisis-affected area is in north-eastern Nigeria, where Boko Haram’s campaign of terror combined with a period of economic decline have led to great hardship and suffering. The UN, the Red Cross and other humanitarian organisations have launched major emergency appeals, and there is an urgent need to get aid to the affected areas.
“We must bring an end to this crisis, and reverse the downward spiral we are seeing in the region. The conference has three aims: to raise awareness about the crisis, to gain more support for humanitarian efforts, and to secure greater political commitment to improve the situation,” said Mr Brende.
In addition to focusing on emergency relief efforts, the Oslo conference will have three priority areas: food security; humanitarian protection and access to aid; and education in situations of crisis and conflict. (@OnuItalia)