From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The G7 member countries has launched the sum of $382 million famine prevention and humanitarian compact for the Northeast.
The G7 member countries are the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States of America, with principal support from the European Union.
The amount was part of the $7 billion commitment made to 42 countries who are one step from catastrophe or famine by the G7 in May, 2021, with a promise of further funding later in the year.
Present during the launch were representatives of the Federal Government, multilateral partners, including the governments of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
The diplomatic missions of the G7 members, said the move was the first ever G7 action plan to help save millions of lives from famine and humanitarian crises, including the $382 million for the Northeast.
They further said the G7 was concerned by the scale of crisis in the Northeast and the numbers of people inaccessible to humanitarian needs.
The G7 members called on the international community to act now, with no regrets, to prevent further decline.
Delivering a statement on behalf of the G7 member countries, British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, said: “We are facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis globally resulting from the triple threat of conflict, climate change and COVID-19. This threat means the risk of famine is now a devastating reality for many vulnerable populations, including North East Nigeria.
“We are deeply concerned by the humanitarian situation in the North East, where 8.7 million people need assistance and 1.9 million people have been displaced because of the conflict, with another 300,000 having fled to neighbouring countries. As a result of the conflict, we continue to see alarming rates of malnutrition and elevated risk of famine across parts of the North East.
“Through the G7, our countries have committed to act now to avert further crisis. The landmark commitment agreed in May by the G7 is critical to addressing these needs and tackling the root causes of famine. This is not only about money. It is also about diplomatic action, smarter financing, and more effective approaches to crises.
“The G7 has agreed to urgently provide an initial $7 billion in humanitarian assistance. This includes $382m desperately needed for North East Nigeria,” Laing said.
The G7 also recalled that in 2016-17, international engagement responded to food insecurity alerts and averted a famine in the North East.
The G7 added that with conditions returning to similar levels today, the international community act early and with no regrets to save lives and tackle the drivers of acute food insecurity.
“In North East Nigeria, communities continue to suffer the daily consequences of a war that is now into its eleventh year. This includes the estimated one million people inaccessible to humanitarian actors due to insecurity; despite international law obligating all parties to a conflict to enable safe, sustained, and unhindered access to all civilians in need of assistance. Humanitarian access must be granted, and we will work collectively to promote respect for International Law and the protection of civilians.
“We must also strengthen countries’ own crisis preparedness and response. This compact commits G7 nations to work with the World Bank Group to help fragile and conflict-affected countries’ build their capacity to prepare for and respond to crises, including through support for shock-responsive and social protection systems. Together, we have the capability to strengthen early warning and real-time analysis to ensure more timely and informed decision making.
“We will continue to support governments to address crises and tackle conflict. This includes working in close partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria and the State Governors of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, as well as humanitarian and development partners, to respond to urgent needs and find solutions to the crisis in the North East.
“We welcome today’s opportunity to discuss the G7 famine prevention compact and ways to foster collaboration with our valued Nigerian partners, the UN, and other members of the international community.
“The G7 are working together to find global solutions to global problems and protect those countries that are hardest hit by these challenges. We provided almost 80 percent of the humanitarian funding received by these 42 countries with populations one step from catastrophe or famine in 2020. We call on partners beyond the G7 to significantly increase their humanitarian assistance to these crises and call on the private sector and foundations to increase their contributions. Together we can shape a better future,” Laing also said.
In his remarks, the National Coordinator, National Social Investment Programme, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Umar Bidir, expressed delight over the development.
Bidir said of particular interest to the government was people who were inaccessible, whom he said, were probably more than a million.
Badir further said for the G7 to have recognized the inaccessible people under the package was actually commendable.
“So, on behalf of the government, and most importantly, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, we will partner with you very, very closely as an arm of this government,” Badir said.
On her part, the Deputy Head of Mission, United States Embassy, Abuja, Kathleen FitzGibbon, said what was very important to G7 members as key donors was working closely with the governors in the Northeast and to ensure good collaboration and communication on the ground between the military authorities, the state governments and the non governmental organizations.