By Victoria Ojeme
The Group of Seven, G7, has agreed to commit £276 million to rehabilitate victims of Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria.
The Group of Seven is an inter-governmental organization consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
At the group’s meeting, which took place in London, the G7 countries agreed on action to protect the most vulnerable people around the world from climate-related disasters, help millions of people at imminent risk of famine, humanitarian crises and ensure equitable access to life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.
Policy and Communications Manager, British High Commission in Nigeria, Elva Lynch-Bathgate, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday, said the G7 compact agreed last week to address humanitarian crises, with North East Nigeria identified as one of three priority contexts.
She said the United Kingdom drove this coordinated action, which includes a commitment of £276 million from G7 countries to support the humanitarian response in the North East.
She noted that by this action, millions of lives would be saved from famine and humanitarian crises, with landmark collective action significantly increasing early action, supporting the UN to more than double its plans to tackle droughts, epidemics and other catastrophes before they strike.
In addition, Lynch-Bathgate said the G7 committed to supporting the World Bank Group and UN preparedness and early action work to ensure the international community acts to prevent crises as well as respond to them.
She also noted that the triple threat of conflict, COVID-19 and climate change means the risk of famine is now a devastating reality many countries face, including millions of people in Yemen, South Sudan and North East Nigeria where there are crisis.
”The crisis in North East Nigeria is more than a decade old. According to UN OCHA, there are 8.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance there. 1.9 million people have been displaced from their homes and one million people are in areas outside humanitarian access. ‘In North East Nigeria, 4.36 million people are projected to be in crisis and emergency levels of food security this lean season (June-August).
”The UK is seriously concerned about the status of civilians living in the inaccessible areas, over 800,000 people of whom are reaching critical levels of food insecurity and have extremely limited access to basic services such as healthcare.
”On Wednesday the UK coordinated a landmark commitment by G7 countries to tackle the root causes of famine and address the sharply rising numbers of people in need of lifesaving aid.
”This agreement commits G7 nations to urgently provide an initial £5 billion in humanitarian assistance to 42 countries, one step from catastrophe or famine, with further funding to follow over the course of this year.
”The initial funding includes £1 billion in aid prioritised to the three countries at greatest risk – Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria – to be provided as soon as possible – to save lives.
The UK has been a leading donor to the humanitarian response in North East Nigeria since the international effort scaled up in 2016.
”The UK is providing a comprehensive package of support to address the root causes of conflict and provide humanitarian assistance to meet the immediate needs of conflict-affected communities in Nigeria.
”The UK humanitarian funding is delivered by UN agencies and non-governmental organisations, NGOs, in areas where it is needed most and according to humanitarian principles of independence, impartiality, neutrality, and humanity; with respect for the dignity of those affected.
”UK support includes provision of lifesaving food and treatment of malnutrition.‘‘
This is not only about money. It is also about diplomatic action, smarter financing and more effective responses to crises, as well as addressing critical funding gaps, the UK and G7 committed to act earlier to avert crises, including strengthening data and analysis, to facilitate early action.
”The G7 committed to promote humanitarian access, respect for International Humanitarian Law, and protection of civilians. They will continue to lobby for safe humanitarian access for aid workers to ensure humanitarian support reaches those who urgently need it, particularly those in hard to reach areas and conflict zones.
”This is particularly relevant in North East Nigeria where communities daily suffer the consequences of war, including 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,” Lynch-Bathgate said.