UNDP Launches Multi-million Dollar Lake Chad Stabilisation Fund

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Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched a multi-million dollar fund for the stabilisation of the receding Lake Chad.

This was part of the agreement reached during the second meeting of the Lake Chad Governors’ Forum which opened yesterday in Niamey, Niger Republic.

A statement from the UNDP made available through e-mail, said: “The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has Thursday launched the Regional Stabilisation Facility for Lake Chad.”

The statement revealed that it was an ambitious multi-million dollar fund to scale up the range of stabilisation intervention in areas of Lake Chad Basin.

According to the emailed statement, “The four Lake Chad Basin countries have warmly welcomed this joint initiative as part of their own ongoing efforts to secure and stabilise the region.

“The facility will start operating on September 1, 2019, for two years in the eight affected regions of the four riparian countries of Cameroun, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, and will serve as a rapid response mechanism to help the local authorities curtail the ability of Boko Haram insurgency by restoring and extending effective civilian security; improve the delivery of basic services and livelihoods.”

The statement further said: “The official presentation of the facility was one of the high points of the second meeting of the Lake Chad Governors’ Forum which opened today (yesterday) in Niamey, under aegis of the Lake Chad Basin Commission with the support of the African Union.

“The forum is hosted by the Government of Niger and supported with funds from the Government of Germany.”

The statement further quoted UNDP Regional Director for Africa, Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa, while speaking of the potentially far-reaching impact of the facility during the opening ceremony of the meeting of the Lake Chad Governors’ Forum, as saying: “With the Regional Stabilisation Facility, we have a unique and time-bound opportunity as well as a collective obligation to restore hope to affected populations, especially women and youths, who have been most affected by this scourge.”

If we respond appropriately to grievances and end the spiral of insecurity, forced displacements and conflict, the situation in the Lake Chad Basin can be stabilised and the foundations of recovery and development established.”

Also speaking at the Lake Chad Governors’ Forum, Ms. Corinna Fricke, from the German Federal Foreign Office stated that “the multi-donor Regional Stabilization Facility’s integrated civil-military approach, including a strong focus on livelihoods and resilience, fills a strategic gap in the existing stabilisation efforts.”

The statement said the facility is anchored in the Regional Stabilisation Strategy (RSS) for Lake Chad, a ground-breaking initiative led by the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and adopted by its member states in August 2018, and endorsed by the African Union Peace and Security Council in December 2018.

It said the facility would be implemented with a planned budget of $100 million for the first phase across the four countries, which have expressed their continued strong commitment to leading necessary stabilisation efforts in the region, including through the facility.

It said the Governments of Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom have also lent their full support to the implementation of the facility, and plan to provide funding to it during its first phase.

The emailed statement revealed that a signing ceremony would be held following the first day of the Governors’ Forum with the Government of Sweden signing a cost-sharing agreement amounting to 80 million Swedish Kronor as a contribution to the Regional Stabilisation Strategy.