A course to train 50 judges and magistrates kicks off in Cameroon?

Cooperation activities between Italy and Cameroon to foster the Rule of Law and the respect of human rights are continuing thanks to the new high-level training courses promoted by the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa and the Ministry of Justice of Cameroon.

The project received logistic support from ENAM (Eacute;cole Nationale d’Administration et de Magistrature du Cameroun) and was performed in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, under the scientific coordination of Andrea de Guttry, full professor of international law and director of the Dirpolisrdquo; (Diritto, Politica, Sviluppo � Law, Policy, Development) Institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna of Pisa.

The first high-level training course is held in Yaoundeacute; (Cameroon) and involves 35 judges and magistrates singled out by the Ministry of Justice of Cameroon and another 15 young judges selected by ENAM. The programme, organised in four course days, offers the possibility of getting acquainted with the international human rights laws applicable in the administration of justice. Participants can also acquire in-depth knowledge on the content of the laws protecting human rights and on the mechanisms to enforce them at national level.

The second phase of the project, which consists in another high-level training course, will continue between May and June 2017 with a new cycle dedicated to the training of trainersrdquo;, again held in Yaoundeacute;, for approximately 35 Cameroonian judges. The course will train a pool of trainers who will in turn be able to provide capillary training on human rights to all the members of the judiciary in Cameroon.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy.

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Alcatel lance l’A5 LED, premier smartphone interactif recouvert de DEL dans le monde

Une promesse de moments éblouissants pour les amateurs jeunes et énergiques de divertissements BARCELONE, Espagne, 27 février 2017 /PRNewswire/– Alcatel a annoncé aujourd’hui le lancement de l’Alcatel A5 LED au Congrès mondial de la téléphonie mobile. Premier smartphone interactif revêtu de DEL dans le monde, l’A5 LED promet sur enjoy.now d’Alcatel des innovations pour les jeunes […]

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Alcatel Launches A5 LED, the World’s First Interactive LED-covered Smartphone

Offering dazzling moments for young and energetic entertainment s eekers BARCELONA, Spain, Feb. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Alcatel today announced the launch of Alcatel A5 LED at Mobile World Congress. The world’s first interactive LED-covered smartphone, A5 LED delivers on Alcatel‘s enjoy.now promise with innovations for energetic young consumers. Photo – http://mma.prnewswire.com/media/472194/Alcatel_A5_LED.jpg “With the A5 LED, Alcatel […]

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Africa’s 1st Shared Value Summit To Showcase a Future-Proof Business Strategy: Profit With a Purpose

Throughout Africa, businesses are adopting the Creating Shared Value (CSV) business model to ensure that society benefits while business profits. The concept, first shared with business leaders and marketers by Harvard Business School’s Prof Michael Porter in 2006, is gaining momentum and picking up traction � but not quickly and forcefully enough. For too long, companies have relied on CSR and CSI programmes to balance their focus on maximising profits. Shared Value is now challenging the status quo.

The first Africa Shared Value Summit (www.AfricaSharedValueSummit.com) will raise awareness and advocate for the strategic implementation of the Shared Value business model, which brings about social change while positively impacting profit. Companies who create Shared Value do so through the normal operation of their businesses; it is not an (often short-term) add-on limited by budget, but rather a future-proof business strategy for long-term gain. There are corporates that are currently taking the lead in changing the face of capitalist business practice, but it is the social innovators who are really embracing the practice and reaping the rewards � financially and societally.

The Summit’s keynote speaker will be Marc Pfitzer, Managing Director of FSG, one of the world’s leading consultancies focusing on social change strategy and creating business models and strategies that lead to social impact. Speaking on the growth of Shared Value, Marc is optimistic that business is starting to catch on: If you look at the spread of the concept, and you look at the continued emergence of new companies who say ‘we’ve got a built-in purpose in our strategy’, it’s not just a communication-based tagline, it’s really about making different choices in our strategy. We keep on getting new companies coming into the fold, so the underlining movement is happening and is spreading all over the world.rdquo;

Marc’s expertise spans numerous subjects, including Shared Value, collective impact, agricultural development, impact measurement, and the mechanics of collaboration. His influential articles Innovating for Shared Valuerdquo; (http://APO.af/fnU90l) and The Ecosystem of Shared Valuerdquo; (http://APO.af/OKfZQ2) were published in the Harvard Business Review in 2013 and 2016 respectively. Prior to FSG, Marc served as Principal at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) based in Zuuml;rich.

Chief Marketing Officer of Nando’s, one of the Summit’s sponsors, Doug Place has received more than 30 international and national marketing and advertising awards, including The Media Top 40 Under 40rdquo; in 2014, and was recognised as one of Destiny Man Magazine’s 2015 ‘Young and Powerful’ industry leaders. Through the implementation of Shared Value principles, Nando’s has achieved major successes in the development and recognition of African artists and the fight against malaria.

Another speaker highlight is Barry Swartzberg, Group Executive Director Responsible for International Strategy at Discovery. Discovery Health’s pioneering approach to incentivising people to be healthier is world-renowned. The impact of the adoption of a Shared Value strategy underpins the organisation’s global success and new business growth. Other high-profile speakers include Sanda Ojiambo, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Safaricom, who will share her experience in multi-sectoral policy and development work throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, and Maria Papetti, Head of Enel Holdings, who will speak on sustainability, renewable energy growth and social equality.

The Summit will also feature Shared Value trailblazers like Dr Sara Saeed, winner of the UNICEF Global Goal Campaigner Award 2016, who will share insights into the doctHERS project in Pakistan.

Other participants include:Michelle Constant (CEO, BASA); Gordon Cook (Activist, Stir4Change); Zaakira Mahomed (Founder, Happy with a Purpose and Mina Cup), David Blyth (CEO, Yellowwood); Claire Reed (CIO, Reel Gardening); Genevieve Leveille (Co-Founder, 0TenTic8); Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga (UNEP Head, South Africa); and Thomas van Viegen (EY Associate Director: Climate Change and Sustainability Services).

Embracing CSV is the key to long-term sustainability, enabling businesses to survive and thrive in a changing business climate. Shift Social Development, the team of women behind the Summit headed by Tiekie Barnard, aims to create an annual platform where Shared Value practitioners can share their stories and influence businesses and brands in the creation of Shared Value, thus embodying the Shift Social Development mantra of profit with purpose.

Source: Africa Shared Value Summit.

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More EU aid as humanitarian needs in Lake Chad region grow

The European Commission has announced additional assistance for the Lake Chad region in 2017 as humanitarian needs grow.

The European Commission has already allocated €55 million of humanitarian support to populations in the Lake Chad region in Africa in 2017 and is now planning to mobilise additional funding to the amount of €50 million to step up its support to a total of €105 million.

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management ChristosStylianides made the announcement today during an international conference in Oslo, Norway aimed at addressing the pressing humanitarian situation in the region.

“With the crisis in the Lake Chad region growing at an extremely alarming rate, the EU is stepping up its response. Today I announced the EU will allocate €105 million in humanitarian aid for the crisis. These funds will help meet the life-saving needs of the affected populations and scale up our response. The conditions for delivering assistance remain particularly difficult. It is essential to ensure quick and safe access to people who need lifesaving assistance.” said Commissioner Stylianides.

The funding would help meet the increasing humanitarian needs, notably in the following five areas of food, nutrition, water and sanitation, health and protection.

The European Union has been one of the largest aid donors to the crisis in region. Since January 2016, €177 million has been provided in humanitarian aid and a further €159 million in development assistance from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has recently been allocated to support 15 projects.

Background

The conflict between security forces and the armed group Boko Haram is having devastating humanitarian consequences in the Lake Chad basin. The crisis is heavily affecting populations in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Over 2.3 million people have been displaced within or out of their country.

Food insecurity has reached crisis levels in some parts of the region, and malnutrition rates are well beyond emergency levels defined by the World Health Organization (WHO). In Nigeria’s northeast region alone, some 4.6 million people are in need of emergency food assistance. Access to basic services is severely limited and the risk of epidemics due to the lack of water, sanitation, shelter and health services also remains extremely high.

High levels of insecurity across the area continue to seriously hamper humanitarian access.  The consequence of which is the difficulty of delivering aid, in particular to northeast Nigeria, the extreme north of Cameroon and the Diffa region in Niger.

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EU proposes €105 million in humanitarian assistance for Lake Chad region

The European Commission plans to mobilise a total of €105 million in humanitarian support to populations in the Lake Chad region in Africa in 2017.

Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides made the announcement today during an international conference in Oslo, Norway aimed at addressing the pressing humanitarian situation in the region.

“With the crisis in the Lake Chad region growing at an extremely alarming rate, the EU is stepping up its response. Today I announced the EU’s allocation of €105 million in humanitarian aid for the crisis. These funds will help meet the life-saving needs of the affected populations and scale up our response. The conditions for delivering assistance remain particularly difficult. It is essential to ensure quick and safe access to people who need lifesaving assistance.” saidCommissioner Stylianides.

The funding would help meet the increasing humanitarian needs, notably in the areas of food, nutrition, water and sanitation, health and protection.

The European Union has been one of the largest aid donors to the crisis in region. Since January 2016 €177 million has now been provided in humanitarian aid and a further €159 million in development assistance from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has recently been allocated to support 15 projects.

Background

The €105 million announced today consists of an initial allocation of €55 million for 2017 and a further amount of €50 million now proposed of humanitarian support to populations in the Lake Chad region.

The conflict between security forces and the armed group Boko Haram is having devastating humanitarian consequences in the Lake Chad basin. The crisis is heavily affecting populations in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Over 2.3 million people have been displaced within or out of their country.

Food insecurity has reached crisis levels in some parts of the region, and malnutrition rates are well beyond emergency levels. Only in Nigeria’s Northeast some 4.6 million people are in need of emergency food assistance. Access to basic services is severely limited and the risk of epidemics due to the lack of water, sanitation, shelter and health services also remains extremely high.

High levels of insecurity across the area continue to seriously hamper humanitarian access and is making the delivery of aid extremely difficult, in particular in Northeast Nigeria, the Extreme North of Cameroon and the Diffa region in Niger

For more information:

Chad factsheet

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/chad_en.pdf

Cameroon factsheet

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/cameroon_en.pdf

Niger factsheet

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/niger_en.pdf

Nigeria factsheet

http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/nigeria_en.pdf

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Xenophobes, hungry Yemenis, and open data: The cheat sheet

Every week, IRIN’s team of editors takes a look at what lies ahead on our humanitarian agenda and curates a selection of some of the best reports, opinion, and journalism you may have missed:

What’s coming up?

Next week in the famine spotlight…

Here’s a quick quiz: Which country has the UN called the largest food insecurity emergency in the world? Is it Nigeria, where the northeast has been hit hard by the Boko Haram insurgency? How about Cameroon, Chad, or Niger, also on the borders of Lake Chad and dealing with the fallout of the same crisis – all the focus of today’s Oslo donor conference to raise funds for the region? Perhaps South Sudan, where famine has just been declared? Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. It’s Yemen, where this week the UN warned that 7.3 million people are on the brink of famine. This is almost entirely a man-made crisis created by two years of war, and while new UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is making an effort to restart peace talks, there doesn’t appear to be much appetite by the warring parties. Yemen is a tough place to report from and to draw attention to for reasons we’ve detailed again and again. Next week, we’ll give it another go with two exclusive reports on what the looming famine looks like in what was already the poorest country in the region, even before the fighting began.

Xenophobia on the march again in South Africa 

Anti-immigrant sentiment has reared its ugly head again in South Africa with stores looted, buildings set aflame, and people being attacked on the streets of Pretoria, the country’s capital, just for looking foreign. Armed police are breaking up protests and Nigeria is calling on the African Union to get involved to tamp out the xenophobic fervour. We’ve been here before. Bloody anti-immigrant riots in 2008 left scores dead and thousands displaced. More recently, in 2015, seven people were killed after an angry mob wielding makeshift weapons attacked immigrants and torched buildings on the streets of Johannesburg. A similar riot broke out in Durban the same year, leaving five dead and causing thousands of foreigners to flee. But, as IRIN’s Africa Editor Obi Anyadike explained at the time, xenophobia doesn’t exist in isolation. South Africa’s unemployment rate is at a near-record high, and many are falling victim to the perception that the country is becoming overrun with immigrants who are all taking their jobs. True, South Africa is a sought-after destination for many fleeing conflict and economic hardship elsewhere in the continent. But research shows that foreign migrants are net contributors to the economy and that the numbers of those born abroad has declined anyway. Appeals for calm are all very well, but the government needs to get serious about tackling income inequality and addressing the socio-economic roots of the problem.

Calling all aid transparency nerds

The International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) is a powerful but complex set of rules to structure data about development and humanitarian financing. IATI data from donors and aid agencies describes hundreds of thousands of projects, budgets, transactions, disbursements and results. Many of the biggest donors produce reports in the format, often providing detail not easily available elsewhere. However, the voluntary initiative suffers from wide variation in data quality and completeness and can be intimidating for the non-specialist to grasp. IATI is tentatively adopted as the data standard for a new era of humanitarian finance transparency, called for in the Grand Bargain, but critical mass seems a way off.

IATI open data advocates gather in Dar es Salaam early March for an annual meeting to steer a way forward.

(IRIN would be glad to hear your views on the state of open data in the humanitarian sector: contact [email protected])

Climate change, migration and movies

Dubbed Gimme Shelter, organisers are billing this as the “world’s first film festival exploring the connections between climate change and migration”. The four-day event kicks off in Newcastle, UK, on 16 March, and it features films as well as lectures and art exhibitions. One talk delves into controversial media coverage linking climate change to Syria’s civil war, and  “examines some of the latest research exploring the links between climate change and armed conflict.” Films include “The Age of Consequences”, which investigates the impact of climate change on security and comes with the tag line: “The Hurt Locker meets An Inconvenient Truth”.

Swedish press freedom event in Geneva

 

This Wednesday, 1 March, join us at the opening of the exhibition “The Swedish Freedom of the Press Unfolded” and hear how Sweden came to be a forerunner for freedom of the press.

The event kicks off at 12 pm (GMT+1) with a discussion moderated by IRIN Director Heba Aly. Speakers include:

–    H.E. Margot Wallström, Foreign Minister of Sweden

–    H.E. Veronika Bard, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the UN

–    Ms. Dunja Mijatovix, Representative on Freedom of the Media, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Join live – on the spot at La Passerelle in Geneva’s Palais des Nations, or remotely via our Facebook page.

Did you miss it?

Nice map, shame about the subtext

Not so humble brag: IRIN’s recent map and listicle on foreign military bases in Africa is proving very popular. Ten months ago, we attempted a more ambitious map outlining more than 40 ongoing conflicts around the globe. But credit where credit is due: This “Global Conflict Tracker” from the Council on Foreign Relations’ Center for Preventive Action is as good, if not better. Visually, it clearly surpasses our April 2016 effort, but this is part of the problem. Using pretty, coloured circles to distinguish different levels of “impact on US interests”, it has a three-pronged scale from critical to significant to limited. Scroll down from the map itself and these grades of US interest become separate sections with thumbnails taking you to extensive briefings on each conflict. But studying these reveals a depressing subtext: Unless the United States has a vested interest in a conflict, no one really cares. At the high-end, unsurprisingly, are only countries that have seen direct US military involvement: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, plus those to do with rival superpower China. But it’s the lowest end of the spectrum that is more revealing. It reads like a compendium of the world’s most neglected conflicts. IRIN readers will know them only too well: Somalia, Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Myanmar, Mali, and Burundi. Yemen does makes it into the middle “significant” category, but then again US Navy SEALs performed an ill-judged raid there recently and the Pentagon is reportedly considering ramping up US involvement. Looking at this map, and the conflicts marked critical, that might not be a good thing.

Central African Republic: What’s gone wrong?

One reason is alluded to in the entry above, but there are many others as to why Central African Republic finds itself in renewed turmoil. If depth of despondency or complete lack of hope could propel a crisis onto the front pages, CAR would surely have a chance. Regular IRIN contributor Philip Kleinfeld does his best here: Stunning photographs and vivid frontline testimony. The underlying facts speak for themselves: no government control outside the capital; violence spreading within and between different Muslim communities, let alone the Christian-Muslim dynamic that characterised the previous conflagration in 2013; record displacement above 410,000; UN peacekeepers struggling to prevent the conflict from enveloping the second city of Bambari. Oh, and innocent civilians are routinely targeted because of ethnicity. “They turned up in vehicles and were shooting everywhere,” Issa, 26, tells IRIN. “My husband fought back to protect the community, but he was shot in the head.” This is great reporting. But will it make a blind bit of difference?

(TOP PHOTO: April 28, 2015. A guard walks past what remains of Ibn Sina School, in Sana’a, the capital. CREDIT: Mohammed Mahmoud / UNICEF)

bp-as-jf-kh-eb/ag

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Oslo conference raises US $672 million for Lake Chad region crisis

24 Feb 2017

Listen /

UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien speaking at the conference in Oslo. UNifeed screengrab,

A total of US $672 million was raised on Friday at a humanitarian conference in Oslo, Norway, to address the crisis in the Lake Chad region, the UN says.

Co-hosted by the Scandinavian country, Nigeria, Germany and the UN, the meeting aimed to address the huge crisis unfolding in a region where 17 million lives are at risk.

A civil society meeting was also held on the same day, with a large participation from local organizations working in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Jocelyne Sambira has the details.

Friday’s donor pledges sent a strong signal to the world that catastrophes like famine can be averted, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien said at the close of the Oslo donor conference on Friday.

The money is earmarked to help people affected by the emergency in the countries that make up the Lake Chad Region like Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

The UN and its partners were able to raise a third of the US $1.5 billion appeal to donors “in just one morning”, Mr O’Brien confirmed.

Speaking to reporters, he said he was thankful for the donations.

“We can stop and reverse a further descent into an ever-deepening crisis with unimaginable consequences for the millions of people and an entire generation of children and youth. And so with those governments, in concert with those governments and the leadership in-country, the local governments, we the international community, representing all the people behind the governments of those who donate, we the humanitarians, the ICRC, the NGOs, international and local can bring hope.”

The Islamic militant group, Boko Haram, that triggered the crisis, is one of the deadliest in the world, warned the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Goeffrey Onyeama.

As civilians come out of the areas liberated by a West African regional force created to combat the insurgents, he said, the Nigerian government is facing new challenges to feed, house and protect them.

UN Humanitarian Chief O’Brien also launched the “Nigeria Humanitarian Fund” to support life-saving operations in the North-East.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’41”

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Donors pledge $670 million at UN-backed conference to support aid operations in Lake Chad region

24 February 2017 &#150 Giving voice to people affected by conflict and complex crises in Africa’s Lake Chad region, a United Nations-supported conference in Oslo today generated more than $670 million in pledges that will sustain critical relief operations over the next two years and beyond.

Officially known as the Humanitarian Conference in Oslo for Nigeria and Lake Chad region, the donors event also agreed on addressing longer-term development needs and to seek durable solutions to crises in Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon – which together make the Lake Chad region.

“Without our increased support, affected communities will face a life of hunger, disease, gender-based violence and continued displacement,” said the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Stephen O’Brien.

“But there is another future within grasp: as the international community scales up support, we can stop a further descent into an ever-deepening crisis with unimaginable consequences for millions of people,” he added.

According to estimates, about 17 million people are living in the most affected areas across the four countries. Of them some 10.7 million people are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, with 8.5 million in north-eastern Nigeria alone, having been made witness to years of violence as a result of Boko Haram militancy.

More to follow…

Read More

Nigeria hunger crisis deepens, spills over into Lake Chad Basin

Photo: © REUTERS/ Akintunde Akinleye

Men work on a farm in a village on the outskirt of Zaria in Nigeria’s northern state of Kaduna. The country’s worst hit states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa have seen virtually no harvests for three to four years, making agriculture assistance more important than ever.

24 February 2017, Rome – As conflict and instability continue, the food security situation in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin is drastically deteriorating, FAO warned today, as it called for swift and decisive action from the international community to protect the livelihoods of millions of families dependent on farming, livestock and fishing for their food and livelihoods. 

With the next planting season starting in May, and with scarcity of animal fodder and water points during the lean season, it is crucial that crop seeds, tools and livestock support reach families urgently to limit the scope of the deepening crisis that now involves four countries: Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.  

Some 7.1 million people are now severely food insecure across the four countries. Among them are 515 000 children who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition – a condition which, if untreated, can lead to permanent damage to a child’s development and even death. 

FAO is among the UN agencies and governments attending the Oslo Humanitarian Conference today, organized to mobilize international funding for the crisis-struck region, where 80 to 90 percent of people rely on farming, fishing and herding for their livelihoods.

“In the worst-affected areas, famine continues to loom — and millions will remain trapped in cycles of severe hunger if we don’t enable farmers to start cropping now,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, who is representing FAO at the conference. “Our collective efforts cannot be limited to merely avoiding massive famine – they need to allow people to return to a dignified life. And supporting agriculture is the key to both,” he said.

Besides reducing hunger and boosting nutrition, investing in farmers also provides much needed job opportunities that reduce migration and limit the potential for radicalization of unemployed youth, according to Burgeon.

Crisis spilling across borders

Violence related to the armed group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria has spilled over to parts of neighboring countries in the Lake Chad Basin – specifically, Cameroon’s Far North, western Chad and southeastern Niger – with devastating effects on food security and livelihoods. 

With the Lake Chad Basin approaching a critical period in the agricultural calendar, FAO is urgently calling for $30 million in immediate emergency support to help farming families in the four countries get ready to plant in the upcoming May planting season and prevent them from slipping into long-term dependency on food aid. 

A total of $232 million will be needed to secure food production and access to food for three million people in the worst-hit areas over the next three years. The vast majority of the requested funds – some $191 million – is designated for Nigeria, which is bearing the brunt of the crisis. 

Violence and displacement drive severe hunger

Violence has driven millions across the four countries from their homes and hampered access to agricultural lands and assets, creating massive humanitarian needs in an area already struggling with food insecurity, poverty and environmental degradation. Host communities, in particular, have been struggling for several years now to feed the displaced as well as their own.

As humanitarian access improves, revealing the magnitude of impact of the conflict, time has come to support both people who remained on their land and those who decide to return to their original livelihoods.

In Borno State alone, the population in crisisemergency and catastrophe phases of food insecurity (Phases 3 to 5 on the five-tiered scale used by humanitarian agencies) increased from 2 million in August 2016 to 3.3 million in October-December 2016. The worst-affected in this group are not able to feed themselves and have exhausted all resources by selling off their belongings, including seeds, tools and animals. Without intervention, that number is expected to climb to 3.6 million at the height of the lean season in August 2017.

The UN foresees around 120 000 people facing famine conditions in Nigeria. Of this number, the vast majority – some 96 percent — are expected to be in Borno.

Targeting the most vulnerable 

Emergency farming assistance must go hand in hand with food assistance for it to be successful throughout the upcoming lean season. To this end, FAO is collaborating with the World Food Programme to ensure vulnerable families — mainly IDPs and host communities — receive food assistance, and at the same time  agriculture-based livelihood support in the form of provision of seeds, tools and fertilizer. This way, they will able to restore and protect their livelihoods and farming assets for ongoing food production. 

FAO’s long-term strategy for the Lake Chad region puts a special emphasis on supporting refugees, internally displaced families and host communities, as these are the most vulnerable groups in this crisis. Interventions are geared to improving their food security and nutrition and building their resilience so they are better equipped to handle future shocks. In addition, restoring agriculture-based livelihoods will offer a unique opportunity to pave the way to recovery and peace in the affected areas.

The strategy incorporates not only provision of farming and livestock inputs but also technical training, cash transfers, instruction in natural resource management, and support in setting up community-managed funds that can reduce vulnerability to shocks.

Read More

Nigeria hunger crisis deepens, spills over into Lake Chad Basin

Photo: © REUTERS/ Akintunde Akinleye

Men work on a farm in a village on the outskirt of Zaria in Nigeria’s northern state of Kaduna. The country’s worst hit states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa have seen virtually no harvests for three to four years, making agriculture assistance more important than ever.

24 February 2017, Rome – As conflict and instability continue, the food security situation in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin is drastically deteriorating, FAO warned today, as it called for swift and decisive action from the international community to protect the livelihoods of millions of families dependent on farming, livestock and fishing for their food and livelihoods. 

With the next planting season starting in May, and with scarcity of animal fodder and water points during the lean season, it is crucial that crop seeds, tools and livestock support reach families urgently to limit the scope of the deepening crisis that now involves four countries: Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria.  

Some 7.1 million people are now severely food insecure across the four countries. Among them are 515 000 children who are suffering from severe acute malnutrition – a condition which, if untreated, can lead to permanent damage to a child’s development and even death. 

FAO is among the UN agencies and governments attending the Oslo Humanitarian Conference today, organized to mobilize international funding for the crisis-struck region, where 80 to 90 percent of people rely on farming, fishing and herding for their livelihoods.

“In the worst-affected areas, famine continues to loom — and millions will remain trapped in cycles of severe hunger if we don’t enable farmers to start cropping now,” said Dominique Burgeon, Director of FAO’s Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, who is representing FAO at the conference. “Our collective efforts cannot be limited to merely avoiding massive famine – they need to allow people to return to a dignified life. And supporting agriculture is the key to both,” he said.

Besides reducing hunger and boosting nutrition, investing in farmers also provides much needed job opportunities that reduce migration and limit the potential for radicalization of unemployed youth, according to Burgeon.

Crisis spilling across borders

Violence related to the armed group Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria has spilled over to parts of neighboring countries in the Lake Chad Basin – specifically, Cameroon’s Far North, western Chad and southeastern Niger – with devastating effects on food security and livelihoods. 

With the Lake Chad Basin approaching a critical period in the agricultural calendar, FAO is urgently calling for $30 million in immediate emergency support to help farming families in the four countries get ready to plant in the upcoming May planting season and prevent them from slipping into long-term dependency on food aid. 

A total of $232 million will be needed to secure food production and access to food for three million people in the worst-hit areas over the next three years. The vast majority of the requested funds – some $191 million – is designated for Nigeria, which is bearing the brunt of the crisis. 

Violence and displacement drive severe hunger

Violence has driven millions across the four countries from their homes and hampered access to agricultural lands and assets, creating massive humanitarian needs in an area already struggling with food insecurity, poverty and environmental degradation. Host communities, in particular, have been struggling for several years now to feed the displaced as well as their own.

As humanitarian access improves, revealing the magnitude of impact of the conflict, time has come to support both people who remained on their land and those who decide to return to their original livelihoods.

In Borno State alone, the population in crisisemergency and catastrophe phases of food insecurity (Phases 3 to 5 on the five-tiered scale used by humanitarian agencies) increased from 2 million in August 2016 to 3.3 million in October-December 2016. The worst-affected in this group are not able to feed themselves and have exhausted all resources by selling off their belongings, including seeds, tools and animals. Without intervention, that number is expected to climb to 3.6 million at the height of the lean season in August 2017.

The UN foresees around 120 000 people facing famine conditions in Nigeria. Of this number, the vast majority – some 96 percent — are expected to be in Borno.

Targeting the most vulnerable 

Emergency farming assistance must go hand in hand with food assistance for it to be successful throughout the upcoming lean season. To this end, FAO is collaborating with the World Food Programme to ensure vulnerable families — mainly IDPs and host communities — receive food assistance, and at the same time  agriculture-based livelihood support in the form of provision of seeds, tools and fertilizer. This way, they will able to restore and protect their livelihoods and farming assets for ongoing food production. 

FAO’s long-term strategy for the Lake Chad region puts a special emphasis on supporting refugees, internally displaced families and host communities, as these are the most vulnerable groups in this crisis. Interventions are geared to improving their food security and nutrition and building their resilience so they are better equipped to handle future shocks. In addition, restoring agriculture-based livelihoods will offer a unique opportunity to pave the way to recovery and peace in the affected areas.

The strategy incorporates not only provision of farming and livestock inputs but also technical training, cash transfers, instruction in natural resource management, and support in setting up community-managed funds that can reduce vulnerability to shocks.

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In Niger, Orlando Bloom meets families affected by Boko Haram violence

24 Feb 2017

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UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom on a visit to Niger to meet with children and families affected by Boko Haram violence.© UNICEF

Orlando Bloom, British actor and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently travelled to Diffa in south-east Niger where he met with children and families displaced by an insurgency led by Boko Haram militants.

The Diffa region currently hosts over 240,000 internally displaced persons, refugees and returnees, including 160,000 children.

Governments are being asked by the UN to help prevent a famine in the Lake Chad Basin which straddles the borders of Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon.

Lucy Dean reports.

The uprising by the Boko Haram Islamic militant group began eight years ago and was mainly contained in and around northern Nigeria.

The violence has now spread to three other countries: Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

More than 2.3 million people have been forced out of their homes because of the violent attacks and abductions carried out by Boko Haram, but also because of an ongoing regional military offensive to flush insurgents out of the West African region.

Hundreds and thousands of children across the region are displaced and are at risk of malnutrition.

By going to Niger, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Orlando Bloom hoped to shed light on the gravity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Lake Chad Basin.

As a father, Mr Bloom said, it was hard for him to hear the grim stories about children fleeing on foot and leaving everything behind, including the safety of their homes and classrooms.

Mr Bloom has supported UNICEF since 2007.

Lucy Dean, United Nations.

Duration: 53”

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Millions in Lake Chad suffering ‘at no fault of their own’ need world’s support, urges UN aid chief

23 February 2017 &#150 Ahead of a major donor conference in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, seeking to generate global action to tackle the complex crisis in Africa’s Lake Chad Basin, the top United Nations relief official highlighted that investing in support for the region will in turn help strengthen broader security around the world for all to benefit.

“The opportunity we have at this gathering in Oslo [is for a partnership] between those who have been calling for enormous amounts of support [in the region and] to make sure that we can meet the needs of people as they go through terrible suffering, through no fault of their own,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told UN News.

The UN aid chief’s comments come ahead of the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad Region, which will be held tomorrow and which will be hosted by Norway, together with Nigeria, Germany and the UN. Aiming to draw attention to the crisis, which has been largely overlooked, the event seeks to mobilize greater international involvement and increased funding for humanitarian efforts to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) – the UN’s relief wing ¬– nearly 11 million people in the region, comprising Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, need humanitarian assistance suffer from severe acute malnutrition, among them, about half a million are very young children – babies.

The appeal, amounting $1.5 billion will fund relief operations in the region, including, inter alia, providing life-saving food and nutrition support to 1.6 million people, livelihood support to 1.4 million, primary health care for 4.4 million, measles vaccinations for over one million children, education support for almost 300,000 girls and boys and safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene for 2.3 million displaced families and their host communities.

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VIDEO: UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, has made a strong case for the need to urgently assist over 10 million people in Africa’s Lake Chad Basin, noting that the humanitarian support “is an investment for all of us.”

Of the total population in need (10.7 million), about 8.5 million are in north-eastern Nigeria which has seen years of violence as a result of Boko Haram militancy.

In particular noting the challenges in north-eastern Nigeria, Mr. O’Brien hailed the work of the humanitarian actors on the ground “they are staying, they are delivering – there have been some terrible and tragic losses of very brave and brilliant aid workers – and they continue working in some of the most atrocious and difficult conditions.”

Pointing out that the 2016 appeal was only about 50 per cent funded, he underlined that it meant that “we can only do about half of what we know needs to be done,” said Mr. O’Brien, also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the head of OCHA.

Also, noting that the international community had to be a partner and show that it has enough capacity and enable relief programmes for those who need it the most, he said that the support would help ensure that “the people [in need] can get water and food; we can [avert] the terrible severe acute malnutrition, we can seek to avert famine, which is exacerbated by some of the climatic events, and indeed, climate change.”

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International community must not miss this chance to act on Lake Chad crisis

One of the world’s worst humanitarian crises is unfolding in West Africa’s Lake Chad region, where 11 million people are in urgent need of emergency aid.

Nigeria, its neighbours, and the world are struggling to find an adequate response. Failure to do so will condemn millions to more suffering, and raise the region’s vulnerability to violent extremism.

Donors meeting at the Oslo Humanitarian Conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region on Friday must seize the opportunity to act more effectively.

Up to 100,000 people may have died in the seven-year Boko Haram insurgency, according to Governor Kassim Shettima of Borno State in Nigeria’s northeast, the epicentre of the fighting. He says it has made orphans of 52,000 children.

More than 1.7 million people have been uprooted by the violence in Nigeria alone. The International Organization for Migration estimates that roughly 14 percent of the displaced have found shelter in government-run camps, most of which are ill-equipped and poorly administered.

But the vast majority survive on the benevolence of poor host communities, straining those limited resources still further.

Thousands of women and girls kidnapped by Boko Haram have suffered physical and psychological abuse, forced marriage, sexual slavery or compulsory labour. Some have been used as “suicide bombers”.

Boys, forcibly turned into combatants, have witnessed or committed gruesome atrocities and now battle their invisible trauma.

Although the region’s militaries have made great progress against Boko Haram since late 2015, and the insurgents have been weakened by both internal feuds and lean resources, continuing attacks on remote communities mean civilians are still at risk from the insurgency.

Local economies in ruin

The conflict has devastated the region’s infrastructure. In Borno, the violence has destroyed 30 percent of houses, and hundreds of schools, health centres, water sources, roads and bridges.

Food production has been hobbled by the flight of farmers, herders and fishermen. The Nigerian authorities’ decision to limit mobility and put several key trades, such as fuel marketing, under embargo as part of its counter-insurgency strategy has compounded the situation.

The exodus of large numbers of professionals, including school teachers and health care workers, has hollowed out social services.

The result is that roughly 11 million people across the four countries of the conflict-impacted Lake Chad region now need humanitarian assistance. In Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad, some 7.1 million people are facing severe food insecurity.

In northeast Nigeria alone, more than five million are in food crisis. By June this year, 120,000 people could be facing famine in pockets of the region, according to the UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA.

The international response

Since 2016, the humanitarian community has been struggling to strengthen its response, but inadequate international support has been a major drawback.  

First, the outside world has been slow to recognise the crisis because it was underestimated. But significant improvements in security have now allowed access to hitherto inaccessible areas. Media reporting has been patchy, both locally and internationally, compared to other humanitarian emergencies of similar scale.

Secondly, the crisis has not been accorded requisite policy attention by donor countries and agencies. Many would-be donors had assumed that because Nigeria, the main country impacted by the crisis, was oil-rich it was therefore capable of managing its challenge.

But even at the best of times, the needs of the country’s mostly poor 182 million population meant it had limited resources to respond to a major humanitarian crisis. Resources are sharply lower since the slump in oil revenues since late 2014 and have been depleted further since January 2016 by the sabotaging of domestic production by armed groups in the Niger Delta.

Some potential donors may also have been put off by long-standing concerns about corruption and accountability in Nigeria, and the government’s sensitivity to external involvement in the situation.

As one Western diplomat in Abuja noted, President Muhammadu Buhari’s charge that humanitarian agencies cooked up the crisis with “hyperbolic claims” in order to boost their own fortunes could be extremely discouraging to some potential donors.

Third, the donor response to funding appeals has been far short of the needs, an understandable result of the poor media coverage and low policy engagement. The UN assistant secretary-general and lead humanitarian coordinator for the Sahel, Toby Lanzer, recently observed that the $739 million required under the 2016 response plans was only 53 percent funded.

The Oslo conference is an opportunity to address the deficits in the international response. It provides a forum for better understanding the real dimensions of the crisis and forging a stronger compact between the international donor community, the governments of impacted countries, and UN and humanitarian actors on the ground.

It must, in particular, inspire greater donor commitment to fund the $1.5 billion response plan and appeal for 2017. 

Uprooting Boko Haram

The present humanitarian crisis has roots deeper than the Boko Haram insurgency. These include the region’s rapid and unsustainable population growth, the severe vulnerability of livelihoods resulting from climate change and environmental degradation, prolonged under-investment in social services, and the failure to alleviate mass poverty.

The Oslo Conference must, therefore, focus the international community on the necessarily longer-term engagements that these complex challenges demand.

Mobilising a more effective response to this crisis must be seen not just as an immediate gesture of international charity but also as a long-term investment in international security.

Failure to improve conditions in the region could exacerbate trans-Saharan migration to Europe’s shores – Nigeria was already the third largest source of migrants crossing the Mediterranean in 2016 – and transform the Lake Chad basin into an incubator for new extremist groups, with more ambitious goals and more global targets than Boko Haram.

As Borno State Governor Shettima warned at a conference in Abuja recently: “If we fail to take care of the 52,000 children orphaned by Boko Haram, then we must get ready that 15 years down the road, they will come back to take care of us”.

na/oa/ag

TOP PHOTO: Child receives treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Banki IDP camp, Borno State. CREDIT: Esiebo

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YPO Launches Second-Annual Innovation Week in May 2017

DALLAS, 23 February 2017 – For the second consecutive year, YPO will host Innovation Week, a series of more than 70 events around the world designed to bring together the world’s most dynamic innovators for a chance to connect, challenge conventional thinking and gain actionable, applicable insight. YPO, the world’s premier chief executive networking organization, will […]

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