Statement by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, at the Security Council Debate on Peace and Security in Africa. Report of the Secretary-General on situation of the Lake Chad Basin region —
First, let me thank you for convening this important meeting and USG Feltman for his comprehensive briefing to the Council this afternoon. Of course, I also thank Fatima Shehu Imam for her insightful perspective.
Over the past several months, the Council has devoted considerable attention to the Lake Chad basis region and as proof of this, most recently the situation in the region has been discussed during the UN-AU Annual Joint Consultative Meeting.
The crisis, which encompasses large areas of the territories of four countries [Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger] is one of the largest humanitarian emergencies worldwide, with several millions people in need of assistance.
During our visit to the region, we became directly aware of just how urgently we need to act to strengthen our response to confront the challenges there. While catalyzed by the Boko Haram insurgency, the crisis is actually multidimensional, and its root causes include climate change, poverty and underdevelopment, issues that the population in the region have been tackling for years and years.
As the international community came together in Oslo to provide desperately needed humanitarian relief, it is essential that the underlying causes of vulnerability in the Lake Chad Basin be also urgently addressed, lest the dependence on external assistance is prolonged for many years to come.
As a result of the commitments taken at the Oslo Conference, Italy continues to contribute, both bilaterally and through UN agencies, by funding projects aimed at promoting and strengthening the resilience of the local population while reducing the risk of internal displacements and migrations. We are about to launch a regional program which will be focused on these priorities. Under this program, the projects will have a longer duration with the aim of sustaining particularly youth with a wide range of tools, cash for work, micro-loans, training on the job.
Furthermore, in the framework of the SG Famine response strategy also in the case of Lake Chad region, we have already disbursed our financial pledges.
As highlighted in the comprehensive new report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), launched last week, deprivation, marginalization and weak governance are primary forces driving young Africans into violent extremism. The situation in the Lake Chad Basin Region sharply reminds us about the relationship between climate change, insecurity, population growth, unmet humanitarian needs and the risk of radicalization.
Crisis of this magnitude affect all of us, as they force mass displacement of people and foster conditions for illicit activities such as human trafficking and smuggling. It also underscore our responsibilities in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was also created to prevent and mitigate the impact of emergencies of this kind.
In this pathway through the stability, the respect of human rights must be guaranteed by any means. Children and women abuses or attacks against schools or hospitals wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed cannot be tolerated.
In this sense we would like to reiterate the fundamental role of women in prevent possible conflicts strengthening the process of national reconciliation by ensuring a gendered and inclusive perspective on issues of security, justice and governance.
We commends the UN and the African Union for having dedicated to one of the country of the Lake Chad region one stage of the first-ever joint high-level mission focused on women’s meaningful participation in peace, security and development.
To effectively address the security, economic, social and environmental dimensions of the crisis we support a regional, integrated and comprehensive approach. We welcome the announcement of the October Conference in Ndjamena and we commend the intitiative taken by the AU and the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
The perspective of this crisis is broader and inter-regional and it is interconnected with the instability in the Sahel. The terrorist threat and the scourge of trafficking in persons, drugs and arms are spreading across both regions and I would like to commend the efforts carried out by the countries of the region in order to provide stability and security as in the case of the MNJTF and the G5 Sahel force.
In this sense I would also like to recall the important role played by the European Union, one of the key partner of the Region. EU multidimensional action encompasses security, political and development cooperation and it is based on an integrated paradigm of policies which look at the Lake Chad region and at the Sahel as a whole geographical continuum.
At the regional level, we strongly support the efforts of UNOCA and UNOWAS and initiatives such as the G5 Force and IGAD’s Peace and Security Strategy, an important step toward a more proactive role of regional organizations in charting a path toward peace, security and development.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.