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US$351 urgently needed for food security, nutrition in North-east

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US$351 million is urgently needed by the UN and partners to intervene  and save lives in North-East Nigeria as underlined by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in partnership with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) at a Joint Advocacy Event on Food Security and Nutrition in North-East Nigeria in Abuja on 8 April 2022. The initiative aimed to raise awareness and advocate for urgent resource mobilization from both the international community and the Nigerian Government.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Mr. Matthias Schmale called to leverage the resilience of local communities and partners and to work to move beyond emergency assistance and help people grow their own food, build livelihoods and strengthen their resilience. He stated that 4.1 million people in north-east Nigeria are projected to be food insecure in the upcoming lean season. The requested US$ 351 are part of the overall $1.1 billion required for the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria. This crisis is taking place in a highly vulnerable region, where more than 8.4 million people require humanitarian assistance and protection.

The Head of Special Duties at the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Madam, Ms. Nadia Soso, and the representative of the Permanent Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development agreed on the criticality of the food security and nutrition situation in the north-east, which affects people’s health and well-being. They reiterated their commitment to address the food and nutrition situation of affected people through planning, strategy and policy development. While everyday presents a new challenge for community members affected by crises, government representatives called on donors and local and international partners to remain supportive, commending their effective partnership.

The United Kingdom (UK) High Commissioner to Nigeria and Chairperson of the North-east Ambassadors’ Group, Ms. Catriona Laing, called for additional funding and attention to the crisis, noting that the cost of inaction is higher than that of taking action. She said that the UK supports people affected by the conflict in Ukraine, but not at the expense at other crisis, calling on other donors to do the same and for all partners to work collaboratively to address vulnerability. She noted the increased costs of food, fertilizer, fuel, etc., which are also leading to incremental rises in the cost of delivering humanitarian assistance. She appealed to partners to address humanitarian needs but also to work to implement long-term solutions, including stabilization programmes in locations where the security situation allows it, increasing accountability in the humanitarian response and supporting the government’s social safety net interventions.

The French Ambassadress to Nigeria, Ms. Emmanuelle Blatmann, reiterated her government’s commitment to address food insecurity through joint large-scale programmes with WFP, FAO and the European Union (EU). She noted that the government is providing €166 million for food aid globally, including 50 per cent of that to Africa. Ms. Blatmann also indicated that France is to support the Economic Community of West African States with funding for food aid in situations of drought. The EU reinforced its political and financial commitment to partner countries in Africa. About €554 million in 2022 will be targeted at increasing food security in Sahel and Lake Chad.

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