By Kairat Umarov
Ambassador Kairat Umarov is Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations. He was a member of the Security Council Visiting Mission to the Lake Chad Basin from March 2 to 7, 2017. The Permanent Representatives of France, UK and Senegal led the Mission. Kazakhstan joined the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for the two-year period 2017-2018.
NEW YORK (IDN) – The situation across the Lake Chad Basin is extremely fragile and volatile. Triggered by a deteriorating humanitarian situation, the crisis has worsened and is now the fourth largest on Earth, though barely known worldwide.
More than seven million people in the region – Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria – are internally displaced, while over 11 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Moreover, there is a compelling need to ensure human rights of children, youth, women and other vulnerable groups in the region.
The Boko Haram terrorist group remains a great threat despite the latest achievements reported by the countries of the region which have obtained some positive results through increased military cooperation. We commend the progress made by Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and other countries in reducing the geographical area of operational activity and potential of the terrorist organisation.
Kazakhstan strongly supports the work of the African Union, which is aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) – comprising units, mostly military, from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria – in the fight against Boko Haram.
This terrorist organisation is not threatening just the Lake Chad Basin, but also the entire African continent. In the struggle against Boko Haram, the international community must adopt a global approach, with the African countries taking the lead in operational functions.
Kazakhstan has campaigned for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the two-year period 2017-2018, highlighting energy, water and food security for all as the focus of its work. We must, therefore, ensure that all those in a vulnerable situation in the region are given that security.
The participation of my delegation in the Security Council trip fully complies with one of the main priorities of Kazakhstan's membership in the Council, as stated by President Nursultan Nazarbayev in his policy address to the Security Council – the restoration of peace and reconciliation on African continent.
It is important to note in this regard that significant numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons are adding pressure on host communities already facing insecurity.
We therefore support the ECOWAS initiative to create a Special Fund of Solidarity with the Victims of Terrorism. We are convinced that long-term stability and sustainable peace can only be achieved by understanding the strong connection between peace, security and development. In this regard, we should address the root causes of the crisis.
Kazakhstan shares the view stated by many Security Council members during the mission on the need to strengthening the security-development nexus as the bedrock of stabilisation, reconciliation and development of the Lake Chad Basin region.
The lack of jobs is one of the most serious root causes of the crisis, as recognised by the leadership of all four countries of the region. There is therefore a critical need for all international partners to address the problem of unemployment in the Lake Chad Basin.
We also firmly believe that all UN agencies in the region and regional organisations – ECOWAS and ECCAS – must adopt a single and comprehensive operative strategy for the region, allowing them to save financial resources that can be used on duly coordinated specific and effective programmes.
In this regard, Kazakhstan supports the proposal of the new UN Secretary-General to reform the United Nations structure by increasing the coordination, interaction and effectiveness of its agencies and bodies.
A critical problem facing the region is that some areas remain inaccessible for humanitarian actors due to the continued threat posed by Boko Haram terrorists. We believe that the Security Council members must focus on how to increase the volume of humanitarian aid to the region.
All international humanitarian aid must be effectively coordinated to ensure that it reaches its final destination in full and, of course, the disbursement of humanitarian aid should not be politicised and should help create jobs and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through synthesis between bottom-up approaches and top-down strategy in a way that brings about transformation
Regional approach is the only way forward. We therefore commend efforts and measures of the United Nation, the African Union and international organisations and governments to introduce peace initiatives in the Lake Chad Basin. [IDN-InDepthNews – 24 March 2017]
Photo: Ambassador Kairat Umarov, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United Nations (second from left) on Security Council mission to the Lake Chad Basin. The Permanent Representatives of France, UK and Senegal led the Mission Credit: UK Mission to the UN/Lorey Campese.
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