FOREWORD BY THE HUMANITARIAN COORDINATOR
The humanitarian crisis in north-east Nigeria continues as hostilities between Nigerian security forces and non-state armed groups enter their ninth year. Civilians still bear the brunt of the conflict that has resulted in widespread displacement, lack of protection, destroyed infrastructure and collapsed basic services. The food and nutrition crisis is of massive proportions. An estimated 7.7 million people in the three most affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe now depend on humanitarian assistance for their survival.
In 2016 and 2017, in close cooperation with the Government of Nigeria, the humanitarian community provided life-saving assistance and helped stabilise living conditions for millions of people. Mortality and morbidity were reduced and a further spillover effect prevented. In 2017, the response was scaled up and, as of October, had reached 5.6 million people. Some major successes were achieved, including a decrease in the number of food insecure people from 5.1 million to 3.9 million1, the rapid containment of the cholera outbreak through the innovative use of an oral cholera vaccine, improved agricultural production through assistance to 1.3 million farmers and access to a higher number of affected people. These results can be attributed to strong coordination, extensive engagement and generous funding. The Government of Nigeria succeeded in opening new areas in mid-2017 that enabled the humanitarian community to provide much-needed life-saving assistance.
Despite these achievements, many challenges remain as the conflict and population movements continue. Prior to the crisis, the region was already mired by chronic development challenges. Humanitarian assistance has prevented people from slipping below emergency thresholds, but it has not addressed underlying vulnerabilities. In the absence of a political solution, the crisis will likely continue into 2018. While a robust humanitarian response will be essential – especially in hardesthit Borno State – the protracted nature of the crisis creates new needs which require longer-term assistance. For the 1.6 million who are displaced from their homes, and the communities that host them, we need to find durable solutions. This requires longer planning horizons, more strategic interventions and flexible, longer-term funding.
The 2018 HRP is, therefore, underpinned by a multi-year strategy representing a paradigm shift as well as a commitment by the international humanitarian community to align with the Government’s Economic and Recovery and Growth Plan (2017-2020), the Buhari Plan and the United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership Framework (2018-2022). It is a step towards strengthening the nexus between humanitarian, development and peace interventions, in line with the New Way of Working and commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016. Partners will work together towards collective outcomes through joint analysis, planning and programming, and a coordinated platform for the delivery of humanitarian and development assistance.
The provision of life-saving emergency assistance to the most vulnerable remains our immediate priority. We will also scale up protection and resilience-based activities, and ensure better quality of our interventions. Capacitybuilding for local partners and Government counterparts will be prioritised across the response to strengthen national response mechanisms and ensure sustainability. In doing so, humanitarian partners will require $1.05 billion to reach 6.1 million people with humanitarian assistance.
In 2017, donors funded the appeal very generously: as of 31 December, we had received 70.5 per cent of the requested amount, which has enabled us to achieve tangible results. While we are aware that other large-scale crises also require donor support, it is essential to continue this positive momentum and build on the results attained. Should we fail to meet our targets, it could undermine the gains made to date.
I therefore call on your continuous support to the people in north-east Nigeria. Let’s work together to not only save lives today but also towards restoring stability to the region, ending the crisis and saving lives tomorrow.
United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Nigeria