Ministry Statements & Speeches:
Thank you Mr President. We thank Mr Feltman and Mr O’Brien for their firsthand engagement and insights on the Lake Chad Basin.
As we have heard, the region faces a range of very serious challenges: environmental and economic effects of climate change; lack of development; youth populations who aspire to greater economic and political participation; low commodity prices and the presence of groups promoting an extremist ideology.
We are deeply concerned by the displacement of millions of people across the region, may of whom are women and children, due to the actions of Boko Haram. This has been further exacerbated by the growing number of attacks in the southern Diffa region. This large scale displacement risks fueling further regional instability, and we agree that a concerted effort is required on resettlement and recovery for those effected.
Mr O’Brien outlined that there are over 9 million people in need across the Lake Chad Basin region, and Boko Haram’s continued actions are exacerbating an already difficult humanitarian situation. The disruption in farming and herding activities is contributing to a looming food crisis in Northeast Nigeria. So this meeting today is important in highlighting to the Council and the international community the sheer scale of the problems.
We welcome the gains made by the Multinational Joint Task Force and the Nigerian Army against Boko Haram, including the rescue of over 2000 abductees and the arrest of key Boko Haram members. We are also encouraged by the enhanced coordination by governments in the Basin area, including intelligence sharing with the establishment of an intelligence fusion cell in N'Djamena.
New Zealand supports and encourages regional solutions to regional issues. The MNJTF represents a practical example of a collective coordinated regional response to a threat that is inherently regional and cross-border in nature. Ensuring the MNJTF is adequately financed is critical. This also speaks to a deeper ongoing problem in the international community’s approach in funding regionally led counter terrorism and peace operations. New Zealand is strongly supportive of African calls for a long term solution to these financing questions that would provide regional organisations with more stable and predictable funding, recognising that there needs to be flexibility in specific cases.
As our briefers have said, this is not just a security issue. A military response is only part of the solution of defeating Boko Haram. It is necessary to address the conditions that have allowed extremism to take hold in the region, including political and economic marginalisation, limited access to education, scarce employment and economic opportunities and food insecurity.
Thank you Mr President.