The United Kingdom (UK) has brokered the first G-7 action plan to help save millions of lives from famine and humanitarian crises, including £276 million for victims of Boko haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorism in North East Nigeria.
In making the approval, the G-7 agreed that the landmark collective action will significantly increase early action, supporting the UN to more than double its plans to tackle droughts, epidemics and other catastrophes before they strike.
The agreement on famine specifically commits G7 nations to urgently provide an initial £5 billion in aid to 42 countries one step from famine or catastrophe.
Towards this, £1 billion of this will be prioritised to the three countries at greatest risk – £578 million to Yemen, £246 million to South Sudan and £276 million to Nigeria.
Tigray in Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso and the Central Sahel, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Sudan and Syria are also of particular concern. G7 financial commitments are for the calendar year 2021.
The support will ensure people have access to food, clean water and sanitation, that children have access to lifesaving malnutrition treatment and that all civilians are protected from violence.
According to a statement from the British High Commission, Abuja, “the UK is driving co-ordinated action to tackle shared global challenges of Covid-19, famine and climate change, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced on 5th May 2021 as he wrapped up the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting.
“At the meeting, which took place in London, G7 countries agreed action to protect the most vulnerable people around the world from climate-related disasters, help millions of people at imminent risk of famine, humanitarian crises and ensure equitable access to life-saving Covid-19 vaccines.
“The triple threat of conflict, Covid-19 and climate change has meant the risk of famine is now a devastating reality many countries face. Millions of people in Yemen, South Sudan and North East Nigeria are already in crisis.
“The crisis in North East Nigeria is more than a decade old. According to UN OCHA, there are 8.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance there. 1.9 million people have been displaced from their homes and one million people are in areas outside humanitarian access. In North East Nigeria, 4.36 million people are projected to be in crisis and emergency levels of food security this lean season (June-August). The UK is seriously concerned about the status of civilians living in the inaccessible areas, over 800,000 people of whom are reaching critical levels of food insecurity and have extremely limited access to basic services such as healthcare.
“On Wednesday the UK coordinated a landmark commitment by G7 countries to tackle the root causes of famine and address the sharply rising numbers of people in need of lifesaving aid. This agreement commits G7 nations to urgently provide an initial £5 billion in humanitarian assistance to 42 countries one step from catastrophe or famine, with further funding to follow over the course of this year. The initial funding includes £1 billion in aid prioritised to the three countries at greatest risk – Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria – to be provided as soon as possible to save lives.
“The UK has been a leading donor to the humanitarian response in North East Nigeria since the international effort scaled up in 2016. The UK is providing a comprehensive package of support to address the root causes of conflict and provide humanitarian assistance to meet the immediate needs of conflict-affected communities in Nigeria. UK humanitarian funding is delivered by UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in areas where it is needed most and according to humanitarian principles of independence, impartiality, neutrality, and humanity; with respect for the dignity of those affected. UK support includes provision of lifesaving food and treatment of malnutrition.
“This is not only about money. It is also about diplomatic action, smarter financing and more effective responses to crises. As well as addressing critical funding gaps, the UK and G7 committed to act earlier to avert crises, including by strengthening data and analysis to facilitate early action.
“The G7 committed to promote humanitarian access, respect for International Humanitarian Law, and protection of civilians. They will continue to lobby for safe humanitarian access for aid workers to ensure humanitarian support reaches those who urgently need it, particularly those in hard to reach areas and conflict zones. This is particularly relevant in North East Nigeria where communities daily suffer the consequences of war, including the estimated one million people inaccessible to humanitarian actors due to insecurity; despite international law obligating all parties to a conflict to enable safe, sustained, and unhindered access to all civilians in need of assistance.
“In addition, the G7 committed to supporting the World Bank Group and UN preparedness and early action work to ensure the international community acts to prevent crises as well as respond to them.”
Catriona Laing CB, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria said:“I welcome the G7’s commitment of £276 million for North East Nigeria. It is vital we act now to avert further deterioration in the food security situation of millions of people affected by the conflict.
“Just as the UK is working with Nigerian partners to find solutions to the crisis in the North East, the G7 are working together to find global solutions to global problems and protect those hardest hit by these challenges. Together we can shape a better future.”