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Remarks at Launch of the Supplementary Budget Appeal for UNHCR's Scale-Up Plan for North-East Nigeria

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Remarks at Launch of the Supplementary Budget Appeal for UNHCR's Scale-Up Plan for North-East Nigeria

20 September 2016

Friends, ladies and gentlemen, Good morning!

As the first global Summit on the refugee and migration crisis facing humanity today is underlining the paramount importance of international solidarity and responsibility sharing as the quintessential plateau for assuring responses that are adequate for the human, protection and solutions imperatives of the crisis of refugee displacement we face today, let me echo the welcome my colleague Daniel has just voiced to all of you for joining us here today for this launch of UNHCR’s supplementary submission to scale up its activities for the benefit of internally displaced persons in North-Eastern Nigeria along with their sisters and brothers who have returned spontaneously or otherwise from Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

My colleague the Deputy Director of the Africa Bureau will shortly present and elaborate the details of the appeal. On my part, allow me to make some few over-arching remarks.

First of all, while, today, UNHCR is launching its requirements to support a scale-up of its activities in the North-Eastern part of the country, it is critical to underline that this appeal and UNHCR’s response as a whole are but part of a broader Consolidated Scale – up Plan coordinated under the auspices of the Humanitarian Coordinator and OCHA. I am sure we will hear some remarks from OCHA in the discussion/question and answer phase of this event but I on my part want to call your attention to the Consolidated Appeal so as to see more fully and comprehensively the place and logic of the UNHCR appeal in the overall scheme of things and its crucial importance for the character and success of that Plan, especially as pertains to Protection as well as UNHCR’s other areas of responsibility, namely emergency shelter and camp coordination and camp management.

Drawing on this point about multi-dimensionality, let me also underline the importance of partnership and the inter-locking of all synergies at all levels in the design and delivery of the response. The appeal highlights and elaborates how this coordination and partnership will work at the inter-agency level (UN and NGO partners), but I would like to emphasize two other equally critical dimensions.

The first of these concerns the Nigerian authorities themselves at both the Federal and State levels. Their primary role to secure the safety, protection and welfare of the Nigerian people caught in this terrible crisis which still features heart-wrenching human and human rights vulnerabilities and exposure has been and will remain critical. For instance, we are highlighting here today that some nearly 500,000 IDPs will be accessed by the activities we are seeking funding for, yet that still leaves more than 1 million people out of systematic humanitarian outreach and reach. The role of the Government across the board – fundamental safety, access and indeed even the delivery of the response itself - will continue to be pivotal. In this connection, I acknowledge and interpret the presence of Nigerian Government representatives here today as reflecting the fact that they truly are and must be the first and most dependable responders in the effort to mitigate the humanitarian plight of the long-suffering Nigerian people in the North East.

Then, of course, I cannot underline enough the importance of donor partnership and leveraging. Today, we are seeking your support for $12.3 million of an overall requirement of $40 million that both Daniel and Millicent will detail in a few minutes. These are not absolute requirements. They are requirements set within the time-line from now to the end of the year. If we secure this funding ability in a timely manner, we are able to absorb and implement it. But that definitely will not be mission accomplished, especially as more and more people become visible and accessible. In other words, requirements will roll over into 2017 in both scope and volume. We appreciate very much the support that we continue to receive from you but allow me to reiterate the importance of both timeliness and fulsomeness.

Talking of attentivity, let me also confirm that we are very mindful indeed of the regional dimensions of this crisis. This is why I have drawn attention first to the 165,000 Nigerian refugees in the region and the even more directly inter-facing question of their return/repatriation. Beyond this, UNHCR is also playing its part in and coordinating properly with Mr Toby Lanzer, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel on the inter-related aspects of the efforts he is leading on the broader humanitarian crisis in that region as a whole – which of course touches the Nigerian Situation as well - drawing on and reinforcing the pertinent synergies, for instance around food security; the broader displacement and mobility of people; resource mobilization; and so forth.

I acknowledge that we have come to you several times already this year - including the launch of UNHCR’s regional plan Building resilience and solutions for Afghan refugees in South-West Asia and UNHCR’s Regional Response to the Northern Triangle of Central America Situation – seeking your support. This is a sobering reminder of both the persistence and enormity with which humanitarian displacement crises are continuing to unfold and the scale of the needs themselves which, in this region, I am afraid I have to say are weakly funded as you will hear further from Daniel in just a moment. I thus would like to end by calling once again for your every support in every way possible, in the most timely and fulsome manner possible, all of which will be very much appreciated.

Thank you very much for your attention.