Lake Chad Basin: Japan-Regional Stabilization Facility Partnership Extended in Cameroon

On Thursday, May 4, 2023, United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, and the government of Japan officially launched in Cameroon, the Japan-Regional Stabilization Facility partnership.

Photo credit: UNDP

Yaounde, Cameroon played host on May 4, 2023, to the signing ceremony aimed at officially launching the components funded by the Japan supplementary budget under the Regional Stabilization Facility, RSF and advancing strategic collaboration for the project’s implementation.

The one-year project dubbed: “Enhancing Stabilization and Human Security in the Lake Chad Basin” is funded by the government of Japan at 3.036 million USD.

To officialize this project, key actors were Japan’s Ambassador to Cameroon, Mr Takaoka Nozomu, UNDP’s Resident Representative, Mr Aliou Mamadou Dia, MINEPAT’s Representative and Governor of the Far North region, Midjiyawa Bakary who doubles as chairman of the forum of Governors of the Lake Chad Basin.

Through a Zoom video call, Cela Blerta, Head of the RSF project in the United Nations Development Programme expressed the will to see more impactful results from the project prolonged notably for the internally displaced persons who are in dire need of support.

UNDP’s Resident Representative in Cameroon, Mr. Aliou Mamadou Dia has praised the outstanding support of the Japanese government as a great move to advance Sustainable Development Goals.

In his key address, Mr. Aliou Mamadou Dia mentioned the fact that, UNDP has been the first UN Agency to accompany the elaboration of this strategy, yet under the leadership of different governments and the help of governors of the Lake Chad region.

“I wish to thank the Japanese government not only for financially supporting Cameroon with the RSF project these past three years but also for her crucial support programme that is currently underway in the North-West and South-West regions. The government of Japan is indeed standing beside African countries, Cameroon and neighbouring countries of the Lake Chad Basin and gives us the means to assist and support populations and communities affected by crises.” He added.

Mr Aliou Mamadou Dia believes the funds disbursed by Japan will positively impact the livelihood of people and create better conditions for the development of affected communities whose hope was shattered.

The Ambassador of Japan to Cameroon said his country has been advocating for the past 20 years for issues affecting the human security of people.

Mr Takaoka Nozomu said: “We are very much concerned about issues affecting populations and we wish to cooperate, and contribute to the enhancement and promotion of the welfare of local people… Signing the previous phase of this project some one year ago was my first assignment while I arrived in Cameroon and so, I am very glad to sign this second phase, hoping it will make great progress and success as the first phase did.”

On his part, the Far-North region Governor has lauded the immense support of the government of Japan.

Midjiyawa Bakary said: “On behalf of the government of Cameroon I wish to sincerely express kind regards to the government of Japan for this financial support to the entire crippled regions of the Lake Chad Basin. I wish to reassure the donors that these funds will reach the beneficiaries. The first aid that was granted some two years ago, for instance, served for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of infrastructures, equipment and materials as well as in the financial empowerment of vulnerable groups affected by the Boko Haram insurgency…”

Situation of the Lake Chad Basin

The Lake Chad Basin region faces a multi-dimensional crisis, with the ongoing insecurity related to violence perpetrated by Boko Haram factions compounded by the climate emergency and natural disasters. This has led to the loss of lives and livelihoods, food, insecurity, forced displacement, and changes in mobility patterns, which have in turn led to competition over scarce natural resources and pressure on public services.

The borderland communities in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger have a long history of socio-economic marginalization, limited state presence, and weak governance. In response, UNDP set up the regional stabilization Facility for the Lake Chad Basin area in July 2019 as a time-bound, localized and integrated mechanism to operationalize the RSS, Recovery and Resilience of the Boko Haram-affected areas of the Lake Chad Basin.

Regional Stabilization Facility, RSF

Going by the explanations of UNDP, the Regional Stabilization Facility (RSF) is a financing facility developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with support from governments to facilitate the implementation of the Regional Strategy for the Stabilization, Recovery & Resilience of the Boko Haram-affected Areas of the Lake Chad Basin (RSS) of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC). The RSS seeks to restore security and bring relief to communities affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria.

Elise Kenimbeni

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