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Nigeria's Humanitarian Response: Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) Oslo Humanitarian Conference Report, 24th February 2017

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Executive Summary

In recent years, violent conflict and human suffering have left an indelible mark on north eastern Nigeria and parts of Niger, Chad and Cameroon in and around the Lake Chad Region. The unfolding humanitarian crisis was largely overlooked prior to 2016 even as Boko Haram raids and suicide bombings wreaked havoc. However, over the course of the year momentum built rapidly for a response that was Nigeria “owned and led” and the establishment of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s (FGN) Inter-Ministerial Task Force (IMTF) to create a platform to support FGN’s humanitarian response in the north-eastern region of the country was widely welcomed.

Strengthened national leadership has been reflected in the government’s financial commitment to the humanitarian response mainstreamed through existing funding mechanisms. Whilst not the focus of this document, the Nigerian government has developed its own “mirror HRP” for the 7.1 million people it is targeting for assistance. Budgetary provision for over half of the 14 million in need in the 6 most affected states will be made through MDAs to alleviate hardship and to rebuild broken infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, schools, hospitals etc. Staff within the Ministry of Budget and National Planning are working hard to disaggregate the spending within the 2016 and 2017 budgets. A guide figure of State and Federal spend as part of the humanitarian response is anticipated to be in excess of $1 Billion.

The Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) was set up as the operational arm of the IMTF coordinating response efforts. In the last quartile of 2016, coordinated plans relating to the 2016 United Nation’s Humanitarian Response Plan were developed and the platform for ensuring the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan is supported and aligned with the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) humanitarian and development strategies,1 was secured.

On the tide of rising awareness and growing concern about the unfolding crisis, the humanitarian response was scaled up rapidly in the last quartile of last year and the 2016 humanitarian response was successfully achieved.

STRATEGIC OUTCOMES INCLUDE:

  1. The establishment of the Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) in record time

  2. Establishment and operationalisation of the Nigerian HCWG

  3. Development of the 2017 Humanitarian Needs Overview – Humanitarian Response Plan (HNO-HRP)

  4. The National Bureau of Statistics taking a central role to ensure verifiable data

  5. Organisation of strategic meetings with MDAs, international organisations and donor and diplomatic communities

  6. High-level Emergency Directors’ Group

  7. High-level mission of WFP Executive Director

  8. Synergies harnessed between Federal and State actors with international partners

  9. International representation/visibility

  10. Private Partnerships and collaboration

  11. Raising awareness of the humanitarian crisis within the general population in Nigeria

  12. Significant resource mobilisation initiated Arrival and operationalisation of Humanitarian Hubs in deep field

  13. Unprecedented scale-up of health and food security humanitarian activities

In addition to that, the Joint Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria 2017, partners will work to alleviate the most life-threatening needs of 6.9 million people located in the three most affected BAY states of North-East Nigeria, out of an estimated 8.5 million people in need in the same states. That is almost half of the total number - 14 million – in need in the 6 most affected states. As well as addressing the most urgent needs of food, nutrition and protection assistance, partners will increase equitable access to basic services for the most vulnerable people while building local capacity for humanitarian response.

Whilst initially, the priority was immediate life-saving interventions such as food security and healthcare provision, it is now clear and that the centrality of protection must be prioritised as a matter of urgency to ensure safe returns, access to livelihoods and ultimately to durable solutions. As the situation stabilises, gender based violence must come into focus.

The HCWG has facilitated civilian/military discussions and the gradual replacement of NAF by CivMil protection officers will also address some of the protection concerns. To date, over 3000 have been deployed.

Despite an unprecedented scale-up operation and significant achievements of the last year, process challenges remain including entry visas, non-governmental organisation (NGO) registration, import permits and tax waivers, access, providing other Items and services and, last but not least, funding.
The cost of implementing the Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria is $1.054bn. With a number of aid organisations vying for limited resources, securing finance to cover all the humanitarian needs in Nigeria has proven difficult. The forthcoming Humanitarian Conference in Oslo will focus on closing the funding gap.In addition to that, the Joint Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria 2017, partners will work to alleviate the most life-threatening needs of 6.9 million people located in the three most affected BAY states of North-East Nigeria, out of an estimated 8.5 million people in need in the same states. That is almost half of the total number - 14 million – in need in the 6 most affected states. As well as addressing the most urgent needs of food, nutrition and protection assistance, partners will increase equitable access to basic services for the most vulnerable people while building local capacity for humanitarian response.

Whilst initially, the priority was immediate life-saving interventions such as food security and healthcare provision, it is now clear and that the centrality of protection must be prioritised as a matter of urgency to ensure safe returns, access to livelihoods and ultimately to durable solutions. As the situation stabilises, gender based violence must come into focus.

The HCWG has facilitated civilian/military discussions and the gradual replacement of NAF by CivMil protection officers will also address some of the protection concerns. To date, over 3000 have been deployed.

Despite an unprecedented scale-up operation and significant achievements of the last year, process challenges remain including entry visas, non-governmental organisation (NGO) registration, import permits and tax waivers, access, providing other Items and services and, last but not least, funding.
The cost of implementing the Humanitarian Response Plan for Nigeria is $1.054bn. With a number of aid organisations vying for limited resources, securing finance to cover all the humanitarian needs in Nigeria has proven difficult. The forthcoming Humanitarian Conference in Oslo will focus on closing the funding gap.