Statement by H.E. Ambassador Yasuhisa Kawamura Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations At the Briefing on the Situation in the Lake Chad Basin


Thank you, Mr. President.
 
I thank Under-Secretary-General Feltman and Ms. Fatima for their briefings.
 
Boko Haram represents an ongoing threat to the Lake Chad Basin, with devastating near-term humanitarian impacts and long-term socio-economic effects.  We are encouraged by the efforts of the countries in the region, including gains made through the Multinational Joint Task Force during the reporting period.  However, much more needs to be done to implement resolution 2349 and stabilize the region.  Allow me to highlight a few areas which need particular attention.
 
More than anything there are massive and immediate humanitarian needs.  The large-scale food insecurity and nutritional emergency requires not only more aid, but delivery and access.  There is a commendable effort to strengthen civil-military cooperation among humanitarian actors, the Multinational Joint Task Force, and national security services.  We encourage these actors to share information and best practices.  We also call for full implementation of the Tripartite Agreement between UNHCR, Cameroon, and Nigeria, which is essential for the safe and dignified return of refugees.  Japan is actively considering additional humanitarian assistance to counter food insecurity and nutritional emergency.
In addition to the immediate humanitarian response to the crisis, long-term investment in socio-economic development is required for early recovery. Following the Oslo Humanitarian Conference in February, the first Senior Officials Meeting of the Oslo Consultative Group last week expanded the focus to long-term stability and development, including through enhanced institutions.  Our efforts must build on this growing global attention to ensure that the UN’s technical expertise in development and peacebuilding is deployed coherently and effectively across the Lake Chad Basin.    
 
Both the Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council have visited the field individually.  These missions led to a shared awareness of the challenges facing the Lake Chad Basin and of the need to do more.  It has become clear that deterioration of the economy raises the risk of terrorist recruitment.  Local calls for job creation, education, and vocational training for youth are common throughout the region. The long-term impact of climate change to the socio-economic stability of the region and community also needs to be examined. The importance of enhancing community resilience to violent extremism by addressing the root causes of the Boko Haram insurgency cannot be overemphasized.
 
I would also like to draw attention to the disproportionate impact of sexual and gender-based violence on women and girls in the region by Boko Haram as well as other actors.  Female IDPs are also the most vulnerable during a humanitarian crisis, and a gender-responsive approach is a must.  
All actors must integrate gender analysis into their substantive work, including by adopting a gender-specific approach for protection and empowerment of women and girls victimized by or formerly associated with Boko Haram.  As a recent example of efforts to implement resolution 2349, Japan has funded a UNODC- and OHCHR-hosted sub-regional workshop in Yaounde, Cameroon in July to better integrate a gender perspective into criminal justice responses to terrorism.  This workshop supported multi-sectoral efforts by four countries as well as the AU to strengthen the criminal justice response while ensuring that women’s rights are respected. 
 
In a similar vein, we commend the recent UN-AU joint mission to Nigeria under the Deputy Secretary-General to support efforts to advance peace through women’s wellbeing and empowerment.  Empowering women and promoting their active role is essential to rebuilding society, as well as to strengthening community resilience against terrorism and violent extremism. 
 
Japan strongly supports the UN’s regional approaches to the Lake Chad Basin as well as the Sahel.  We also encourage UNOWAS and UNOCA to focus sustained attention on follow-up to resolution 2349 in this regard.  Japan looks forward to working together with international and regional partners to secure a better future for the region.
 
Thank you, Mr. President.