The Group of Seven countries (G7) has pledged £276 million to support Nigeria’s crisis-ridden north east region to combat famine, Covid-19 and climate change disaster.
The G7 group is an intergovernmental organization comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The British High Commission made the pledge known in a statement on Monday in which it said the United Kingdom brokered the first G7 action plan to help save millions of lives from famine and humanitarian crises, including the £276 million for North East Nigeria.
It noted that the G7 agreed on the landmark collective action to significantly increase early action, supporting the United Nations to more than double its plans to tackle droughts, epidemics and other catastrophes before they strike.
According to the High Commission, the UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab announced the donation on 5th May 2021 as he wrapped up the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting where he noted that the action was aimed to tackle shared global challenges of Covid-19, famine and climate change.
“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 statement revealed.
It further revealed that “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”.
The G7 agreement, the statement noted, commits the 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, it said, includes £1 billion in aid prioritised to the three countries at greatest risk – Yemen, South Sudan and Nigeria.
The UK said the aid is not only about money. But also about diplomatic action, smarter financing and more effective responses to crises as well as addressing critical funding gaps. The UK and G7 are said to be committed to act earlier to avert crises, including by strengthening data and analysis to facilitate early action.
“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,” the statement disclosed.
The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing 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.”
The £1 billion prioritised to the three countries at greatest risk is distributed as follows; £578 million to Yemen, £246 million to South Sudan and £276 million to Nigeria. “The support is expected to 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,” the statement noted.