Lake Chad Basin
On 17 September, Security Council members held a ministerial-level open debate in VTC format on the humanitarian effects of environmental degradation on peace and security (S/2020/929). A concept note was circulated in advance of the meeting (S/2020/882). Kalla Ankourao, Niger’s Foreign Minister, chaired. The focus of the meeting was on the Sahel region and the Lake Chad Basin, although some participants broadened the geographical scope of the discussion. ICRC President Peter Maurer, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Ibrahim Thiaw, and UNCCD Earth Ambassador, artist and activist Inna Modja briefed. Maurer spoke about his recent visit to Niger and Burkina Faso, and the tensions precipitated by severe weather events. Thiaw spoke of violence precipitated in the Sahel region over dwindling access to land and water resources. Modja described efforts to plant vegetation and trees across the Sahel to enhance stability in the region.
On 9 July, Council members held an open VTC meeting (S/2020/706), followed by a closed VTC session, on West Africa and the Sahel. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, head of the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), presented the Secretary-General’s report on the region (S/2020/585). Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, the coordinator of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad, spoke about the link between climate change and security, in particular in the Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel. On 28 July, the Council adopted a presidential statement, proposed by Belgium and Niger, following up on the 9 July meeting (S/PRST/2020/7). The statement, among other things, expressed concern about the potential of the COVID-19 pandemic to exacerbate existing fragilities in West Africa and the Sahel, undermine development, worsen the humanitarian situation and disproportionately affect women and girls, children, refugees, internally displaced persons, older persons and persons with disabilities.
On 1 April, Council members issued a press statement condemning the 23 March terrorist attack in Boma, Chad, in which at least 98 persons were killed and 47 wounded, and the attack on military vehicles near Goneri in Yobe State, Nigeria, the same day, in which at least 47 persons were killed.
On 2 April, the Netherlands circulated a letter to Council members that provided a summary of the main points raised during the Council’s 22 March briefing on the Lake Chad Basin.
On 2 March, Council members issued a press statement condemning the 19 February Boko Haram kidnapping of 110 school girls in Dapchi, Nigeria, and a 1 March attack in Rann, Nigeria that led to the deaths of at least three humanitarian workers, four Nigerian soldiers, and four Nigerian police. On 22 March, the Council held a briefing on the Lake Chad Basin and the implementation of resolution 2349, with a focus on the root causes of the Boko Haram crisis. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed briefed, as did Mohammed Bila of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Chitra Nagarajan, a Senior Conflict Advisor with the think tank and public policy consultancy Adelphi. A concept note, prepared by the Netherlands as Council president, was circulated ahead of the meeting.
On 13 September, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman briefed the Security Council on the Secretary-General’s 7 September report on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin region. Fatima Shehu Imam, the Director of the Civil Society Organisations in Borno State, also addressed the Council, speaking via video teleconference. On 21 September, a high-level event was held on the humanitarian situation in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region as part of the General Assembly high-level week.
On 9 August, the Council adopted a presidential statement expressing its grave concern about the threat of famine presently facing more than 20 million people in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and north-east Nigeria. The statement was negotiated following the Council’s 16 June Arria-formula meeting on the risk of famine in these four conflict-affected countries.
Council members undertook a visiting mission to the countries of the Lake Chad Basin region from 2 to 7 March, travelling to Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, where the terrorist group Boko Haram continues its insurgency. Members sought to assess the threat posed by Boko Haram and signal their support to the four countries in confronting the group, as well as to understand better the scale of the humanitarian crisis created by the conflict, and the underlying root causes. In addition to meeting with government leaders and the UN country and humanitarian teams in the four countries, Council members travelled to Maroua, in Cameroon’s Far North region and to Maiduguri in Borno State, Nigeria, to meet displaced persons and refugees, local authorities and military commanders. On 9 March, the three co-leads, France, Senegal and the UK briefed the Council on the visiting mission. Discussions proceeded among some members, initially on a follow-up presidential statement, that was eventually made into a draft resolution. On 31 March, the Council adopted resolution 2349, its first resolution on the Lake Chad Basin crisis, which highlighted in separate sections issues of security and protection of civilians, the humanitarian crisis, and root causes and development.
On 12 January, the Council received briefings from Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Tayé-Brook Zerihoun and OCHA head Stephen O’Brien on the Lake Chad Basin crisis precipitated by the Boko Haram conflict. Fatima Yerima Askira of the Borno Women Development Initiative and Youth Programmes Coordinator at Search for Common Ground Nigeria also briefed via video teleconference from Maiduguri, Nigeria. A number of Council members expressed support for a proposed Council mission to the Lake Chad Basin region.
On 27 July, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and OCHA head Stephen O’Brien briefed the Council, at the request of the UK, on the humanitarian, political and security situation in the Lake Chad basin as a result of the Boko Haram conflict.
On 13 May, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2016/7) welcoming Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s initiative to convene a high-level Regional Security Summit to evaluate the regional response to Boko Haram (S/PV.7692). It stated that Boko Haram continues to undermine peace and security in West and Central Africa and expressed alarm at its linkages with ISIL. The statement further highlighted the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin region created by the conflict.
On 2 February, Council members issued a press statement condemning the 30 January Boko Haram attacks.
Council members issued a press statement on 12 October condemning the 10 and 11 October terrorist attacks by Boko Haram in Baga Sola, Chad and Kangaleri, Cameroon.
On 28 July, the Council adopted a presidential statement commending Lake Chad Basin Commission members and Benin for their efforts to operationalise the MNJTF. The statement called upon the international community and donors to support the MNJTF, welcomed AU plans to organise a donors’ conference in support of the force and requested member states to contribute generously to an AU Trust Fund. In this regard, the presidential statement invited the Secretary-General to support the planned donors’ conference and requested him to advocate strongly with the international community and donors in support of these efforts.
On 7 April, Council members issued a press statement condemning recent attacks by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria and Chad (SC/11852). The statement also urged, ahead of a planned summit between the Economic Community of West African States and the Economic Community of Central African States, for the two regional organisations to develop a common strategy and develop active cooperation and coordination to more effectively combat the Boko Haram threat.
On 30 March, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Kyung-wha Kang and the head of the UNOWA, Special Representative Mohammed Ibn Chambas, briefed the Council on the security, political and humanitarian situation in Boko Haram-affected areas, followed by consultations. During March, four expert level meetings were held on a draft resolution on Boko Haram and the Multinational Joint Task Force that had been introduced by Chad on behalf of the three African members of the Council. Following differences that arose during these negotiations between Chad and Nigeria over whether the resolution should be adopted under Chapter 7, on 26 March, the draft was raised under “any other business”.
In February, Council members issued three press statements condemning Boko Haram attacks: SC/11763 on 2 February, SC/11768 on 5 February and SC/11780 on 13 February. In addition, the 2 February statement urged enhanced regional cooperation to combat the group and commended Chad’s assistance. The 5 February statement also welcomed the expert meeting being held in Yaoundé, Cameroon to complete the concept of operations for the Multinational Joint Task Force.
On 8 January, the Council was briefed by the Special Representative and head of UNOWA, Mohammed Ibn Chambas on the UNOWA report. He highlighted the fragile political situations in a number of West African countries in the lead up to presidential and legislative elections in 2015 and 2016. He placed particular emphasis on the risk of pre- and post-electoral violence for Nigeria’s elections in February and the impact of the Boko Haram insurgency. On 19 January, the Council adopted its first presidential statement on Boko Haram. It condemned recent Boko Haram attacks, highlighting the group’s use of children as suicide bombers on 10 and 11 January and Boko Haram’s attack on the town of Baga, Nigeria from 3 to 7 January. The Council deplored human rights violations by the group and expressed serious concern over the scale of the growing humanitarian crisis. Expressing deep concern that Boko Haram was undermining the peace and stability of the West and Central African region, the Council urged Lake Chad Basin Commission countries and Benin to undertake further planning toward the operationalisation of the Multinational Joint Task Force to combat the group.
On 10 December 2014, the Council adopted a presidential statement expressing its concern at the grave security situation in parts of Central Africa, in particular the ongoing crisis in the Central African Republic and its regional impact, the continuing threat of the LRA and the expansion of Boko Haram terrorist activities into countries in the sub-region. It also requested that the Secretary-General keep the Council informed through a single report on UNOCA and the LRA by 15 November 2014 (S/PV.7334).
Special Representative Said Djinnit briefed the Council on 8 July on the Secretary-General’s UNOWA report, followed by consultations. The next day Council members issued a press statement welcoming Djinnit’s efforts in his capacity as UN High Representative to Nigeria and wider international efforts to address the threat of Boko Haram; expressing concern over the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and endorsing the establishment of a new analytical unit in UNOWA.
Following a 5 May attack by Boko Haram that killed hundreds at a market in Gamboru Ngala, Nigeria, Council members issued a press statement on 9 May that condemned the attack, and also condemned the 14 April abduction of 276 schoolgirls and the 5 May kidnapping of eight girls. The statement further expressed the Council’s intention to consider further measures against Boko Haram. On 22 May, the 1267/1989 Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee listed Boko Haram, subjecting the organisation to an arms embargo and assets freeze.