DeAgostini/Getty Images

Issue No: 32/2020

COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor – 25 November 2020

During the COVID-19 crisis ACCORD's analysis will be focused on the impact of the pandemic on conflict and resilience in Africa.

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ACCORD COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor
References: AfricaCDC, ACLED and African Arguments

This week’s Monitor is a special edition on the Lake Chad Basin, with all the authors confirming that this region presents a complex and multidimensional crisis characterised by humanitarian emergencies, violent extremism, poverty and the effects of climate change. This complexity has now been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This edition features Ambassador Mamman Nuhu, executive secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, who opines that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly contributed to heightened economic needs, and threatens people’s livelihoods within the region. 

Dr Abubakar G. Iliya argues that COVID-19 has had severe impacts on the citizens of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in Nigeria, who were only recently starting to recover from the effects of Boko Haram’s violent insurgency. The efforts of multiple stakeholders to drive stability through development in the Lake Chad Basin has the potential to offer lessons for other regions in Africa, as argued by Dr Jide Martyns Okeke.  

While DrFatima Akilu acknowledges that COVID-19 has increased the exposure of those already vulnerable, in particular women, she points to the role of community resilience in assisting various communities to adapt to and cope with the additional effects presented by the pandemic. This week’s edition ends with a contribution by Dr Cedric de Coning and Dr Florian Krampe, reflecting on how climate change and related environmental challenges have increased social vulnerabilities, with COVID-19 becoming an additional stress multiplier. 

Managing Editor: COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor
Chief Editor: COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor​
ACCORD COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor

The Lake Chad Basin is faced with a multidimensional crisis, largely as a result of a complex combination of factors that include terrorist activities, extreme poverty and a changing climate. The combination of these factors has triggered significant insecurity and the displacement of populations. The area has grown into one of the most complicated humanitarian emergencies in the world, with threats to the livelihoods of over 45 million inhabitants. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region has therefore exacerbated existing challenges, making an already dire situation worse. The pandemic has significantly heightened the economic needs in the region and has presented serious challenges to the livelihoods of people in this region. These factors feed into conflict triggers, which contribute to further instability in the Lake Chad Basin.

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Awwal Bissala/Nigeria
Awwal Bissala/Nigeria

The impact of COVID-19 on the citizens of the Lake Chad Basin region – and, in particular, the BAY states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe – has been severe. The pandemic came at a time when the states were starting to recover from the devastating effect of the Boko Haram insurgency. COVID-19 has affected the post-insurgency recovery, livelihood support and infrastructure development activities undertaken by the respective state governments, partners and donors in the region. 

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Think Defence
Think Defence
Cross-border / Inter-State tensions

Blended Stabilisation? Experiences from the Lake Chad Basin region

  • Jide Martyns Okeke

A blended approach to stabilisation is emerging in Africa. It is characterised by a response to crisis-affected settings, which combines the predominance and sometimes necessary means of hard-security interventions and soft-security measures associated with political and development responses. The Lake Chad Basin experience represents a model that could create prospects for enduring stability in the region. It could also resonate in other parts of Africa, especially in the Horn, where there is a growing policy debate by the African Union (AU) and partners for reimagining regional and international support to the security environment in Somalia and the region. 

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CAROLINE CHAUVET/AFP via Getty Images
CAROLINE CHAUVET/AFP via Getty Images

The end of the second decade of the 21st century has been characterised by an increase in the decades-long disruption in the Lake Chad Basin. A trifecta of climate change, conflict and, recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a humanitarian crisis, whose foundation is embedded in decades of deep neglect, a lack of governance, a proliferation in ungoverned spaces, and the increased boldness and resilience of terrorists groups, including Boko Haram, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and elements of Al-Qaeda. A military campaign, led by a multitude of national, regional and international partners, as well as a growing civilian effort, coordinated by the Lake Chad Basin Commission, the African Union (AU), affected governments and international support, has perhaps been beset by a crisis of imagination. While the terrorists, though currently diminished, have been able to adapt and innovate, the state response is still hesitant and slow.

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Public Domain
Public Domain
Cedric de Coning
Political Unrest or Violence

Climate change, COVID-19 and the Lake Chad conflict

  • Florian Krampe
  • Cedric de Coning

Climate change is contributing to shaping the security and development context around the Lake Chad Basin. The governance deficits, underdevelopment and socio-economic plight of communities living in the Lake Chad Basin have been further exacerbated by environmental stresses and, most recently, also by the COVID-19 pandemic. Climate-related droughts exacerbate water shortages and related stresses, aggravate existing social vulnerabilities and impair the abilities of communities to adapt to changes in their social-ecological systems. 

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ACCORD recognizes its longstanding partnerships with the European Union, and the Governments of Canada, Finland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, UK, and USA.

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