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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria

    GENÈVE, 21 juillet (HCR)– La violence et l'insécurité ont continué d'entraîner des mouvements de population dans le nord du Nigéria et les pays voisins, a déclaré mardi (21 juillet) l'Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés.

    Dans la région isolée de l'Extrême-Nord du Cameroun, un flux incessant de réfugiés nigérians quitte la zone frontalière instable entre le Nigéria et le Cameroun en quête d'abri à une centaine de kilomètres à l'intérieur des terres, au camp de Minawao qui est géré par le HCR et ses partenaires.

    Selon le personnel du HCR sur le terrain, environ 100 personnes s'enregistrent en moyenne chaque jour dans le camp, qui a ouvert en juillet 2013. La population du camp est passée d'environ 30 000 personnes à la fin de l'année dernière à environ 44 000 personnes aujourd'hui.

    « Les arrivants dans le camp sont surtout des ressortissants nigérians qui avaient précédemment fui vers le Cameroun pour échapper à la violence au nord-est du Nigéria, mais qui ont préféré rester près de la frontière en espérant un retour rapide à la maison. Les réfugiés ont indiqué avoir fui les attaques de militants dans l'État de Borno, au Nigéria, » a déclaré Leo Dobbs, porte-parole du HCR, lors d'un point de presse à Genève.

    Au cours des dernières semaines, il y a eu plusieurs attaques et affrontements du côté camerounais de la frontière. Le Cameroun a notamment connu son premier attentat-suicide, le 12 juillet, à Fotokol, ville de l'Extrême-Nord.

    Réagissant aux troubles, les autorités camerounaises ont commencé à enregistrer les réfugiés nigérians dans la zone avoisinant la frontière.

    « Le personnel du HCR sur le terrain a signalé que le processus d'enregistrement inquiétait certains réfugiés, qui craignent d'être renvoyés au Nigéria contre leur gré, » a ajouté Leo Dobbs.

    Le porte-parole du HCR a également déclaré que le HCR et les autorités camerounaises consultaient actuellement les réfugiés dans la zone frontalière pour savoir où ils voulaient aller.

    « Des réfugiés voudront retourner dans les zones sûres du Nigéria, et d'autres souhaiteront rejoindre le camp de Minawao. Le processus se poursuivra dans les jours et semaines à venir, » a-t-il expliqué.

    Certains des arrivants dans le camp ont dit qu'il n'y avait plus de nourriture pour eux là où ils étaient près de la frontière et qu'ils voulaient profiter de la distribution de nourriture à Minawao. Un grand nombre d'arrivants sont hébergés temporairement dans une école faite de bâches qui est fermée pendant les vacances estivales.

    Le camp est situé dans une zone relativement aride ; le bois utilisé pour la construction des abris provient des régions forestières du sud du Cameroun. Il faut au moins deux jours pour le transport du bois par camion.

    « Nous avons toujours eu un problème avec l'approvisionnement en bois, » a dit l'un des responsables du camp, « et lorsque le bois nous arrive, nous manquons parfois de clous pour la construction des abris. »

    La chaîne de montagnes spectaculaire qui chevauche la frontière entre le Cameroun et le Nigéria est visible depuis le camp de Minawao.

    Les montagnes sont l'un des endroits où les insurgés nigérians auraient des repaires, selon des réfugiés qui connaissent la région. Des soldats des forces militaires régionales alliées (surtout des armées du Nigéria, du Tchad, du Niger et du Cameroun) conduisent des opérations communes contre les insurgés depuis plusieurs mois.

    Les opérations se déroulent sur un vaste territoire en Afrique occidentale et centrale. Elles auraient entraîné la dispersion de certains des insurgés. Mais l'activité des insurgés n'a pas totalement cessé.

    Pour des raisons de sécurité, le HCR a un accès limité à la région de l'Extrême Nord. Toutefois, selon le HCR, le nombre de réfugiés non enregistrés dans la région serait d'environ 12 000. Les autorités camerounaises disent que les réfugiés pourraient être au nombre de 17 000.

    Par ailleurs, dans la région de Diffa, au sud du Niger, les autorités signalent l'arrivée de quelque 2 500 personnes en provenance du Nigéria après une attaque menée par des militants contre la ville nigériane de Damassak, la semaine dernière.

    Les arrivants sont surtout des femmes, des enfants et des personnes âgées. Ils arrivent dans les villages frontaliers de Chetimari et de Gagamari, situés à 20 km de Damassak. Selon les autorités nigériennes, quelque 80 pour cent des arrivants seraient des réfugiés nigérians; les autres seraient des rapatriés nigériens.

    Certains des arrivants avaient fui leur domicile l'année dernière après une première attaque contre Damassak et sont revenus récemment. Certains réfugiés sont hébergés dans les mêmes familles qui les avaient accueillis l'année dernière ; d'autres dorment en plein air ou dans des abris de fortune.

    La plupart des arrivants ont expliqué qu'ils préféraient rester à Chetimari et à Gagamari, plutôt que d'aller dans le camp de réfugiés de Sayam Forage, qui est situé davantage à l'intérieur des terres.

    « Ils espèrent rentrer au Nigéria le plus rapidement possible. La population locale a partagé ses maigres ressources avec eux, y compris l'eau et la nourriture. Les équipes du HCR ne peuvent pas accéder à la zone frontalière pour des raisons de sécurité, » a déclaré Leo Dobbs.

    Plus de 100 000 personnes ont fui le Nigéria et trouvé refuge au Niger depuis le milieu de 2013. L'insécurité a aussi entraîné le déplacement de 18 400 Nigérians vers le Tchad et d'au moins 1,5 million de personnes à l'intérieur du Nigéria, principalement dans les États d'Adamawa, de Borno et de Yobe.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Nigeria


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    Source: UN Special Envoy for the Sahel
    Country: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger

    N’Djamena, 23 July 2015 - The Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Sahel, Ms. Hiroute Guebre Sellassie, held discussions today with the Commander of Operation Barkhane, General Jean-Pierre Palasset, on the security situation in the Sahel and the support of Operation Barkhane to the efforts of the Sahel countries to address the challenges that they are facing.

    The Special Envoy and General Palasset had concurring views on the nexus between development and security and the need to take simultaneous actions in these two areas for sustainable stability in the Sahel.

    To this effect, they noted some positive of progress in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel, notably the pooling of means as well as better military and security cooperation between the States of the region, and the reinforcement of the support of international partners, including through Operation Barkhane.

    They underlined the need to urgently implement development projects, especially in disadvantaged and remote areas, in order to consolidate the military gains, reduce the vulnerability of populations, and prevent the youth from enrolling in terrorist and criminal groups.

    Ms Guebre Sellassie and General Palasset agreed on the need to reinforce information sharing between the Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Sahel (OSES) and Operation Barkhane.

    Bureau de la Communication et de l’Information Publique
    Kouider Zerrouk, Chef de bureau – (+221) 33-869-8560 / 77- 3324928 – zerrouk@un.org
    Vicky Delore Ndjeuga, Chargé de communication – (+221) 33-869-8544 / 77- 3339414 – ndjeuga@un.org
    Angelita Mendy Diop, Chargée de communication – (+221) 33-869-8547 / 77-450-6181– mendya@un.org


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Abuja, Nigeria | AFP | Tuesday 7/28/2015 - 20:05 GMT

    Nigeria's army said Tuesday it had liberated 30 hostages held by Boko Haram, including 21 children and seven women, amid ongoing offensives against the extremists in the country's northeast.

    Army officials said the operation to free the captives took place in the town of Dikwa in Borno State, which had fallen to Boko Haram twice since April, and was recaptured by Nigerian troops last week.

    "As a result of ongoing operations under the aegis of Operation Lafiya Dole to clear Dikwa and its environs from Boko Haram... (the) Nigerian Army yesterday rescued 30 persons from the hands of the terrorists," army spokesman Sani Usman said in a statement.

    "They include 21 children and a six-day-old infant, seven women including three nursing mothers, and two elderly male adults," he said.

    Dikwa is located around 90 kilometres (56 miles) east of Borno state capital Maiduguri.

    Earlier Tuesday, 11 Boko Haram militants were killed in clashes with the military in a village in southern Borno state, a local resident and a member of the militia fighting alongside the army said.

    Three militia fighters were also killed in the battle.

    "On Monday afternoon around 2:00 pm (1300 GMT), Boko Haram gunmen on motorcycles attacked our village," said Markus Yohana, a local militia member fighting the Islamists in the village of Dille.

    Yohana said that soldiers ambushed the raiders as they tried to flee, killing 11.

    Another local, Bitrus Damina, confirmed the account.

    "Soldiers went after them and killed 11 of them in the bush," Damina said.

    Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks since Nigeria's new president Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in May.

    The wave of violence has claimed 830 lives in just two months, dealing a setback to a four-country offensive launched in February that had chalked up a number of victories against the jihadists.

    On Tuesday, Nigeria's military spokesman told AFP a new regional force tasked with fighting the jihadists will go into action soon.

    The 8,700-strong Multi-National Joint Task Force, drawing in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, is expected to be more effective than the current alliance in the battle to end Boko Haram's six-year insurgency that has claimed some 15,000 lives.

    "Any moment‎ from now, the operations or the Task Force will be manifest. In other words, we may not tell you (when it will commence), you will just see it," Nigeria's military spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade told AFP, who declined to give further details for strategic reasons.

    The force will have its headquarters in Chad's capital N'Djamena. A Chadian military source said offices had been set up in an army camp there for the new force's chief of staff.

    abu-cdc/bc/cb

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: International Fund for Agricultural Development
    Country: Niger

    Rome, 28 July 2015 – Today the Republic of Niger and the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed an agreement to finance the Family Farming Development Programme (FFDP) in Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder Regions. The funding comprises a US$24.25 million loan, a $24.25 million grant and an additional $13 million grant from IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP).

    The new Niger programme aims to boost family farming agricultural production, ensure food and nutrition security and increase rural households’ resilience to climate change in the regions of Maradi, Tahoua and Zinder. It will help smallholder family farmers involved in agro-pastoral activities to increase and diversify agricultural production by scaling up production techniques and small-scale irrigation systems. The Programme will invest in rural infrastructures such as rural roads, collection centres, and market logistics to facilitate better and more efficient linkages between production areas and consumption centres.

    The total cost of the programme is $207.2 million. The government of Niger is contributing $33.4 million while the OPEC Fund for International Development is contributing a $6 million loan and the Italian Cooperation a $28.2 million loan. The remaining funding comes from an $8 million grant from Global Environment Facility, ongoing IFAD projects in the country to the value of $10.5 and a contribution of $11.1 million from beneficiaries. IFAD will provide an additional $48.5 million.

    The financing agreement was signed on 25 July 2015 by Amadou Boubacar Cissé, Minister of State for Planning, Land Management and Community Development of the Republic of Niger, and by Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD.

    “In Niger, family farming remains the main source of agricultural production and is essential, not only for national food and nutrition security, but as a source of revenues for most of the population of the country,” said Vincenzo Galastro, IFAD Country Programme Manager for Niger. ”But it is still vulnerable to the effects of climate change. If we want to support and improve the performance and the development of the family farming in Niger as well as in all the Sahel, we must take action to adapt the country’s production system to climate change, taking advantage of the growing opportunities offered by the local, national and regional markets.”

    The FFDP will be implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture of Niger and will reach more than 290,000 households, with particular attention to women and young people.

    Since 1980, IFAD has invested a total of $206.9 million in 12 programmes and projects in Niger, which has generated a total investment of $515.5 million, benefiting about 1,023,200 households.

    Notes to Editors
    Vincenzo Galastro, Country Programme Manager for Niger will be available for interviews in person or by telephone.

    Press release No.: IFAD/58/2015

    IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided nearly US$16.6 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 445 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN's food and agriculture hub.

    Contacts

    David Paqui
    IFAD Communications Division
    Tel: +390654592213
    Cell: +393357516406
    d.paqui@ifad.org


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    Source: International Fund for Agricultural Development
    Country: Niger

    Rome, le 28 juillet 2015 – Le Gouvernement de la République du Niger et le Fonds international de développement agricole des Nations Unies (FIDA) ont signé un accord pour financer le Programme de développement de l'agriculture familiale (ProDAF) dans les régions de Maradi, Tahoua et Zinder. Le financement comprend un prêt de 24,25 millions d’USD, un don de 24,25 millions d’USD et un autre don supplémentaire de 13 millions d’USD du Programme d’adaptation de l’agriculture paysanne (ASAP).

    Le nouveau programme du Niger vise à booster la production de l’agriculture familiale, assurer la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle et à accroître la résilience des ménages ruraux au changement climatique dans les régions de Maradi, Tahoua et Zinder. Il aidera les petits agriculteurs familiaux engagés dans des activités agro-pastorales à accroître et à diversifier la production agricole en développant les techniques de production et des systèmes d'irrigation à petite échelle. Le programme va investir dans réhabilitation ou la construction des infrastructures rurales à savoir les pistes rurales, les centres de collecte, et les logistiques du marché afin de mieux faciliter et de façon plus efficace les liens entre les zones de production et les centres de consommation.

    Le coût total du programme est de 207,2 millions d’USD. Il est cofinancé par le Gouvernement du Niger avec une contribution de 33,4 millions d’USD tandis que la contribution du Fonds de l’OPEP pour le développement international sera un prêt de 6 millions d’USD et la Coopération italienne un autre prêt de 28,2 millions d’USD. Le reste du financement sera d’un don de 8 millions d’USD du Fonds pour l’environnement mondial, une contribution de 10,5 millions d’USD prove3nant des projets en cours appuyés par le FIDA dans le pays et 11,1 million d’USD venant des bénéficiaires eux-mêmes. Le FIDA va allouer ultérieurement un montant supplémentaire de 48,5 millions d’USD.

    L'accord de financement a été signé le 25 juillet par Amadou Boubacar Cissé, Ministre d'État, Ministre du Plan, de l'aménagement du territoire et du développement communautaire de la République du Niger, et Kanayo F. Nwanze, Président du FIDA.

    "Au Niger, l'agriculture familiale demeure la principale source de la production agricole. Elle est primordiale, non seulement pour la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle nationale, mais aussi comme une source de revenus pour la plupart de la population nigérienne", a déclaré Vincenzo Galastro, Chargée de programme pays pour le Niger. " Mais elle est encore vulnérable aux effets du changement climatique. Si nous voulons soutenir et améliorer la performance et le développement de l'agriculture familiale au Niger aussi bien que dans tout le Sahel, nous devons prendre des mesures pour adapter le système de production du pays au changement climatique, en profitant des opportunités croissantes offertes par les marchés locaux, nationaux et régionaux."

    Le ProDAF sera exécuté sous la tutelle du Ministère de l'agriculture du Niger. On estime que plus 290 000 familles rurales vont bénéficier du programme, avec une attention particulière aux femmes et aux jeunes.

    Depuis 1980, le FIDA a financé 12 projets et programmes au Niger d’un montant total de plus 515,5 millions d’USD, dont 206,9 millions d’USD proviennent de ses propres ressources ayant bénéficié directement à plus d’1 million de familles.

    Notes aux Rédacteurs
    Vincenzo Galastro, Chargé de programme pays pour le Niger sera disponible pour des entretiens sur ce nouvel accord de financement, directement ou même par téléphone.

    Communiqué de presse No.: FIDA/58/2015

    Le FIDA investit dans les populations rurales, en les autonomisant afin de réduire la pauvreté, d'accroître la sécurité alimentaire, d'améliorer la nutrition et de renforcer leur résilience. Depuis 1978, nous avons octroyé environ 16,6 milliards d'USD sous la forme de prêts à faible taux d'intérêt et de dons en faveur de projets qui ont touché quelque 445 millions de personnes. Le FIDA est une institution financière internationale et un organisme spécialisé des Nations Unies dont le siège est à Rome – le centre névralgique des Nations Unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture.

    À contacter:

    David Paqui
    FIDA, Division Communications
    Tel: +390654592213
    Cell: +393357516406
    d.paqui@ifad.org


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  • 07/28/15--23:53: World: UNMAS News July 2015
  • Source: UN Mine Action Service
    Country: Mali, South Sudan, Sudan, World

    UNITED NATIONS DESTROYS 290 TONS OF OBSOLETE AMMUNITION IN MALI

    At the request of the Malian Defence Forces, in June 2015, UNMAS completed a six-month project to dispose of 160 tons of obsolete and unserviceable ammunition, consisting of 32,500 items stored in unsafe conditions. Since 2014, UNMAS has destroyed over 290 tons of ammunition similar to this in Mali, ranging from surface-to-air missiles, rockets, mortar bombs, artillery shells and small arms ammunition. A recent request by the Ministry of Defense for the destruction of an additional 130 tons of heavy ammunition will be addressed with the launch of further disposal activities in August 2015.

    The UNMAS programme in Mali is an integral part of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), which is mandated to ensure the safe and effective management, storage and security of national stockpiles and the collection and/or destruction of surplus, seized, unmarked or illicitly held weapons. Under this mandate, UNMAS works with national authorities to improve safety and storage at weapon and ammunition depots countrywide. UNMAS experts examine storage site security, the condition of ammunition and explosives and requirements to strengthen national capacity in safety management and explosive ordnance disposal. This vital work decreases the risk of accidental explosions and limits the proliferation of explosive items.


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    Source: Deutsche Welle
    Country: Mali

    Germany's defense minister Ursula von der Leyen is in Mali. On Tuesday she was present at a ceremony to mark the handover of command of the European Training Mission in Mali (EUTM).

    Germany has now replaced Spain as the country in command of EUTM. Spain had previously occupied this role under General Alfonso Garcia-Vaquero Pradal.

    About 600 EU military specialists have been providing enhanced combat training to Malian troops since 2013. The EUTM specialists come from 24 European nations, 160 of them are from Germany. Germany's Brigadier General Franz Pfrengle will now be the mission's commander for the next ten months.

    The defense ministers of Spain and Austria, Pedro Morenes Eulate and Gerald Klug, were also present in Bamako to witness the handover.

    Ursula von der Leyen said Europe knows "what is at stake" in Mali. After a meeting with her Malian counterpart Tieman Hubert Coulibaly, von der Leyen said if the mission succeeds, Mali will become "an anchor of stability" in the region.

    Coulibaly stressed the need for Mali "to begin with the disarmament and demobilization process in order to re-integrate former combatants."

    Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, has extended the mandate of the Bundeswehr in Mali to 2016 and increased the number of German soldiers from 150 to 350.

    Mali’s defense minister said Bamako already has "a close cooperation" with Berlin. "We have at least 400 personnel who have received training in Germany. There’s a bilateral program between Germany and Mali that also involves the training of the national gendarmerie," Coulibaly said.

    Prior to the handing over ceremony, von der Leyen met with representatives from the country's troubled north. The discussion was centered on weapons and drugs trafficking by radical Islamist groups, who rely on the trade to finance their activities.

    Extremist groups have succeeded in recruiting many young Malians, who have lost hope of finding work at home. Instead, they make the dangerous journey through the desert and then across the Mediterranean Sea to seek greener pastures in Europe.

    Von der Leyen said that making Mali a safer and more prosperous place will ensure "people do not consider taking the perilous journey to Europe."

    "They can realise that that they have prospects in their home countries and will not seek their future in Europe", she said.

    The rise of the Tuaregs

    Mali's north was completely overrun in 2012 by Tuareg rebels known as Ansar Dine and two other jihadist groups, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.

    In response to a call for help from the government in Bamako, French forces carried out operations throughout the country and pushed the rebels back into smaller pockets of territory.

    On 18 February 2013, at the request of the Malian authorities, the European Union launched a military training mission for the Malian armed forces with an initial mandate of 15 months. The EUTM, under the command of Spanish General Pradal, trained over 5,500 Malian soldiers at the Koulikoro training camp near Bamako.

    The troops have been taught to clear mines and detect booby traps and unexploded bombs. The Malians now have the capacity to construct and dismantle roadblocks and have improved their communications.

    Long way to go

    Earlier this month, Malian troops said they killed several jihadists near the country's southern border with Ivory Coast and destroyed the insurgents' camp.

    But the German defense minister said there is still a long way to go "before the Malian armed forces can undertake the security of the country on their own."

    The United Nations peacekeeping mission to Mali (MINUSMA) has over 11,000 troops stationed in the north of the country. But Lieutenant Colonel Markus Milde, a German officer with MINUSMA, said they do not have enough troops to go out on patrols.

    "We are building the barracks at the moment," he said. "This will take a few months, but once we are finished we will begin to send troops out."

    Udo Bauer, DW's correspondent traveling with Germany's defense minister, contributed to this article.


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    Source: Child Soldiers International
    Country: Chad

    Over the last six months, Child Soldiers International has found worrying evidence of child rights violations by the Chadian army, and non-compliance with child protection commitments by the Chadian authorities. These include: inadequate provision of interim care to children formerly associated with the Séléka armed group, resulting in dozens of children absconding from a transit centre; the non-implementation of a protocol for the handover of children captured from armed groups, which had been signed with the UN; the alleged sexual abuse of children by Chadian troops operating in Central African Republic (CAR) in 2013 and the apparent failure of the Chadian authorities to investigate these allegations.

    Chad is currently facing many security and humanitarian challenges due to its involvement in the fight against Boko Haram in Nigeria (resulting in several attacks by the group on its territory, including in the capital N’Djamena), and its hosting of hundreds of thousands of refugees and returnees from Sudan, CAR and Nigeria. However, one year after its army was removed from a UN list of child rights violators for child recruitment and use, and given its increasing military role in the sub-region, Chad must continue to demonstrate its capacity and willingness to protect and promote the rights of all children affected by armed conflict.

    Child Soldiers International recommends that the government of Chad continue to devote adequate capacity and resources to the comprehensive implementation of the 2011 Action Plan on children associated with armed forces and armed groups and its Roadmaps, and of the protocol on the handover of children signed with the UN in 2014. The government should also ensure that all children formerly associated with armed groups are provided with appropriate assistance for their physical and psychological recovery, family reunification and social reintegration. In addition, Chad should immediately launch an independent investigation into the allegations of sexual abuse of displaced children in CAR involving three of its soldiers and cooperate fully with all UN investigations on the matter. Finally, the Chadian government should draft its long overdue initial report on its implementation of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC).

    Child Soldiers International also recommends the UN Secretary-General issue a public report detailing the Chadian government’s record on the protection of children in armed conflict since the delisting of its armed forces in July 2014. Such a report, as well as the government’s OPAC initial report, would provide a good opportunity to assess progress and address ongoing challenges in the protection of children from recruitment and from the impact of armed conflict.

    Read the briefing in full


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    Yaoundé, Cameroon | Wednesday 7/29/2015 - 11:57 GMT

    Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari arrived in neighbouring Cameroon on Wednesday for talks on how to combat the escalating regional threat from Boko Haram Islamists.

    Security was tight for the 24-hour visit, after a surge of Boko Haram violence in Cameroon including an unprecedented series of five suicide bombings in the far north.

    Presidential guard soldiers were posted on rooftops of houses and along the route from the airport to the presidential palace in Yaounde, while vehicles armed with machine-guns patrolled the streets and access to the hotel where Buhari will stay was blocked.

    The trip comes a day after Nigeria vowed that a new regional force tasked with fighting the jihadists would go into action soon.

    Nigeria's presidency said Buhari's talks with Cameroonian President Paul Biya were part of his "ongoing effort to build a more effective regional coalition against Boko Haram".

    Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks since Buhari took office in May, unleashing a wave of violence that has claimed 800 lives in just two months.

    The Nigerian president has already visited neighbouring Chad and Niger, which have also suffered from attacks by the Islamist fighters.

    Nigerian military spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade told AFP on Tuesday that the new regional force would be operational "any moment from now", without giving a specific date.

    The 8,700-strong Multi-National Joint Task Force, drawing in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, is expected to be more effective than the current alliance in the battle to end Boko Haram's six-year insurgency that has claimed some 15,000 lives.

    Cameroon itself also announced Tuesday it would be sending 2,000 more troops to the north to take on Boko Haram.

    rek-cl/txw/pvh

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    CAMEROUN

    33 TUÉS DANS DES ATTENTATS SUICIDES
    Le 25 juillet, 20 personnes ont été tuées lorsqu’un kamikaze a attaqué un bar de la ville de Maroua, la capitale de la région de l'Extrême-Nord. L'attaque, la plus meurtrière perpétrée par le groupe islamiste jusqu'à présent au Cameroun, était la troisième dans la région en deux semaines. L'Extrême Nord du Cameroun a été pris pour cible à plusieurs reprises par des insurgés de Boko Haram. Aucune insuffisance en termes de médicaments et de matériel médical n’a été rapporté jusqu'ici, mais MSF estime que si d’autres attaques se produisent, la capacité des centres de santé sera dépassée.

    TCHAD

    7 000 NOUVEAUX DÉPLACÉS SIGNALÉS DANS LA RÉGION DU LAC
    Au cours de la semaine dernière, des déplacements spontanés de grande ampleur ont été observés dans la région du Lac par crainte de Boko Haram. On rapporte plus de 7 000 personnes déplacées. Ces derniers sont extrêmement vulnérables pendant la saison des pluies dans une zone où le choléra est endémique. Les partenaires humanitaires sur le terrain sont en train de développer des actions d'intervention pour les abris, la santé et le WASH. Une mission menée par OCHA et comprenant la Commission nationale d’accueil et de réinsertion des réfugiés et des rapatriés (CNARR) et l’UNICEF a rencontré le 27 juillet les autorités locales et a parcouru la route entre Bol et Baga Sola et procédé à une évaluation préliminaire des besoins.

    LES CAS DE ROUGEOLE CONTINUENT D’AUGMENTER AU TCHAD ORIENTAL
    Entre le 1er et le 15 juillet, quelques 122 cas de rougeole, dont deux décès, ont été signalés dans la région orientale d'Abéché, par rapport à 189 cas et trois décès en juin. Le 21 juillet, un plan d'intervention ciblant plus de 62 000 enfants à Abéché a été lancé par les partenaires (Délégation du Ministère de la Santé, UNICEF, OMS, MSF-Hollande et PU-AMI). D’ici la fin du mois de juillet, tous les enfants âgés de six mois à 14 ans seront vaccinés. L'épidémie est probablement due au retour des orpailleurs du Soudan voisin, qui se bat pour contenir la pire épidémie de rougeole de ces dernières années.

    NIGERIA

    BOKO HARAM S’EMPARE DE TERRITOIRES
    Boko Haram s’est récemment renforcé dans certaines parties du nord-est et s’est emparé de cinq zones de gouvernement local dans les États de Yobe et Borno, selon des sources médiatiques nigérianes. Des attaques régulières des insurgés ont continué dans le nord-est cette semaine, dont trois explosions soupçonnées d'être des engins explosifs improvisés (EEI) à Gombe le 23 juillet, tuant 40 personnes.

    AFFLUX DE RAPATRIÉS NIGÉRIANS
    Un flux constant de rapatriés nigérians a été rapporté traversant la frontière instable entre le Cameroun et le Nigeria à Mubi, zone de gouvernement local de l'État de l'Adamawa dans le nord-est. Des sources gouvernementales ont indiqué avoir reçu 154 rapatriés au camp de Malkohi, près de la capitale de l'Etat de Yola, en date du 23 juillet. Ils attendent encore 340 rapatriés suite à des attaques suicides récentes au Tchad.

    REGIONAL/ MALADIE A VIRUS EBOLA (MVE) DÉCOMPTE DE FIN D’ÉPIDÉMIE AU LIBÉRIA
    Le compte à rebours pour déclarer le Libéria exempt du virus a commencé le 24 juillet, un jour après que le dernier patient confirmé ait été libéré. Des formations sur la surveillance et la gestion de dépouilles MVE est en cours dans les comtés avec le soutien de l'OMS. Le 21 juillet, en Guinée, une campagne de détection des cas MVE a commencé dans les zones de Matam et Ratoma dans la préfecture de Conakry. En Sierra Leone, deux cas MVE dans les zones urbaines de l'ouest, l'un des foyers du virus, ont soulevé des préoccupations au sujet des lacunes dans la recherche des contacts et le suivi médical.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone

    CAMEROON

    33 KILLED IN SUICIDE BLASTS
    On 25 July, 20 people were killed when a suicide attacker struck a bar in Maroua town, the capital of the Far North Region. The attack, the most deadly of its kind so far, was the third in the region in two weeks. Cameroon’s Far North Region has been repeatedly targeted by Boko Haram insurgents. No gap in terms of medication and medical material is reported so far, but MSF estimates that in case other attacks occur, capacity of health centres will be overwhelmed.

    CHAD

    7,000 NEW INTERNALLY DISPLACED REPORTED IN LAKE REGION
    Over the last week, large spontaneous displacements have been observed in the Lake region due to fear of Boko Haram. An estimated new 7,000 IDPs have been reported. The IDPs are extremely vulnerable as they sleep in the open in the current rainy season in a choleraendemic area. Humanitarian partners on the ground are working to develop response actions for shelter, WASH and health. An OCHA-led mission including UNICEF and Chadian refugee authorities (CNARR) met on July 27 with the local authorities to undertake a preliminary needs assessment between Bol and Baga Sola.

    MEASLES CASES CONTINUE TO RISE IN EASTERN CHAD
    Between 1 - 15 July, some 122 cases of measles, including two deaths were reported in the eastern Abeche region compared to 189 cases and three deaths in the whole of June. On 21 July, a response plan targeting over 62,000 children in Abeche was launched by partners (Delegation of the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, WHO, MSF-Hollande and PU-AMI). By the end of July, all children between six months and 14 years will be vaccinated. The outbreak is likely due to the return of gold miners from neighbouring Sudan, which is battling to contain its worst measles outbreak in recent years.

    NIGERIA

    BOKO HARAM SEIZES TERRITORY
    Boko Haram has been gaining strength recently in parts of the northeast and has captured five Local Government Areas in Yobe and Borno States, according to media sources. Regular attacks by the insurgents continued in the northeast this week, including three explosions suspected to be IEDs in Gombe on 23 July, killing 40 people.

    INFLUX OF NIGERIAN RETURNEES
    A steady flow of Nigerian returnees has been reported crossing the volatile border between Cameroon and Nigeria into the Mubi Local Government Area of Adamawa State in the northeast. Government sources in Adamawa reported that as of 23 July they had received 154 returnees into Malkohi camp near the state capital Yola. They are expecting a further 340 returnees following recent suicide attacks in Chad.

    EVD REGIONAL COUNTDOWN TO EBOLA-FREE LIBERIA STARTS
    Liberia’s countdown towards being declared Ebola-free again started on 24 July, a day after the last confirmed patient was discharged. Training on EVD surveillance and dead body management is ongoing in counties with WHO support. On 21 July in Guinea, an EVD case detection campaign started in Matam and Ratoma areas of Conakry prefecture. In Sierra Leone, two EVD cases in Western Urban Area, one of the hotspot districts for the virus, have raised concerns about shortcomings in contact tracing and medical follow-up


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    Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Country: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Togo

    Abnormally wet conditions are continuing for several nations in the western Gulf of Guinea region

    Moisture deficits worsen further in southeast Sudan, Eritrea and parts of Ethiopia with a continued lack of rainfall.

    1. A premature cessation of rains for bimodal regions of southern Ghana, Togo, and Benin has led to increased moisture deficits and negative impacts. A delayed onset of the rainy season, followed by poorly-distributed rainfall, led to abnormal dryness across Burkina Faso, the central and northern parts of Ghana, Togo, and Benin, western and southern Niger, and northern Nigeria.

    2. A delayed onset and general lack of rainfall has resulted in abnormal dryness across northwestern portions of Ethiopia, western Eritrea, and eastern Sudan. The most impacted states in Sudan are Gadaref, Sinar, and Blue Nile, including important agricultural regions where much planting is being delayed. Additionally, a delay in any substantial rainfall for eastern Amhara Province in Ethiopia is already negatively impacting vegetation there

    3. Infrequent and light rains since the beginning of the season have led to insufficient rainfall totals to date for some southern portions of Chad. Affected regions include Batha, Biltine, and Ouaddai. A rainfall performance between 5 and 50% of normal thus far has led to low soil moisture and poor conditions for vegetation.

    4. A slightly delayed start to the season with only sporadic light rains in recent weeks has resulted in abnormal dryness for Gambia and central areas of Senegal. Dry ground conditions have reportedly led to delayed planting and negatively impacted the


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam, World

    El Niño in Asia: Prolonged dry weather in several countries affecting plantings and yield potential of the 2015 main season food crops

    • Prolonged dry weather associated with El Niño has impaired the production outlook for the ongoing 2015 main season in several countries, including Cambodia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, the Philippines and Viet Nam

    • Although rains improved somewhat in the second dekad of July in parts, more rains are essential in the coming weeks to avoid a significant decrease in the 2015 cereal production in these countries

    • Elsewhere in the region, prospects for the 2015 main rice crops remain overall favourable so far

    • Forecasts pointing to a continuation of El Niño conditions until the winter months of 2016 have also raised concerns for the forthcoming 2015/16 secondary cropping seasons, to be planted from October onwards


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    Source: Catholic Relief Services
    Country: Burkina Faso, United States of America

    by Anna Ruiz

    Registration Open for 3,500 Volunteers

    BALTIMORE, MD, July 28, 2015 – Attendees at the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015, are invited to join Helping Hands – a fun, multi-generational, meal-packing event that fights hunger and energizes people about the mission of ending global hunger. Created by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Stop Hunger Now, Helping Hands has set a goal of 200,000 meals to be packed over three days of the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 Congress. Participants are invited to sign-up for one or more hour-long meal-packing shifts. Individuals or teams of people to pack meals can register online. The web address is: www.crs.org/HelpingHandsWMOF. Those registered and exhibiting at World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 such as families, groups of friends, alumni, religious orders, and diocesan groups are all encouraged to register.

    The 200,000 meals, containing a special mixture of fortified food, will be shipped to the West African nation of Burkina Faso where an ongoing drought has created a hunger emergency for orphans, widows and people living in poverty. The international humanitarian aid agency, Catholic Relief Services, will use the food for people who are malnourished.

    “We’re excited to bring this Helping Hands event to the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015. This is one way to live out the Holy Father’s call to go and serve people at the margins,” said Joan Rosenhauer, Executive Vice President of U.S. Operations for CRS. “CRS brings a high level of expertise and compassion to helping the world’s poorest people improve their lives. It’s the right of all families to thrive. Packing these fortified meals is a great way to put your faith in action on behalf of those who need our help.”

    This Helping Hands meal packing event will take place in the Pennsylvania Convention Center at the rear of Exhibit Hall B. There, each shift of volunteers will receive a brief training on how the packaging stations operate and hear from special guest Thomas Awiapo, who will share his story of overcoming hunger as a boy in Ghana. Other guest speakers, videos, music and a ‘gong ringing’ Master of Ceremonies will keep the pace lively, informative and entertaining. Each packing session will last an hour and will complete 30,000 meals containing dehydrated rice/soy fortified with 21 essential vitamins and nutrients.

    CRS and Stop Hunger Now have teamed up to build a movement in the United States to end world hunger. Both are faith-based nonprofit organizations that believe that feeding the hungry is a moral imperative for all people of faith. Both organizations understand “feeding the hungry” means providing food and lifesaving aid to the world’s most vulnerable people and applying expertise to help our neediest brothers and sisters to feed themselves.

    Mary Beth Yount, Director of Content and Programming for World Meeting of Families 2105‘ says ‘Every service to others, and especially international service activities like Helping Hands, provides us a unique way to live out our faith, to shower love on our global community, and to grow together in unity and love.’

    CRS is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the U.S. CRS’ mission is to help families in some of the most troubled parts of the world to have a better, healthier life.

    CRS helps poor families thrive in more than 100 countries, focusing on the areas of health, agriculture, and emergency relief. CRS also helps families in the U.S. live out their Catholic faith. CRS also partners with other relief organizations to serve others around the world, answering Pope Francis’ call to “go to the margins.” CRS seeks to strengthen families and communities through its focus on integral human development of the whole person.

    For more information about Helping Hands visit: helpinghands.crs.org/stop-hunger-now

    The World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 is being hosted by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and sponsored by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family. For more details on World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 and Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., please go to

    www.WorldMeeting2015.org.

    Additional resources for journalists:

    Visit crs.org/families for more information about how Catholic Relief Services supports families around the world.

    Por Español: crsespanol.org/familias.

    CRS Newswire for up-to-date information on CRS’ work and emergency relief as it happens.

    Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the U.S. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion, or nationality. CRS’ relief and development works are accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV awareness, prevention, and intervention, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit www.crs.org or www.crsespanol.org and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media: Facebook, Twitter at @CatholicRelief and @CRSnews, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    CONTACT: Susan Walters Catholic Relief Services 443-955-7103 susan.walters@crs.org

    Tom Price Catholic Relief Services 410-951-7450 Cell 443-951-7245 tom.price@crs.org


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Nigeria

    Kano, Nigeria | AFP | Thursday 7/30/2015 - 11:41 GMT

    Boko Haram Islamists slit the throats of 10 fishermen in villages near Baga on the shores of the Lake Chad in northeastern Nigeria, a leading fisherman and a resident said Thursday.

    "On Monday around 4 pm (1500 GMT), Boko Haram attacked three villages on the shores of Lake Chad where they slaughtered 10 people, all of them fishermen," Abubakar Gamandi, head of the fishermen's union in Borno State, told AFP.

    The account was confirmed by a local fisherman, Buhari Dan-Malam, who lives in Doron Baga.

    "The Boko Haram gunmen came around 4:00 pm and they attacked three villages (that are five kilometres/three miles from Doron Baga). They slit the throats of 10 people," he also told AFP.

    The villages attacked were Bundaram, where they killed four people, Fishdam, where they killed two people, and Kwatar Mali, where they killed four people," Gamandi said.

    "Boko Haram decided not to use guns so as not to attract the attention of soldiers from Baga. This is why they used knives to slaughter their victims," he said.

    The fishing villages around Baga were abandoned in January after some of the most deadly attacks by the sect.

    But "in the last one month, residents in the Baga area displaced by the Boko Haram takeover of the area in January have been returning to some villages secured by the military to continue their fishing business," Gamandi said.

    "They take their (fish) catch back to Maiduguri (the state capital) to sell and make a living because living in the IDP (internally displaced people) camps has become difficult due to lack of food."

    The army had authorised the displaced people to go back to fish in the villages, he added.

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo

    HIGHLIGHTS

    On 20 July, the Central African constitution court overturned a decision made by the transitional Parliament on 30 June that would have prevented Central African refugees from voting in October’s presidential elections. UNHCR met twice with the vice president and some members of Parliament following which a note was sent to the transitional Parliament to explain the importance of refugee participation in elections and UNHCR’s role as a facilitator. Central African authorities are reportedly reluctant to having refugees participate for fear of electoral fraud.

    On 22 July, the acting Humanitarian Coordinator condemned the recurring deadly attacks on humanitarian and civilian convoys on the Baboua-Garoua Boulai axis which is the main supply route to Cameroon, by presumed Front démocratique du peuple centrafricain (FDPC) elements. One attack on a WFP convoy carrying food for IDPs in Baboua and escorted by MINUSCA peacekeepers resulted in the death of a truck driver while several passengers were injured. This situation will greatly impact on supplies of goods in CAR and Bangui in particular.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Afghanistan, Armenia, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Republic of Tanzania, Viet Nam, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    Highlights

    · FAO’s global cereal price index continued to fall in Q2-2015, down 19 percent year-on-year.

    · The real price of wheat dropped a further 9 percent over the last quarter. Prices are 33 percent lower than in Q2-2014, thanks to increased global supply and lower consumption.

    · The real price of maize has fallen by 3 percent since Q1-2015 and is 21 percent lower than inQ2-2014. However, global production for 2015/16 is set to be lower and thus prices are likely to rise.

    · The real price of rice has dropped 10 percent since Q1-2015 and is 8 percent lower than last year. Global rice production for 2015/16 is expected to be higher than last year.

    · If the negative El Niño predictions hold true on a wide scale, international food prices as well as domestic prices in the affected countries are expected to rise.

    · In Q2-2015, the real price of crude oil rose by 15 percent compared to Q1-2015 but prices are still 43 percent lower than during the same period in 2014.

    · The cost of the minimum food basket increased severely (>10%) during Q2-2015 in eight countries: Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. High increases (5–10%) were seen in Burundi, CAR, Chad, Colombia, Lebanon and Sierra Leone. In the other 55 monitored countries, the change was low or moderate (<5%).

    · Price spikes, as monitored by ALPS (Alert for Price Spikes), are evident in Chad, India, Ghana, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen and Zambia. These spikes indicate crisis levels for at least one of the two most important staples in the country, whether they are cassava meal, maize, millet, rice, wheat or sorghum.


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    Source: International Peace Institute
    Country: Mali, World

    In a break from recent tradition, European member states are currently contributing significant military capabilities to a United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operation in Africa. Europeans are providing more than 1,000 troops to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) by staffing a wide range of operations including an intelligence fusion cell, transport and attack aircraft, and special forces.

    Yet for European troop-contributing countries (TCCs) that have spent several years working in North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operations in Afghanistan, participating in a UN mission has been a process of learning and adaptation. For the UN, the contributions of key capabilities by European countries have pushed the UN system to adjust to the higher expectations of the new European TCCs, which has proved difficult in Mali’s complicated operating environment and political situation.

    The report examines this complex relationship and shows the challenges and opportunities for both the UN and its European member states participating in MINUSMA. In terms of challenges, the report identifies obstacles facing European TCCs as they adapt to the UN peacekeeping system, the domestic political concerns of European TCCs, and the need for increased partnership among TCCs within the mission. In terms of opportunities, the report finds the potential of European military contributions to strengthen UN peacekeeping operations facing capability constraints and the UN’s ability to learn and adjust to increasingly asymmetric threat environments, as it responds to the needs of European TCCs.

    The authors offer a number of recommendations for facilitating and improving the participation of European militaries in MINUSMA and in UN peacekeeping more broadly, including the following:

    For the UN Secretariat: Develop opportunities for strategic force generation engagement with potential TCCs and conduct formal and informal indicative force generation meetings with TCCs; consider ways to gather more TCC input into the development of concepts of operations, force requirements, statement-of-unit requirements, etc.; provide more predictable and faster mission support during mission start-up; and consider decentralizing authority in-mission and at headquarters in New York to speed up decision-making processes.

    For European states: Engage in a structured and sustained dialogue with the UN to ensure that lessons from the experience in MINUSMA are identified jointly and improvements are pursued; work with the UN to develop media strategies to help domestic audiences better understand UN peacekeeping; ensure that staff who have acquired UN competence are considered for key posts at the Ministry of Defense, the permanent mission to the UN, the reconnaissance mission, and UN negotiation teams; and ensure a thorough understanding of UN planning and decision-making processes at headquarters and in the field.

    For the All Sources Information Fusion Unit (ASIFU): Initiate a lessons-learning exercise on the ASIFU experience in MINUSMA to improve the current intelligence aspects in this mission and to make improvements on intelligence aspects in other and future UN missions; develop a UN secure data network; and continue to improve cooperation between information gathering and analysis components in the mission.

    This report is part of IPI’s Providing for Peacekeeping Series.


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    Source: Global Humanitarian Assistance programme (Development Initiatives), Start Network
    Country: Mauritania

    1. Key points

    • According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)’s Financial Tracking Service (FTS), donors have committed/contributed US$35.7 million of humanitarian assistance to Mauritania so far in 2015. The European Union (EU)’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is the largest donor in 2015, having contributed or committed US$13.2 million to the crisis.

    • The UN-coordinated Strategic Response Plan (SRP) for Mauritania requests US$95 million from donors to respond to the crisis; this was revised downwards in June 2015 from US$105.2 million requested at the beginning of the year. The SRP is currently 34% funded at US$32 million; a further US$3.7 million has been given outside the appeal. Mauritania is one of the nine countries captured in the three-year Sahel regional SRP, i which was launched in February 2015 with a total requested amount of US$1.96 billion.

    • In 2015, Mauritania received an estimated US$16.6 million for nutrition and food securityrelated projects, out of which US$1.2 million has been committed/contributed to projects in Hodh El Chargui.


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