The UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS) has facilitated a dialogue aimed at mitigating herdsmen/farmers crisis in the middle-belt region of Nigeria, Lucky Musonda, Head of Communication, UN Development Programme (UNDP) has said.
Mr Musonda, in a statement in Abuja on Friday, said that the dialogue held in Abuja was the first in a series of consultations for the implementation of UNTFHS programme.
The UNTFHS programme is a three-year project being implemented by UNDP, UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Food and Agriculture Organisation in partnership with Benue and Nasarawa State Governments.
He said the overall goal of the intervention was to contribute to ending the herdsmen/farmers conflict in affected states.
He said the theme of the dialogue was: “Transitioning from humanitarian relief to long-term development: Addressing the herdsmen/farmers conflict in Nigeria”.
According to Mr Musonda, the dialogue brought together senior UN representatives in the country, experts from national and local governments, civil society organisations, and the private sector.
He added that the dialogue explored several policy options that could be adopted in the quest to end the conflict and ensure permanent peace.
Mr Musonda said the key recommendation among others was the advocacy for comprehensive solutions, preventive and mitigating measures.
He added that this required all key stakeholders to integrate into policy planning and response frameworks thereby strengthening long term resilience and safeguarding sustainable development.
The UNDP official said the dialogue also served as a platform to enhance multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan.
He said that UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, in his statement at the event lauded the dialogue.
According to him, the human security approach recognises the full array of challenges that can both propel the devastating force of a crisis and undercut prospects for sustainable peace and development.
“This essential understanding presents opportunities to complement immediate humanitarian efforts while helping to shape long-term solutions that put people on the path to towards inclusive and sustainable development,” Mr Kallon was quoted as saying
According to him, the UN Mission also met with key stakeholders to discuss the protracted conflict affecting numerous communities, particularly in Benue and Nasarawa states.
“The conflict in these states has led to massive displacement of people from the affected communities, death of hundreds and loss of livelihoods posing a formidable threat to the country’s food security and long-term stability.”
He said the visiting team shared insights into the significance of the human security approach as a framework for policy-making in complex development challenges.
He said the team, while in Makurdi, earlier met with representatives of civil society organisations, farmers associations, local and state government representatives, community elders, traditional leaders, and representatives of local and international non-governmental organisations.
The team exchanged information with them on key elements of the human security approach, which could be employed in promoting dialogue and peaceful resolution of conflicts, especially between the herdsmen and farmers in the region.
He said the Chief of the UN Human Security Unit, Mehrnaz Mostafavi, noted that the challenges to the security of both farmers and herders and activities are structured around addressing the numerous risks to safeguard livelihoods and promote peace”.
She added that a piecemeal approach will not address the prevalent cycle of violence and the multi-faceted nature of the herder-farmer conflict.
According to her, instead, a comprehensive and integrated approach that addresses the root causes of the conflict while reducing the vulnerability of communities to protection risks is required.