As part of the networking strategy of the platform, the KMP will house six Communities of Practice (COP) where registered users may contribute to meaningful discussions and foster substantive solutions and connections with one another. The six COPs are: Governance; Development and Humanitarian; Security and Protection; Cross Border Cooperation; Civil Society Organizations; and CIVMILCoop.
1. Governance COP
The Governance COP is envisaged to address the challenges of political cooperation and rebuilding social relations and trust in governance institutions. Ineffective governance, corruption, lack, or inadequate basic services, mistrust of security forces and a sense of isolation from the central government are all results of the under-development that the region has seen, and these factors have contributed to an environment conducive to radicalization.
This community of practice will contain three sub groups for further engagement and specific discussions. These sub groups are representative of the regional strategy’s pillars that underpin its direction: political cooperation; governance and the social contract; and empowerment and inclusion of women and youth. These pillars provide for an integrated and holistic framework for a response to the instability in the Lake Chad Region. This response can be shaped in many different ways, but critical to a successful strategic approach is to ensure a comprehensive framework that addresses the multi-dimensional nature of the challenges in the sub-region. The pillars under this Strategy have been designed to enable horizontal linkages across pillars, allowing for synergies and optimization of impact as well as adequate opportunities for national and local ownership to tailor responses that are contextualized to the specific dynamics on the ground.
Political cooperation involves four strategic objectives. First, enhancing political cooperation to improve cooperation, coherence and complementarity among the LCB member states. Second, strengthening national capacities to support national governments, to develop harmonised national coordination mechanism and systems, including the governors’ forum and the regional inter-parliamentary committee for an effective implementation of the strategy in the Lake Chad region. Third, the role of regional economic communities and other actors, to enhance and improve intra and inter regional cooperation for peace security and development in the LCB region. Lastly, to effectively enhance the capacities of the LCBC Secretariat and the AUC for the effective implementation of the strategy. Members of this subgroup will be enabled to have access to resources, attend events, and critically engage in discussions with experts and fellow members about these topics.
Governance and the Social Contract
Strengthening and promoting good governance is central to breaking the cyclical nature of crisis that the sub-region has witnessed and laying the foundation for longer term peace and sustainable development. The rich diversity in the sub-region demands a participatory, inclusive and decentralized approach to governance, bringing government closer to its people by improving horizontal relationships across society and vertical relationships between the government and the governed. Such an approach will help to strengthen the social contract, ensuring a trusting, fair and functional relationship between the state and its citizens. There are five strategic objectives involved in the governance and social contract pillar: shared values on good governance, i.e. governance norms, principles and best practices adopted by LCBC member states; improving service delivery, to restore and strengthen state authority and institutions capacity; enhancing rule of law and accountability; enhancing public participation and civic engagement; and improving cross-border cooperation. Members of this subgroup will be able to engage in discussions and network with experts and individuals associated with these strategic initiatives to foster deeper understanding and collaboration in relief efforts.
Empowerment and Inclusion of Women and Youth
The Strategy considers that the mainstreaming of gender issues, and the intended focus on youth, must be accompanied by specific and urgent action to increase protection for women and girls, and to ensure that women and youth are empowered to participate fully in planning and decision-making processes, in all actions for conflict resolution, early recovery and development, as well as all mechanisms for evaluation and enhanced accountability. The Lake Chad crisis has disproportionately affected women and girls. From being at the forefront of the displacement crisis to constituting the majority of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse, to suffering stigmatization from association with different groups, women and girls are faced with different challenges than men and boys. While violence against women and girls is a serious patriarchal and cultural issue, it has been even more pronounced throughout the conflict as women and girls are subjected to sexual abuses and harassment as a weapon of war, enabled by families’ and communities’ denial and rejection.
Empowerment and inclusion of women and youth entail four strategic objectives. First, protecting women and girls, to ensure effective protection measures that empower women and girls as beneficiaries and can effectively engage in the stabilization and peacebuilding process as well as prevention and response to violence extremism. Second, promoting women participation, empowerment, and socio-economic rights. Third, youth empowerment, participation, and protection to ensure effective mechanisms are established and that the youth are effective engaged in structured dialogues, stabilization, and peacebuilding process. Lastly, monitoring and accountability, to improve research, monitoring, reporting, analysis and advocacy ensures that a gender & youth-sensitive approaches are mainstreamed, and that the stabilization process leverages effectively upon the capacities of girls and women. Members of this subgroup will be able to contribute their voices in active discussions about empowerment and inclusion initiatives in the region and within local communities, while also learning from other members about existing initiatives.
2. Development and Humanitarian COP
The Development and Humanitarian COP addresses the humanitarian crisis in the LCB region and the development efforts in progress. As stabilization efforts gather momentum, it is imperative that humanitarian assistance continues. The Lake Chad Region will not be stabilized without humanitarian assistance providing the necessary building blocks and enabling environment for other efforts to proceed. There are three subgroups in this COP which are representative of three out of the nine pillars of the Regional Strategy: Humanitarian assistance; Socio-economic recovery and environmental sustainability; Education, learning, and skills. These pillars provide for an integrated and holistic framework for a response to the instability in the Lake Chad Region. This response can be shaped in many different ways, but critical to a successful strategic approach is to ensure a comprehensive framework that addresses the multi-dimensional nature of the challenges in the sub-region. The pillars under this Strategy have been designed to enable horizontal linkages across pillars, allowing for synergies and optimization of impact as well as adequate opportunities for national and local ownership to tailor responses that are contextualized to the specific dynamics on the ground.
The humanitarian response under this Strategy will promote four strategic objectives. First is the provision of lifesaving assistance to all affected populations. The conflict has resulted in widespread displacement, destruction of shelter, infrastructure, and collapse of basic services, mainly health, education and water and sanitation. Second, displaced populations must be adequately supported with voluntary, safe, and dignified returns. Though several displaced and refugee populations are returning to their communities of origin, the trend of returns remains very slow as many conditions are still unmet. The returnees are looking for durable solutions, including security, safety and protection, housing, accessible and quality social services, road networks and revitalized economic opportunities, including farming, employment, and small-scale businesses. The third strategic objective is aimed at addressing the protection, safety, and security of all affected populations against any form of physical violence and hazardous situations The effective legal protection framework in affected areas will be developed in line with international best practice on protecting vulnerable populations. Lastly, psychosocial support and social cohesion, to provide affected populations access to quality psychosocial counseling services, and to actively participate in community cohesion and trust building interventions. Members of this subgroup can engage critically in humanitarian support initiatives and network with like minded individuals in strengthening collaborative efforts for humanitarian and development assistance.
Socio-Economic Recovery and Environmental Sustainability
The crisis around Lake Chad has destroyed much of the economic activity and potential that the sub-region has historically been known for. The ability to produce goods (in particular from agriculture) has been significantly hampered, as has the ability to get those goods to market This has resulted in a loss of livelihoods, decline in food security and increased hardship for millions of people around the Lake. The socio-economic recovery must build from the ground up, ensuring that local communities benefit. At the forefront of the socioeconomic recovery must therefore be a people-centred approach, ensuring that everyone has access to income and that this income can support and sustain a decent life.
Socio-economic recovery will target four strategic areas that will create synergies and a broader collective impact for the sub-region. First, supporting sustainable livelihoods, particularly in farming, fishing and livestock rearing must be strengthened. In this regard, efforts will ensure an increased adaptability within these livelihood sectors as well as investments into critical value chain infrastructures (such as marketplaces, storage facilities, pastoral routes, etc.) to enhance the economic viability and sustainability of these trades. Second, improving infrastructure for regional economic integration, to mobilize investments to promote infrastructural development to increase economic, trade and cultural exchange. Capacity building and training is essential to ensure new and innovative ways of enhancing agricultural productivity and output. In this regard, the Strategy will also promote the development of a professionalized and diversified local labour force while recognizing that the economic base for the sub-region in the short to medium term will remain agriculture. Third, creating conducive business environment fostered through policy and legal frameworks that promote investments, trade and economic activity. Lastly, ensuring environmental sustainability, to enhance the resilience of communities and systems around Lake Chad to adapt to environmental shocks for enhanced sustainability of interventions. Members of this subgroup can learn from the resources provided and experts, and contribute their thoughts on the ongoing efforts.
Education, Learning, and Skills
Education is globally recognized as an essential element for preventing violent extremism, building peace and promoting sustainable development. Decades of under-resourcing the education sector in the four riparian countries has led to a decline in the quality and access to education, particularly in remote and isolated areas such as those in and around Lake Chad. Strengthening education and learning in the Lake Chad context will target three key areas. First, concerted efforts will be made towards increasing the access and quality of education for boys, girls, men and women Recognizing education as a basic human right, the Strategy will aim to enhance the quality of education available through improvements in the training of teachers, provision of learning materials, and the restoration and rehabilitation of schools and learning centres. Second, vocational training and skills acquisition to ensure that basic education is provided for all whose educational prospects have been affected by the crisis, and directly linking this education into vocational training and the development of skills to ensure that those who were left behind are effectively capacitated and become a part of the local labour force. Third, structural challenges in the education sector will be addressed through support to reform efforts and the promotion of increased education funding.
3. Security and Protection COP
The Security and Protection COP engages will matters related to security responses from government, as well as efforts for stabilization and peace in communities and populations affected by and associated with Boko Haram. This COP contains three subgroups for further discussion to encourage engagement with these matters: security and human rights; DDRRR of persons associated with Boko Haram; and prevention of violent extremism and building peace. These subgroups are representative of three of the nine pillars of the Regional Strategy. These pillars provide for an integrated and holistic framework for a response to the instability in the Lake Chad Region. This response can be shaped in many different ways, but critical to a successful strategic approach is to ensure a comprehensive framework that addresses the multi-dimensional nature of the challenges in the sub-region. The pillars under this Strategy have been designed to enable horizontal linkages across pillars, allowing for synergies and optimization of impact as well as adequate opportunities for national and local ownership to tailor responses that are contextualized to the specific dynamics on the ground.
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF)’s main priorities are: logistics support and necessary force multipliers; capacity to develop an amphibious unit; enhancement of civil-military relations; communication and influence operations; and intelligence, border security and coordination with national forces. As military forces clear areas of Boko Haram control, a timely and sequenced transition to civilian security umbrella needs to be made in order for IDPs and refugees to return home and for humanitarian and development actors to enjoy the secure access necessary to do their work. This planning process requires enhanced civil-military cooperation at sub-regional, national and local levels.
Security and Human Rights
Security and human rights have four main strategic objectives. First is to enhance support to the MNJTF to enable it to continue to fulfil its mandate. Second, reinforcement of community security and restoration of rule of law. This is to enhance capacities for safety and security at the community level through increased responsive law enforcement that extends and safeguards the rule of law to all areas, as military forces clear the territory under Boko Haram control. Third, is the management of vigilantes. Disarmament and demobilization of vigilante groups is managed through appropriate national initiatives for their peaceful re-orientation and reintegration. Lastly, promoting human rights, to ensure that security service providers operate at the highest levels of integrity and respect for human rights based on international and continental norms and standards, through effective internal and external oversight and accountability mechanisms. With appropriate remedial mechanisms to address alleged human rights abuses. Members of this subgroup will have access to resources, learn about active initiatives and learn from experts about these issues.
DDRRR of Persons associated with Boko Haram
Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation, Reinsertion and Reintegration (DDRRR) of Persons associated with Boko Haram tackles key challenges related to handling and treatment of Boko Haram associated individuals. Countries in the Lake Chad Basin Region have agreed to develop a common regional approach, wherein the relationship between different pillars of screening, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration is harmonised in line with international standards. Rehabilitation comprises a set of measures undertaken in prison, detention-like conditions and other institutions aimed to support the transition from being associated with Boko Haram to becoming a citizen of the community; these include abandoning the use of violent means to achieve change, generating income to cater for families’ needs and avoiding recidivism. Reintegration takes place at the community level. The role of traditional principles and traditional leaders and chiefs are identified as important for purposes of community sensitisation, public acceptance and aiding the transition and reintegration of persons associated with Boko Haram. Key emphasis was placed on community-based reintegration support and civilian institutional frameworks that are designed to oversee and support the reintegration objectives.
DDRRR has four strategic objectives. First is screening and disarmament, to ensure that persons associated with Boko Haram are received, screened and disarmed according to a common regional approach in line with international and continental standards. Second, transitional justice, to strengthen and harmonize National transitional and criminal justice systems to effectively undertake the investigation and prosecution of persons associated with Boko Haram and other forms of accountability. Third is rehabilitation and reconciliation, to ensure that persons associated with Boko Haram and other violent extremist groups are rehabilitated according to a common regional approach linked to later reintegration activities and including psychosocial support, health, nutrition (in a first phase) and vocational training and income-generating activities (in a second phase). Lastly, reinsertion and reintegration, to ensure that persons associated with Boko Haram, members of vigilante groups/vigilance committees, returnees (including former prisoners), youth at risk and victims of Boko Haram receive community-based reintegration support, following a harmonized regional approach.
Prevention of Violent Extremism and Building Peace
Prevention of violent extremism and building peace is an overarching pillar as it is a central element underpinning the Strategy. An inclusive approach must actively seek to engage all sections of civil society—local communities, traditional leaders, NGOs and CBOs, the media, academic institutions and the private sector. Especially important in this regard are traditional and religious leaders although all relevant stakeholders and actors need to be mobilised and motivated, capacitated, networked and coordinated to ensure that the prevention of violent extremism is mainstreamed into the design and implementation of all relevant interventions of the Territorial Action Plans. This pillar has 5 strategic objectives. First, supporting national capacities for PVE. Second, PVE education, knowledge and capacities, to build up indigenous capacity in order to increase knowledge about the phenomenon and the drivers of violent extremism. Third, mobilising communities and counter-narratives, to empower local communities as actors to prevent, anticipate, and the phenomenon and the drivers of violent extremism. Fourth is promoting cross-border cooperation for P/CVE, to enhance and empower local, regional and international cooperation based on synergy, appropriation and coordination at all levels. Lastly, supporting peace architecture, to build, review and strengthen local and national peace architecture, including early warning and early response mechanisms.
4. Cross Border Cooperation COP
The Cross Border Cooperation COP engages participation and discussion about strategies and means of implementation for regional cross border stabilization efforts. This COP contains three subgroups for more specific and targeted engagement: the Governors’ forum, territorial action plans, and private sector engagement.
In May 2018, the Governors of the eight worst-affected areas of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria met in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria to establish the Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum for Regional Cooperation on stabilization, Peacebuilding and Sustainable Development. The success of the first LCB Governors’ Forum contributed to the development of the RSS, which recognized the LCB Governors Forum as an integral part and important vehicle for implementing the RSS. The Forum is committed to promoting dialogue and cross-border cooperation; enhance cross-border security cooperation, and facilitating cross-border trade and economic recovery to boost livelihoods. Finally, the Governors also committed to the design and implementation of the Territorial Action Plans (TAPs) as the foundation for long terms stabilisation, recovery and resilience in the region. This group on Sade Resources will provide space for streaming side events and engaging in live discussions about topics on the agenda, as well as interact with experts involved in the Forum.
Territorial Action Plans
The territorial action plans for the Boko Haram affected regions are concerned with eight specific states and regions of the LCB: Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states in Nigeria; Diffa Region in Niger; Region du Lac and Hajder-Lamis Region in Chad; The Far North and North Region of Cameroon. The TAPs are prepared under the authority, coordination, and guidance of the national Governments of the riparian states. They will be implemented under the oversight and coordination of the national governments through a devolved mechanism that allows governors to provide direct oversight and guidance. The TAPs will be organised to a common format, common approach, and methodology, and according to the nine pillars of the Strategy. Each action plan will be subject to a common monitoring and evaluation framework established by the LCBC, allowing baseline data to be pooled and combined, common indicators to be developed, and a consolidated reporting regime established at a regional level. Members of this subgroup will be able to gain access to resources, and critically engage in discussions about these action plans with other members and experts.
Private Sector Engagement
Beyond corporate social responsibility investments, the private sector has a critical role to play in determining vocational training curricula, providing apprenticeships and work placements, in partnering on public financing for value-chain development. Mobilisation of private sector support in preparation and implementation of TAPs is essential. Members can brainstorm, network, and discuss avenues for private sector engagement in this subgroup.
5. Civil Society Organizations COP
The importance of properly articulating civil society to the implementation of this Strategy cannot be overstated and NGOs and CBOs have a particularly significant role to play in the definition and implementation of Territorial Action Plans. Radicalisation is often fed by real and perceived local disaffection and alienation from the State, and from mainstream political life. This distance can be closed by effective NGOs and CBOs that have local credibility in seeking to build community resilience against radicalisation.
The Civil Society Organizations COP contains three subgroups for further explorative discussions about specific initiatives and projects by civil society organizations. The territorial initiatives subgroup is a dedicated space for members to network, collaborate, and engage in various territorial projects ongoing by civil society organisations and community members. The CSO forum subgroup is a space for engaging and participating in events and discussions pertaining to the forum and topics on the agenda.
The Lake Chad Civil Society Directory and Information Management System (DIMS) is a part of the Regional Strategy. DIMS’ first year goal is to map the CSO ecosystem to understand the existing support system, networks and cross-border dynamics, and what is needed for visibility and support. The final public digital platform will serve as an information sharing space for CSOs, be a dynamic mapping interface to facilitate exploration, and provide analytical products for overall coordination. The subgroup dedicated to DIMS will enable members to be guided towards DIMS and access the plethora of resources available for further exploration of civil society initiatives on a regional level.
Effective civil-military planning and cooperation is essential to ensuring an integrated, targeted, and sequenced move from humanitarian assistance to sustainable development The effort itself provides an opportunity to “win hearts and minds”, and to build trust between communities. ‘CIVMILCoop’ is an abbreviation for civil-military cooperation, and this community of practice is a space for learning and engaging with efforts to rebuild, stabilize, and encourage cooperation. Civil-Military cooperation is part of the MNJTF mandate. The joint LCBC-MNJTF Civil Military Cooperation Cell has a particular focus on planning, sequencing and coordinating initiatives for extending humanitarian access, for the safe cross-border return of refugees, and for the secure opening of borders in support of human mobility and cross-border trade, following bilateral Government agreements to do so.
There are three subgroups to this COP: community engagement; DDRR and SALW; and counter narrative and media. The community engagement subgroup is a space for members to learn about initiatives that are ongoing and in discussion for increasing community engagement and participation with civil military cooperation efforts.