Cameroon: Helen Clark Vows UNDP Support For Internally Displaced PeopleSep 2, 2016
Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), visited Cameroon on 29-30 August 2016. She arrived in the country in a context where the number of displaced persons and refugees in the region of the Far North continues to increase. The main cause of this growth is a resurgence of attacks by Boko Haram in this area of the country.
During her visit, Ms. Clark expressed her solidarity with the people of Cameroon, who face multiple challenges, particularly in the northern region. “While military and security operations are underway, it is critical to increase investments in early recovery, access to basic services and, most importantly, in creating jobs and activities for young people so that they do not become an additional source of problems out of idleness and poverty,” she said.
In her discussions with government authorities and local actors, access to water, health care and education were also mentioned as problems that the displaced persons face daily.
Ms. Clark met with the Prime Minister, the head of Cameroon’s government, the Minister of External Relations and the Deputy Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development. In their exchanges, the members of the government expressed their appreciation for UNDP support in carrying out the Strategy for Growth and Employment and in achieving Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in the areas of improving public services, building resilience to climate change and enabling early recovery.
Ms. Clark also met with development partners, donors, representatives of civil society and heads of UN system agencies. She congratulated Cameroon on its commitment and the development partners for their support of efforts to combat youth unemployment and improve living conditions among affected populations in the region of the North and the East. She also met with the general of the multinational force in the Far North, with whom she discussed the security situation in the region. She acknowledged the army’s actions to restore security and reviewed the possible return of internally-displaced persons to their villages.
At the end of her visit, Ms. Clark renewed UNDP’s commitment to support the Government of Cameroon in localizing the Sustainable Development Goals and in its program to combat poverty, particularly with regard to economic and social recovery among the populations of the Far North, who face economic, social and environmental disruptions.
At a press conference in Yaoundé, which concluded her visit, Ms. Clark made the following commitment. “My visit to the Far North provided me an opportunity to assess the impact of the Boko Haram attacks on the populations,” she said. “I am returning to New York with a very clear sense of the challenges and the needs. In this regard, I have asked the UNDP’s Resident Representative in Cameroon to strengthen programmes to strengthen resilience among the affected populations and, thus, to support the government to prepare for the return of these populations to their villages of origin in a way that preserves their dignity.”