During the meeting in Buea Tuesday, June 11, 2019, the Minister said although humanitarian partners have to be impartial and neutral; they must be transparent and accountable. Tuesday’s visit came six days after the Minister installed officials of the South West Regional Centre for the Coordination of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance.
Among the international partners present at the meeting were representatives from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The delegation of humanitarian partners was led by Ms Allegra Baiocchi, Resident Coordinator of the UN system and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon.
After distributing copies of the practical modalities of how to go about any humanitarian assistance destined for victims of the socio-political crisis in the North West and South West Regions, Minister Atanga Nji stressed that all humanitarian partners must submit monthly reports of their activities among other obligations.
He said the quantity of the assistance and the name of the nongovernmental organisation working on the field must be identified by the Governor who is focal point for the Regional Centre for the Coordination of Emergency Humanitarian Assistance.
Atanga Nji said in this way, transparency and traceability will be assured for the aid to get to those who deserve it, insisting that administrative officials must not be surprised that distribution of assistance is going on in their jurisdiction without their knowledge.
He called on the international partners to communicate government actions to the world with emphasis on the steady progress of the situation that is not like it was two years ago. He urged them to give accurate information to their organisations on the situation on the ground, steps taken by government to resolve the crisis and the level of distribution of aid.
“The policy of humanitarian action is put in place by the government, and then our partners come and assist us in a project which has been put in place. They have the concerns of being neutral but neutrality has to do with transparency,” Atanga Nji insisted.
Ms Allegra Baiocchi, Resident Coordinator of the UN system and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon lauded government’s efforts towards handling the socio-political upheavals in the two English-speaking regions.
“The centre is very important to us as it will help us work better together – what the humanitarian community is doing and what the government is doing. In recognising that the government has the primary responsibility to help its people in need and we have to come in to complement that. But we have to come in the full respect of our humanitarian principles of impartiality and neutrality,” Ms Baiocchi said.
They later visited the regional centre for the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance where they held a working session. They hoped to move from humanitarian assistance to self-reliance which will be letting children go to school, and for those in the bushes to lay down their arms and benefit from vocational training offered by government in the centres for disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.