Lake Chad Basin Commission Seeks AfDB Support

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The African Development Bank will host a donors’ roundtable in September to help raise funds for the Lake Chad Basin Commission’s five-year investment plan (2013-2017), officials from the two institutions said Tuesday, 11 June 2013, at a meeting at the AfDB headquarters in Tunis.

The AfDB has taken on the role of roundtable host at the request of the Commission, which plans to raise 85 million euros for the five-year plan, its first.

Having declined from 25,000 square kilometres in the 1960s to its current size of 2,500 sq. km., Lake Chad is now under threat of disappearance. Millions of people depend on the lake for their livelihoods.

The Lake Chad Basin is shared by Algeria, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan. Some 30 million people in these eight countries live in the Lake Chad Basin.

“The receding of Lake Chad, the desert encroachment and the decline in the agricultural, pastoral and fishery activities constitute a huge threat for the 30 million people who live in the Lake Chad Basin and feed on its decreasing ecosystem and decreasing natural resources,” the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) said in a statement.

It added: “The safeguard of Lake Chad for the benefit of millions of people who live on its agricultural, fishery and livestock resources is an imperative response to poverty in that region. To that effect, LCBC has developed a strategic action plan to be split into five-year investment plans.”

The first of these five-year investment plans was adopted at the 14th Summit of the LCBC Heads of State and Government Summit held in Ndjamena, Chad, on April 30, 2012. The plan aims to reverse the decline in the livelihoods of populations dependent on the Lake Chad Basin. Key goals are to reverse the degradation of the basin’s resources and ensure the preservation of its ecosystem.  

Other areas covered by the five-year investment plan include the protection of food crops around the lake, raising the quantity and quality its water, water pollution control, and capacity building for its proper management.

The Commission has appointed former Nigerian head of state, Olusegun Obasanjo, as a “champion” to spearhead the effort to raise financing for the five-year investment plan. He will be assisted by Arba Diallo, former executive secretary of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD). The two are expected to lead the mobilization of the resources from donors and also constitute “a genuine international commission for the safeguard of Lake Chad.”

They will seek to obtain strong commitments and financial pledges for all the projects and programs submitted for funding and try to ensure a high-level of participation at the meeting.  

Obasanjo and Diallo will visit North and South America, Europe, Asia, the Gulf and Africa to seek funding and high-level participation in the roundtable.

The LCBC mission to the Bank comprised Issoufou Issaka, Minister of Water and the Environment in Niger and President of the LCBC Council of Ministers; Sanusi Imran Abdullahi, the CLBC’s Executive Secretary; Alex Bleriot Momha, Director for Capacity Building, Information and Data Management, and Nadjingen Titdjebaye, Director of Finance and Works.