The council of ministers of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) has an ambitious agenda to rescue the shrinking Lake chad. This plan would be presented to stakeholders at the upcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) opening in Paris on November 30.
Meeting in an extra-ordinary session in Yaoundé on Friday November 13, 2015, the LCBC Council of Ministers discussed and adopted a robust plan which seeks to highlights the urgency to halt the dangerous effects of the Lake. Environmental experts have called for a strong African voice in Paris to raise awareness on vital investments needed to fight against environmental degradation, climate change, and poverty.
“This extra-ordinary council session is primarily designed to agree on our action plan for the next ten years. This plan will be presented to the international community at COP21 in Paris,” Sanusi Imram Abdullahi, LCBC Executive Secretary said at the close of the two day meeting in Yaoundé.
The plan of action is estimated to cost some 900 million euros of which 90 percent will be funded by donors and 10 percent by member states of the LCBC. The action plan seeks to contribute towards food security, employment and social inclusion of local communities.
Statistics from the ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development show Lake Chad has dwindled from over 24.000km2 in 1960 to less than 10000 km2. Climate change, experts argue remain a constant threat to the lake.
Further dwindling of Lake Chad, officials say is aggravating environmental degradation in the region and impacting the social and economic wellbeing of local populations and communities.
Government officials have also found a relationship between migration and land degradation.
“Now the migration situation in the region is disturbing with a newer phenomenon where people are migrating into a country already vulnerable with no opportunity to offer just for safety,” says Didier Edzoa, Secretary General in the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development in Cameroon.
In addition, environment experts have warned that with urgent measures, insecurity in the region may worsen.
“We are already severely affected by climate change as a result of which the lives of millions of our people are at stake. The extra-ordinary shrinking of Lake Chad and somewhat southwards movement of the Sahara will cause more devastation and insecurity unless we sustainable invest in climate adaptation and mitigation,” says Samuel Nguiffo of the Center for Environment and Development, an NGO operating in Cameroon.
Cameroon officials say the case of insecurity in the Far North region requires extra efforts.
“Environmental breakdown and security threats in the Lake Chad Basin region especially in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria is increasing and so we need additional efforts if we have to fight poverty, preserve peace and promote sustainable development,’’ noted Cameroon’s minister delegate in the Ministry of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Yaouba Abdoulaye.
Members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission however say they were leaving no stone unturned with collective efforts to intensify security especially in the fight against the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram.