By Kimbowa Richard, June 17, 2012
Lake Chad which is the fourth largest African Lake after Lake Victoria, Tanganyika and Nyasa has had its size reduce by 95% in the past 45 years. According to the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), in 1963, the size of the Lake was 25,000 sq Kms as opposed to 2,000 sq Kms today.
During this year’s Africa Environment Day, President Derby of Chad said that Lake Chad as a northern frontier, symbolizes resistance against the advancement of the desert in Africa and that it also constitutes a padlock to protect African river and forest basins. “Lake Chad is not only Chadian it is also African, in fact it is even a world heritage that deserves being declared as a heritage of humanity”, he added.
As a further step to sensitize development partners on the urgent imperative to save Lake Chad during the on-going United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Lake Chad regional authorities through the LCBC organised a side event, on June17, 2012.
The information seminar highlighted efforts made by the regional authorities - Niger, Chad, Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, NGOs and specialised agencies to address the challenges facing Lake Chad. These include degradation and desertification effects, lack of harmonisation of policies for sustainable management of water resources amongst the affected Lake Chad basin countries.
These include adoption of the Lake Chad Basin Water Charter by Heads of State and Government on April 30, 2012; development of an Integrated river basin management (vision 2025) with a framework for action (in short term – 8 years) and long term (20 years). This is the basis for the call for international action from development agencies and donors to assist and participate in these development efforts.
In addition, a Strategic Action Programme for the Lake Chad Basin has been adopted that specifies five Ecosystem Quality and Water Resource Objectives. These include improved quantity and quality of water; restoration, conservation and sustainable use of bioresources in the Lake Chad basin; conservation of biodiversity in the Lake Chad basin; restoration and preservation of ecosystems in the Lake Chad basin; strengthened participation and capacity of stakeholders, and institutional and legal frameworks for environmental stewardship for the Lake Chad basin.
As a follow up a donor roundtable is planned soon to enable generate resources from the Lake Chad region, development agencies and private entities to support a five year investment plan that has been developed, according to Engr. Sanusi Imran Abdullah, the Executive Secretary of LCBC.