President Paul Biya and other leaders of the Lake Chad Basin Commission have made a case to secure the future of the shrinking lake shared by four countries.
At the ongoing climate change summit in France (COP21), Biya said Lake Chad was a living example of the devastation climate change was wrecking in Africa.
“We all watch helplessly how our precious regional water body has been dwindling over the year,” the president said.
“But we think it is time we take engaging actions to bring life in the lake which is an important resource to the people of this community.”
Lake Chad has shrunk from 25,000 square kilometres to less than 2,500 square kilometres over the past 50 years, due largely to its waters drying up.
Environment experts attribute this to increasing temperatures from global warming.
The Presidents of countries warned about the need to reach an agreement during this conference that will address the crises.
“We cannot afford to fail”, Paul Biya told a full conference hall shortly after the formal opening ceremony.
As Cameroon’s contribution to addressing the climate issue, Paul said efforts were afoot to reduce carbon emissions by 32 per cent by 2035.
Cameroon is also fighting desertification and scaling up cooperation with other Central African States within the framework of the Central African Forests Commission and the Lake Chad Basin Commission with regard to water resources management.
Nigerian President Mouhamadou Buhari highlighted the same message.
The LCBC presented a plan of action to halt the dangerous effects of the dwindling lake during a pre-COP event in Yaounde.
“This extraordinary council session is primarily convened to validate our action plan for the next ten years titled, Lake Chad Development and Climate Resilience action Plan, to be presented to the international community at the upcoming conference of parties on climate change COP21 in Paris,’’ announced Sanusi Imran Abdullahi, the LCBC executive secretary at the close of the two-day meeting in Yaounde.
The plan of action is estimated to cost some 900 million euros (nearly 600 billion FCFA).
Ninety percent of this will be funded by donors and the remaining 10% by member states of the LCBC.
The action plan the officials announced is geared at significantly contributing towards food security, employment and social inclusion by improving in a sustainable way the living standards of the people of the Lake Chad Basin Commission through provision of basic infrastructure, health care, education, access to clean water, protection of the environment, support to productive sector for easy access to resources and markets, conflict management, peace and security.
The increasing dwindling of Lake Chad the officials said was aggravating the environmental degradation in the region that is impacting on the social and economic wellbeing of the population of member countries like Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.
The effect on the degrading environment on migration is just stark with a new phenomenon of moving not for greener pastures but just for life safety experts say.
The lake region leaders thus agreed securing the future of their drinking water supply will boost harvests in this drought-stricken area, where crop failures have driven thousands of farmers to suicide and pushing many youths to migrate to Europe.