Regional project for the conservation and sustainable development of Lake Chad

Project Overview

Lake Chad is home to a growing population that has urgent needs to address the impacts of climate change on the water resources and the ecosystem of the basin. It provides for millions of people living in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, and a diverse range of environmental services. It is also an important center for the provisioning of food and water, supporting land and nutrient cycling, regulatory ground water replenishment, carbon sequestration, air purification, as well as a wonderful spot for simple recreation.

Over the last 45 years, Lake chad has lost 90 percent of its volume and surface area, creating serious environmental, economic and social challenges for people whose lives and livelihoods depend on the lake. Environmental resources are critical to the survival of the Lake Chad population, both for subsistence and economic growth. The escalating degradation of water resources and ecosystems is exacerbated by the current security challenge and the subsequent migration of livestock and people in search of a better life. In 2008 a previous UNDP-supported GEF-financed project assisted the countries and the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) in preparing a regional transboundary diagnostic analysis leading to a regionally endorsed Strategic Action Programme (SAP).

The “Improving Lake Chad management through building climate change resilience and reducing ecosystem stress through implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Lake Chad basin” project has a focus to initiate the implementation of the SAP with the overall objective to achieve climate resilient, integrated ecosystem-based management of the Lake Chad Basin through implementation of agreed policy, legal and institutional reforms, and investments that improve water quality and quantity, protect biodiversity, and sustain livelihoods. Meeting this objective will address concerns linked to the management capacity of the LCBC and its member countries to develop and implement sustainable management policies and to address unsustainable land/water practices responding to the SAP and the regionally agreed Water Charter.

The project will focus on developing and implementing policies, investments and improved integrated ecosystem-based lake management through enhanced basin-wide monitoring, and developing and managing regional projects in accordance with the basin’s priorities expressed in the Lake Chad SAP and other relevant strategic documents for the Lake Chad Basin.

Project outputs include: Strengthened and harmonised approaches to implementing sustainable legal and policy instruments across the Lake Chad Basin countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria) leading to greater water availability through effective conjunctive use management of surface and groundwater; technical capacity and awareness of national ministries, institutions and other stakeholders (e.g. academia, civil society) strengthened to contribute to the sustainable management practices of the natural resources in the Lake Chad basin at both national and basin levels; LCBC and member states operating and utilising data and information from management information system for effective and sustainable land, water, and biodiversity resources management; LCBC, national governments and local communities gain practical experience and upscaling validation on sustainable ecosystem management and alternative livelihoods; assessment of stress reduction and livelihood strengthening activities identified in the SAP leads to a broad investment programme to further assist SAP implementation.

*The designations employed and the presentation of material on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations or UNDP concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

Expected Outcomes

Component 1: Effective transboundary lake catchment management through a strengthened Lake Chad Basin Commission

Component 2: Establishment of effective, sustainable national governance structures to support the SAP and Water Charter

Component 3: Capacity of national ministries, institutions and other stakeholders (e.g. academia, civil society) strengthened to support the harmonisation of policies and improved monitoring and management of the Lake Chad basin ecosystem

Component 4: Monitoring, Modelling and Data/Information for Integrated Management of Basin Water, Land and Biodiversity Resources

Component 5: Implementing targeted community-based pilot projects to demonstrate local / national / regional stress reduction benefits in support of SAP implementation

Component 6: Pre-feasibility studies to identify Lake Chad SAP investment opportunities

Project Details

Levels of Intervention

Regional

Source of Funds

GEF-Trust Fund

Key Implementers

National Governments
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Funding Amounts

US$6 million
US$236 million (US$1.9 million UNDP, US$5.8 million LCBC, US$216 million partner governments, US$9.4 million GIZ, US$2.5 million IUCN)

Project Partners

Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Introduction

Lake Chad is home to a growing population that has urgent needs to address the impacts of climate change on the water resources and the ecosystem of the basin. It provides for millions of people living in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, and a diverse range of environmental services. It is also an important center for the provisioning of food and water, supporting land and nutrient cycling, regulatory ground water replenishment, carbon sequestration, air purification, as well as a wonderful spot for simple recreation.

Over the last 45 years, Lake chad has lost 90 percent of its volume and surface area, creating serious environmental, economic and social challenges for people whose lives and livelihoods depend on the lake. Environmental resources are critical to the survival of the Lake Chad population, both for subsistence and economic growth. The escalating degradation of water resources and ecosystems is exacerbated by the current security challenge and the subsequent migration of livestock and people in search of a better life. In 2008 a previous UNDP-supported GEF-financed project assisted the countries and the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) in preparing a regional transboundary diagnostic analysis leading to a regionally endorsed Strategic Action Programme (SAP).

The “Improving Lake Chad management through building climate change resilience and reducing ecosystem stress through implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Lake Chad basin” project has a focus to initiate the implementation of the SAP with the overall objective to achieve climate resilient, integrated ecosystem-based management of the Lake Chad Basin through implementation of agreed policy, legal and institutional reforms, and investments that improve water quality and quantity, protect biodiversity, and sustain livelihoods. Meeting this objective will address concerns linked to the management capacity of the LCBC and its member countries to develop and implement sustainable management policies and to address unsustainable land/water practices responding to the SAP and the regionally agreed Water Charter.

The project will focus on developing and implementing policies, investments and improved integrated ecosystem-based lake management through enhanced basin-wide monitoring, and developing and managing regional projects in accordance with the basin’s priorities expressed in the Lake Chad SAP and other relevant strategic documents for the Lake Chad Basin.

Project outputs include: Strengthened and harmonised approaches to implementing sustainable legal and policy instruments across the Lake Chad Basin countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria) leading to greater water availability through effective conjunctive use management of surface and groundwater; technical capacity and awareness of national ministries, institutions and other stakeholders (e.g. academia, civil society) strengthened to contribute to the sustainable management practices of the natural resources in the Lake Chad basin at both national and basin levels; LCBC and member states operating and utilising data and information from management information system for effective and sustainable land, water, and biodiversity resources management; LCBC, national governments and local communities gain practical experience and upscaling validation on sustainable ecosystem management and alternative livelihoods; assessment of stress reduction and livelihood strengthening activities identified in the SAP leads to a broad investment programme to further assist SAP implementation.

Project Details

The relationship between environmental (natural) resources, livelihood and conflicts has long been established in literature. Environmental resources are critical to the survival of the Lake Chad population, both for subsistence and for economic growth. The basin’s population live mostly in rural areas and are strongly dependent on their natural resources. Desertification and the effects of climate change exacerbate the overexploitation of these natural resources.

The escalating degradation of water resources and ecosystems is further exacerbated by the current security challenge and the subsequent migration of livestock and people in search of more secure lives and livelihoods.

In the long term, it is crucial to secure the environmental conditions for prosperity, stability and equity, through long-term and co-ordinated management responses to the scale of the environmental challenges. In its vision 2015, the LCBC has expressed the responsibility of the Lake Chad Basin (LCB) Member States on the “common heritage-and other wetlands maintained at sustainable levels to ensure the economic security of the freshwater ecosystem resources, sustainable biodiversity and aquatic resources of the basin, the use of which should be equitable to serve the needs of the population of the basin, thereby reducing the poverty level”). Achieving this vision is still facing many difficulties in the Lake Chad Basin.

There is a crucial need to harmonise policies, legislation, enforcements, incentives, etc., between member states and on a regional basis to address environmental and socio-economic issues and mitigate disaster risks. A further challenge remains the absence of suitable mechanisms and instruments for mobilising internal and external financial resources, aimed at progressively achieving self-sufficiency for the sustainable management of resources in the Lake Chad Basin. Lastly, failing to integrate the risks of climate change and to build the resilience of the population will undermine all efforts to sustain the water resources, ecosystems and socio-economic development of the Lake Chad Basin and its inhabitants.

The project will address concerns linked to the management capacity of the LCBC and member countries to develop and implement sustainable management policies to rectify unsustainable land/water practices and respond to climate change threats in accordance with the agreed SAP (and any updates).

The project will take advantage of key achievements of the previous (and ongoing) projects and regional policy agreements that have been strengthening LCBC capability for effective transboundary lake management. LCBC has acquired knowledge of Lake Chad’s potential resources and produced an inventory regarding the hydrology, geology, pedology and climatology with the support of international institutions. However, at the national level, the harmonization of sectoral policies for integrated management of land and water resources and ecosystems, and the capacity of the countries to address these issues remains a major challenge.

Addressing challenges

At the UNFCCC CoP 21 in Paris (December 2015), the high-profile problem of the significant loss of volume (90%) and surface area (90%) of Lake Chad over the last 45 years has been highlighted. The basin has suffered multiple years of declining rainfall. In addition to the climate change threats, the Lake Chad Basin Strategic Action Programme (SAP) (based on a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis - TDA) developed and endorsed by the riparian countries in 2008, identified the following interlinked transboundary issues that need to be addressed within the Lake Chad Basin:

  • Variability of the hydrological regime and fresh water availability: the drastic decrease in fresh water availability in the LCB is a major concern. This is a result of variability in the hydrological regimes of the rivers and rainfall regimes in the region. Some of the root causes contributing to the overall degradation of the lake and its ecosystems include the absence of sustainable development in the political programs of the member states to handle the population pressure, and the insufficient awareness of stakeholders. The ecosystems degradation has led to continuing decline in local access to water, crop failures, livestock deaths, collapsed fisheries and wetlands services, etc. As identified in the SAP, the socioeconomic consequences of these impacts include food insecurity and declining health status of the population. Variability of the hydrological regime and fresh water availability is considered to be the most significant problem, not only due to the above impacts, but also because it drives or contributes to the other six transboundary problems.
  • Water pollution: it is one of the immediate causes of biodiversity loss in the wetlands. The use of agrochemicals for commercial cotton and rice production, and the increasing oil exploitation in Chad with a lack of working regulations and environmental standards will increase inorganic chemical pollution and eutrophication of the Lake in the near future.  Moreover, the increasing urbanization resulting from the oil exploitation in Chad risks giving rise to domestic waste and increases pollution from oil spills. If these trends are maintained, the likelihood for drastic fisheries depletion and wider ecological damage is high.
  • Decreased viability of biological resources: the stress created by the overexploitation of the natural resources of Lake Chad are undermining the ability of the plant and animal populations to maintain their normal regenerative rate. There is an absence of appropriate and harmonized policies and plans between the Member States to regulate basin activities coupled by the insufficient awareness of the local population in the member states on environmental issues. It also contributes to biodiversity loss and increasing variability of hydrological regime and fresh water availability.
  • Loss of biodiversity: concerns the loss of plant and animal species, as well as damages to ecosystem health. It is rooted in population growth, absence of sustainable development in political programs, and low environmental awareness. This reduces ecosystem productivity and thus resources availability, resulting in deepening poverty. It also contributes to the decreasing viability of biological resources.
  • Loss and modification of ecosystems:  The TDA has identified extensive habitat and community modification that has been experienced in the lake and the river environment. The lake, for example, has changed from open water to a marshy environment, and about 50% of wetlands have been destroyed. This has been due predominantly to reduced flows resulting from the lack of sustainable development in the member states, as well as a low level of environmental awareness. The impact of the loss/modification of ecosystems has most impact on the decline of some fisheries and rice cultivation, as well as on biodiversity loss and the decreased viability of biological resources.
  • Sedimentation in rivers and water bodies: this has led to changes in channel flow patterns, a reduction in the inflows to the lake through channel diversion, and the colonisation of the silted sites by invasive species. It is driven mainly by unsustainable farming practices on marginal lands and is rooted in low environmental awareness, population pressure, and absence of sustainable development on the political agenda of the member states.
  • Invasive species: The Lake is being invaded by typha grass and water hyacinth. Typha is also a major problem in the Komadugu Yobe Basin, and quelea birds are the major pest prevalent all over the basin. Invasive species, to a large extent, are a function of poor water resources management, poor enforcement of environmental regulations and standards, etc. The typha grass blocks river channels and diverts flows, while the quelea destroys crops, both contributing to poverty through the loss of livelihoods.

 

Recognising that the development of the TDA was over a decade ago and there have been significant additions to the knowledge-base in the region, including on climate variability and change, and groundwater resources, the TDA is currently being updated (by GIZ) and this UNDP-GEF project will update the SAP. It is not expected that there will be significant changes to the above identified transboundary problems however the new and emerging regional issues (e.g. climate impacts and conjunctive use aspects of groundwater) will be incorporated to enhance the overall planning and decision making.

Alignment with ongoing strategies

The project is supportive of elements of the National Adaption Programmes of Actions (NAPAs) under the UNFCCC for CAR, Chad and Niger and the recent (2015) Lake Chad Development and Climate Resilience Plan (the project assistance will provided strengthen data and information management to aid the DRR plans for floods and droughts). The project is also consistent with, and supportive of, the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) for all the Lake Chad Basin Countries.

All member states have developed NAPA as a response to climate change. The LCBC under this project will review each country’s NAPA and coordinate the implementation of aspects that falls within the transboundary mandate of the LCBC and the objectives of the Lake Chad Basin Water Charter.

Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria have each developed and adopted a national biodiversity strategy and action plans aligned with Aichi Biodiversity Targets. In each of the biodiversity strategy, attention is paid to the role of biodiversity in poverty reduction and sustainable development. This project shall work within the goals of each country’s NBSAP and identify opportunities to coordinate transboundary implementation within Lake Chad Basin.

Thematic Area: 
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Location: 
Urban
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
US$6 million
Co-Financing Total: 
US$236 million (US$1.9 million UNDP, US$5.8 million LCBC, US$216 million partner governments, US$9.4 million GIZ, US$2.5 million IUCN)

News

Why Lake Chad Basin governors’ forum was established — UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Wednesday said its decision to facilitate the establishment of the Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum was to ensure regional stabilisation, peace-building and sustainable development in the region. The Forum consists of governors from the seven States and provinces in the Lake Chad Basin region, including those in Cameroun, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. The officials were in Maiduguri, Borno State to discuss and agree on a framework for stabilising, building peace and fostering sustainable development across the Basin considered the epicentre of the Boko Haram crisis. Diminishing water levels of the Lake Chad, shared by eight countries in the region has pushed an estimated 12 per cent of the more than 370 million people who depend on it for crop and livestock farming, fishing, commerce and trade to abject poverty. The situation has triggered mass migration, conflicts and crises in the region, including the nine-year long Boko Haram insurgency, which resulted in mass displacement of millions across the region. The UNDP said the Boko Haram crisis traced to development-related challenges including multi-dimensional poverty has caused billions of dollars in damages to property and disruption of livelihoods in North-east Nigeria. At the inaugural meeting, the governors highlighted the need for all countries affected by the crisis to come together to tackle the challenges in the Basin. In a statement at the end of the meeting sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday the governors agreed to establish the Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum. UNDP spokesperson, Lucky Musonda, said the Forum was a platform to enhance joint efforts towards “stabilising, building peace and fostering sustainable development across the region”.

Premium Times
Thursday 10 May 2018

 

Key Results and Outputs

Component 1: Effective transboundary lake catchment management through a strengthened Lake Chad Basin Commission

Output 1.1: The 2008 SAP updated on the basis of the revised TDA

Output 1.2: LCBC Biodiversity Protocol developed and adopted by all parties

Output 1.3: Disaster risk reduction response plans developed to ensure the protection of people, the environment and water resources

Output 1.4: LCBC’s coordination and monitoring capacity strengthened with effective reporting of performance to the Council of Ministers

Output 1.5: Strengthening LCBC’s capacity to develop and manage programmes and projects

Component 2: Establishment of effective, sustainable national governance structures to support the SAP and Water Charter

Output 2.1: Harmonising the national legal and policy frameworks for effective conjunctive management of surface and groundwaters to reflect the relevant provisions of the Water Charter

Output 2.2: Operationalize national inter-ministerial committees to improve coordination and support the policy mainstreaming process at the national level

Component 3: Capacity of national ministries, institutions and other stakeholders (e.g. academia, civil society) strengthened to support the harmonisation of policies and improved monitoring and management of the Lake Chad basin ecosystem

Output 3.1: Training national authorities on technical and environmental management

Output 3.2: Increase capacity in national research and academic institutions in the basin to conduct assessments on emerging issues in the Lake Chad basin and produce policy and management recommendations.

Output 3.3: Develop participation capacities and provide environmental awareness training of basin users

Component 4: Monitoring, Modelling and Data/Information for Integrated Management of Basin Water, Land and Biodiversity Resources

Output 4.1 Transboundary lake basin monitoring system designed and agreed by all member states.

Output 4.2: Contribution to GEF IW:LEARN related activities for information sharing and knowledge management

Component 5. Implementing targeted community-based pilot projects to demonstrate local / national / regional stress reduction benefits in support of SAP implementation

Output 5.1:  Regional/National pilot projects to control invasive plant species

Output 5.2: Promote ecosystem-based income-generating activities through sustainable financing schemes established at the national/local levels

Output 5.3: Development of National Replication sustainability strategies for community-based actions

Component 6: Pre-feasibility studies to identify Lake Chad SAP investment opportunities

Output 6.1: Assessment of potential investments based on the SAP recommendations

Output 6.2: Pre-feasibility studies on potential bankable investments with outline budgets, scope of work and timescales