Lake Chad desertification, Chad

Description

There is no single cause for the drastic shrinkage of Lake Chad: natural fluctuations as part of a long term cycle, heavy human use through the pumping of water for irrigation and deforestation have all been cited. Climate change has also been given as a major reason for why Lake Chad has been reduced from 25,000 square kilometers in 1963 to 1,300 square kilometers today[1]. As a symbol of global warming, however, Lake Chad is seen in the context of Africa being the continent most vulnerable to climate change, facing rising temperatures and increased drought. This despite Africa being the least responsible for global greenhouse emissions, which cause global warming[2]. The consequences of Lake Chad drying up are dire. The lake is estimated to provide a lifeline to nearly 30 million people in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger. It has led to a massive reduction in fishing, which many people relied on for income and has caused tensions at community level between different land and water users and regionally between countries competing for the resources of the lake. The shrinkage has a negative impact on, among other things, large scale irrigation schemes in Nigeria. The lake serves as a critical, strategic area for global biodiversity, home to 120 species of fish as well supporting 372 bird species. The countries within the region are among the poorest countries in the world. Based on the 2007/2008 UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) for 177 countries[3] the LCBC countries rank amongst the lowest globally.

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Basic Data
NameLake Chad desertification, Chad
CountryChad
SiteChad Basin
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Fossil Fuels and Climate Justice/Energy
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Climate change related conflicts (glaciers and small islands)
Aquaculture and fisheries
Specific CommoditiesWater

Land
Fish
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAnnual fish production on Lake Chad is estimated at about US$60-million. Over 200,000 people are directly involved in fishing, with 10 million supported by the sector[4]. It is estimated that there has been a decline of catches from 220,000 tonnes in 1974 to 100,000 tonnes today.

Project Area (in hectares)130000
Level of Investment (in USD)N/A
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population30000000
Relevant government actorsLake Chad Basin Commission, Government of Nigeria, Government of Chad, Government of Cameroon, Government of Niger, Government of the Central African Republic
International and Financial InstitutionsAfrican Development Bank (AfDB)
The World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersWorldWide Fund for Nature, Ramsar Convention Secretariat, Birdlife International
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginUNKNOWN
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local government/political parties
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood
Outcome
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseEnvironmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Land demarcation
Migration/displacement
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Development of AlternativesCountries of the region have come together through the Lake Chad Basin Commission to coordinate their responses to the crisis and to work towards the suistainable use of the lakes resources. LCBC countries have developed an ambitious plan to replenish the lake with water from the Obangui, a tributary of the Congo River. The scheme will cost a staggering 14.5 billion dollars and feasibility studies are being carried out[5].
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Seen though the prism of climate justice (although the causes of Lake Chads shrinkage are multiple), Lake Chad is an example of how the effects and costs of global climate change as a result of greenhouse gas emissions emitted by industrialised countries are being borne by those in the developing world whom are the least responsible for climate change.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

The 1992 UN Transboundary Watercourse Convention.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Non-navigational Uses of International Watercourses.

(Together, the United Nations

Conventions protect the water rights of the downstream user from abuses of upstream states. The conventions provide the foundation for the development of bilateral and multilateral water agreements

from the riparian states.)

Links

IPS (2009). Drying, Drying, Disappearing. Available at: Accessed 7 February 2013.
[click to view]

IPS (2013). How to save a shrinking lake? Available at: Accessed 7 February 2013.
[click to view]

for the Lake Chad Basin. Available at: Accessed 7 February 2013.
[click to view]

Odada, E (Undated). Experience and Lessons Learned Brief for Lake Chad. Available at: Accessed 7 February 2013.
[click to view]

UNEP (Undated). Lake Chad: almost gone. Available at: Accessed 7 February 2013.
[click to view]

Lake Chad Basin Commission (2008). Strategic Action Programme

Media Links

VIDEOS:

Al Qarra English (2013). Saving Lake Chad. Ahead of the 2013 Donors Conference. Available at: Accessed 7 February 2013.
[click to view]

Climate Change TV (2012). Rio 20: The disappearance of Lake Chad. Available at: Accessed 7 February 2013.
[click to view]

Climate Change TV (2012). Lake Chad Basin Commission. Available at: Accessed 7 February 2013.
[click to view]

France 24 (2010). Lake Chad: running dry?. Available at: Accessed 7 February 2013.
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorPatrick Burnett
Last update08/04/2014
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