UNESCO announces new plans to revitalise the Lake Chad region
A new plan by UNESCO highlights that creating more jobs in the Lake Chad area is crucial to protect the shrinking lake and addressing the region’s humanitarian crisis.
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) presented a proposal this week at a Nigerian conference on the future of Lake Chad, the proposal said UNESCO would help people in the area find jobs related to the lake.
It is hoped that providing people with jobs that are related to the lake will protect it and increase the resilience of communities living near it.
Since the 1960’s Lake Chad has shrunk by 90% dye to drying conditions and a growing population.
The Lake Chad Basin is an important source of fresh for more than 40 million people in Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Niger and Nigeria. Rainfalls have decline over the past 50 years and the lake’s surface area has shrunk by more than 90%, affecting the region’s ecosystems and economy.
The Lake’s shrinkage has forced a large number to migrate and has enabled some of the most vulnerable to be recruited by militant groups such as Boko Haram.
Abou Amani, UNESCO’s chief of hydrological systems and water scarcity, said:
“This is one of the poorest regions in all of Africa…we need to bring more work here to transform the area.”
The new project will focus on reducing poverty for people in the Lake Chad area which stretches across Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.
The plans include harvesting spirulina algae from the lake and protecting endangered cattle.
Funded by the African Development Bank, the project aims to monitor Lake Chad’s water and other natural resources alongside socio-economic and cultural factors. It also aims to reinforce local capacities in natural and cultural heritage preservation and undertake pilot activities for the rehabilitation of some ecosystems and the promotion of a green economy.
UNSECO hopes that if people are dependent on the lake for their income it will be managed more sustainably.
Abou Amani added:
“We are looking for which kinds of activities can develop so people can get more in terms of income,”
The project will run over the next three years focusing on water conservation and cultural preservation.
UNESCO’s project has been developed in partnership with communities in the Lake Chad area to ensure the plans meet their needs and that the conservation efforts will benefit them.
Previous management of the Lake has been hampered due to the number of countries the area covers. The new project is designed to help the countries bordering the lake work together to meet the management and preservation standards.
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Image credit: The Citizen