Lake Chad on top of the agenda of the Rome International Summit on Water and Climate

Tuesday, 2017, October 31

An International Summit on Water and Climate bringing together the managers of major rivers, streams and lakes across the globe, was held on 23-25 October 2017 in Rome, the city of water fountains and aqueducts. The event was organised by the Italian Ministry of Environment, Protection of Land and Sea in partnership with the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the International Network of Basin Organisations (RIOB), the Secretariat of the World Alliance for Water and Climate - AMEC) and Aqua Madre, under the distinguished patronage of the President of the Republic and the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. The Conference was entitled ‘’Water and Climate: Meeting of major world rivers’’, and aimed to brainstorm on the potential harmful impact of global warming on the fresh water resources, rivers, water networks and ecosystems.

On the eve of the COP 23 of Bonn (Germany) to be held from the 6th to 17th November 2017 in the historic and prestigious Capitol Square of Rome, senior officials from the major river basins around the world (Amazonia, Mississipi, Yangtsé, Congo, Niger, Nile and Mekong…) and experts brainstormed on the potential harmful consequences of global warming on the fresh water resources, rivers , river networks and ecosystems and alerted the Governments and donors on the relevance of paying attention to water and the necessity of undertaking a quick and coordinated reaction to protect water access and quality.

Thus, for three days, this Summit enabled policymakers and experts to deepen the multiple aspects of this issue. Deliberations highlighted the relevance of the river basin as a notion, the transboundary cooperation for a water management based on the principles of equity and sustainability as well as appropriate decision-making and funding mechanisms.

The Executive Secretary of LCBC who took part in this great event, briefed the audience on the shared management of the water resources of the Komadugu Yobe and water governance in this sub-basin of the Lake Chad basin, which is shared by four riparian countries, of which the catchment area provides precious livelihoods to over 50 Million people. This resource is threatened by the variability of climate change. Lake Chad emerged as the focus of talks at the Rome meeting notwithstanding the major agenda on key rivers. During the official opening ceremony on the 23rd October 2017, the Chairman of the Italian Council of Ministers, Honourable Paolo Gentiloni disclosed the attention his country pays to desertification, which affects the Lake Chad basin and which threatens the disappearance of this beloved oasis located between the Sahel region and Sahara desert.

Italy is playing its role as a champion and catalyst of positive change on water and climate through the following actions: emphasis on the need to take urgent measures to fund projects which aim to improve the knowledge, governance, public participation and launch of immediate actions in the areas of water adaptation to climate change. These actions are fuelled by solidarity, knowledge sharing and dissemination in a bid to preserve and manage this vital resource in a rational manner, notably in Africa and the Lake Chad basin in line with the closing remarks by the Italian President Sergio Mattarella. He announced to the distinguished participants that the initial package meant for the studies and expertise on the African basins, including the Lake Chad basin indicated by his Prime Minister, was doubled.

The Executive Secretary of LCBC seized the opportunity offered by his presence in Italy to continue talks with Bonfica, the Italian firm which developed the concept of water transfer from the Ubangi River to Lake Chad known as “Transaqua’’- an idea for the Sahel Region”, and which has just signed an agreement with the Company ‘’Power China’’ for the deepening of the feasibility studies.