On the sidelines of the International Conference on Lake Chad held on 26-28 February 2018 in Abuja, the BIOPALT Project (Biosphere and Heritage of Lake Chad) was launched.
This project is funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and jointly executed by the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It intends to conduct an assessment of the hydrologic, natural, socioeconomic and cultural resources of Lake Chad. BIOPALT also aims to strengthen the local capacities in terms of protecting the natural and cultural resources, carry out lead actions for the rehabilitation of some ecosystems and promote green economy.
For three years, this project will be executed in close collaboration with local populations by contributing to the rehabilitation of wildlife migration corridors, namely elephants between Chad, Cameroon and Nigeria, the preservation of oasis and control of the drying of water points.
It will foster income generating activities such as spirulina production, green algae harvested by women using traditional methods, and support efforts tending to the preservation of the kouri cattle specie, which is specific to Lake Chad and endangered.
Overall, the project will also assist the riparian countries of Lake Chad in cooperating in order to fulfil the criteria related to the sound management and preservation of ecosystems with a view to submitting the candidature of Lake Chad as transboundary biosphere reserve and World heritage site.
Located at the junction between the Sahel region and Central Africa and surrounded by four countries (Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Chad), lake Chad currently faces many environmental, economic, political and security challenges attributed to the insurgency perpetrated by Boko Haram.
For half a century, the Lake Chad basin- an important fresh water source providing livelihoods to close to 50 Million people – may have lost up to 90% of its water volume according to some scientific data. This has tremendous impact on the ecosystems and regional economy thus making populations vulnerable, fuelling food insecurity and security challenges.