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Le développement du lac Tchad / Development of Lake Chad

Jacques Lemoalle
Géraud Magrin

English Version


Sanusi Imran Abdullahi, Michel Laurent et Annick Girardin

Texte intégral

Engr. Sanusi Imran Abdullahi
Executive Secretary of LCBC

1For fifty years, LCBC has been working to promote a sustainable shared management of environmental resources of the basin. In this vein, various actions were undertaken and several other studies carried out in order to identify future interventions in line with the Vision 2025, the Strategic Action Plan (SAP) and the Water Charter of the Lake Chad basin. However, challenges are still to be addressed.

2The aim of this expert group review is to give a clear picture of the state of Lake Chad, the current dynamics and their evolution trends. The study also aims at making an adequate diagnosis in line with critical political and technical stakes so as to increase awareness among policy makers and facilitate the decision making process.

3The report of this expertise summarises updated knowledge on the hydrology of the lake and answers some questions related to the current state and the trends of the ecosystem of the lake. It is a synthesis which integrates both the dynamics of ecosystems and their interactions with human societies. It also highlights the guidelines of the diagnosis, describes policies approved and proposes recommendations on operational, research and strategic directions which are necessary for a development.

4This new move shall thus pave the way for a smooth strategic planning process and consolidate arguments in favour of projects which will be defended by LCBC.


Michel Laurent
Chairman of IRD

5In the name of its member states, the Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission wished to entrust the IRD, within the framework of a project funded by the French Global Environment Facility, with the organisation of an expert group review into the future of Lake Chad. This work has now been published and everyone will be able to see the quality of the summary and the recommendations issued by the panel of experts from the North and the South.

6The work of the panel of experts has been achieved within a short time frame, as provided by the “model” of the IRD expert group review. It has been carried out under difficult circumstances due to the movement restrictions in the subregion, especially in Nigeria. Nevertheless an expert group review is a demanding exercise and it requires to overcome obstacles. Therefore I would like to thank the representatives of the French Embassy in N’Djamena for their continued support.

7This expert group review demonstrates the importance, now and in the future, of building public policies to promote the protection and development of the Lake Chad. There is no doubt that the stakeholders, including the Lake Chad Basin Commission, will take on-board the often complex findings of this review, carried out using a global and multi-disciplinary approach.

8As I write the preface to this, the thirteenth expert group review carried out by the IRD, I am delighted that scientific research has again demonstrated the value of its direct contribution to development, with findings and perspectives that are relative to public decision-making.


Annick Girardin
Secretary of State for Development and Francophony

9The Lake Chad is an extraordinary example of all the issues the countries sharing water in the context of climate change have to deal with. Its management illustrates the answers that the international community and the regional organizations must provide to enhance the sustainable development of states. The global response is at the crossroad of environmental, economic and political dimensions.

10The specter of the drying-out hangs over the Lake Chad. Over the last fifty years the variations of the area of the Lake have been tremendous and alarming. The combined action of climatic factors and of the overexploitation of water resources may deeply constraint fishing, agriculture and livestock. The conservation of the Lake Chad, which is a global public good, is urgent: the riparian peoples’ future (2 millions) depend on it. The mobilization of all actors is necessary. France is deeply involved in such task based on recognized expertise that has a long experience in transbandoury water resources management.

11This publication financed by the FGEF is the result of an equal north/south collaborative work managed by the French expertise of Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). It emphasizes the need for data to sustainably well managed water resources. We can manage well what we know well!

12In this context, promoting the integrated management of transbandoury water resources (IWRM) at the Lake Chad basin level is essential to development. Through appropriate governance and planned investments at basin level, IWRM is the key of sustainable use and of protection of natural resources. Based on a balanced allocation of water resources and on benefits provided, it helps the prevention of conflicts between users and countries. Adaptation to climate change effects, large water infrastructures, degradation of ecosystems and services can only be dealt at basin level.

13The integrated water resources management is on pillar of French diplomatic and cooperation action in this sector. The French GEF and AFD (Agence Française de Développement) play a key role in implementing this strategy. The implementation of our Strategy mobilizes science and research (IRD, CIRAD, CEMAGREF, BRGM), NGOs (firstly International Office for Water) in order to develop with international partners, in particular with African partners, technical, economic and social tools to well-managed transbandoury water resources.

14I am pleased that this joint French and African work product stresses the benefits of a close cooperation between development policies and research for development. I have no doubt that would significantly contribute to the sustainable development of Lake Chad, to the wealth of riparian’s population and beyond.

15This expert group review contributes to develop a better knowledge of solutions relating to climate change adaptation meanwhile the Paris Climate 2015 Conference is rapidly approaching. By multiplying these positives and shared solutions, we would be able to reach a universal agreement which concern not only the major emitter countries but also all the States and especially the most vulnerable countries.

© IRD Éditions, 2014

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