Lake Chad project: UNESCO to train 300 experts in techniques of water resources management

UNESCO says it will train 300 scientists, decision makers and community leaders in techniques of water resources management for the implementation of the Biosphere and Heritage of Lake Chad (BIOPALT) project.

Mr Getachew Engida, the Deputy Director General of UNESCO announced this on Monday in Abuja.

He spoke during the launch of the project at the ongoing International Conference of Lake Chad (ICLC).

The theme of the conference is: `Saving the Lake Chad to Revitalise the Basin’s Ecosystem for Sustainable Livelihood, Security and Development.’

Engida said that the project implementation will employ trends in technology, scientific research findings to ensure long term planning and successful execution.

“The project aims to enhance our scientific understanding of the complex factors altering the Lake Chad: the effects of climate change, human activity, and how we can adapt to these changes.

“We will bring cutting edge technology, including drones and other imaging equipment, and provide training.

“These new findings will be shared via databases and atlases to strengthen scientific cooperation, to collectively devise innovative responses.

“Chad, Cameroun and Nigeria will integrate the African Drought Monitor system to share data,’’ he said.

Engida said that the interventions to be deployed in the restoration of the lake were expected to launch it to trans-boundary World Heritage Site, as well as boost animal farming.

“To ensure the long-term success of this project, the local people must have a stake in it.

“The training will eventually reach some 30,000 residents who will be empowered to make decisions for their community, yet in harmony with the whole ecosystem.

“A community radio will also reach two million more residents to understand the implications of sustainable water management in their daily lives.

“By creating a common knowledge basis, we hope to set the region on course to have several new trans-boundary World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.

“This international recognition would further bind the destiny of the diverse groups in the region in finding a long-term sustainable balance,’’ he added.

Engida recalled that over two million people in the region have been displaced and close to seven million people in the area faced food insecurity.

Engida said that the issue of Lake Chad impacts heavily on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 calls for the collective action to eradicate poverty and tackle climate change.

He noted that the restoration of Lake Chad is a universal imperative, adding that the world will be poorer ecologically and culturally without it.

The Lake Chad Basin shrank for the past 30 years from 25,000 square kilometres in the 1960s to 2,500 square kilometres in 2000.

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