Economic, Social and Environmental Reconstruction in the Lake Chad Basin with UNESCO

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For nearly 50 years, UNESCO has been promoting the need to ensure that human activities do not harm nature and that they are interwoven with it in a neutral but positive way through its Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. Biosphere reserves play a key role in this respect. Ecological restoration is a relatively new concept and this workshop aimed to strengthen the capacities of the main stakeholders in the Lake Chad Basin in this field. About 50 people were able to present and actively exchange views on the restoration of the Khaya spawning ground, the development of the Wadi of Ngar-Ngourta, the promotion of the Artomossi spirulina site and the exploitation of the Sawa site.

The Lake Chad Basin, a crossroads for exchange between West and Central Africa, is full of remarkable natural potentialities that have unfortunately been weakened by the vagaries of nature and the survival practices of the communities that depend on it. The BIOPALT project wants to promote pilot actions around three priority sites by engaging communities, scientists, decision-makers and space managers in order to repair ecological damage and rebuild healthier relationships between human beings and other elements of nature.

With technical assistance from the UK EDEN Project the spawning grounds will be restored at the Khaya and Dossoloum sites. At present it is not protected or managed and the population includes a very large number of vulnerable displaced individuals. This site could offer opportunities for biological monitoring and species selection. In the Wadi of Ndjar – Ngourta the project aims to reconcile agriculture and livestock in order to promote peace and living together in the seven villages of the area.

Finally, Artomossi is the best production site for spirulina, a production carried out by women’s groups. Spirulina is of interest to the BIOPALT project for its nutritional value and for its role in ecological restoration and the promotion of income-generating activities based on green economy.

Training on ecological restoration is an essential step in the process that UNESCO is undertaking in the Lake Chad Basin. This work will be done with EDEN Project in partnership with local communities and the University of N’Djamena, which will be able to use this experience for the curriculum of its SC Master’s degree in ecological restoration.