Yaounde, 20 December 2019 - Under the chairmanship of Engineer Suleiman Hussein Adamu, Federal Minister of Water Resources, First Commissioner of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to LCBC and also current Chairman of the Council of Ministers, the 65th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) was held on 19 December 2019, in the Conference Room of the Hilton Hotel in Yaounde, Cameroon.
This statutory meeting meets annually to discuss in particular the activities carried out by the Commission for the past year and adopt the Annual Work Plan and Budget (AWPB) for the coming year. The Session was attended by all Commissioners of member states or their representatives, with the notable exception of Libya. The following officials were also in attendance: members of Government of the Republic of Cameroon, Ambassadors of LCBC member countries, Representatives of International Organisations and LCBC Development Partners.
As a prelude to this session, experts from member countries as well as officials of LCBC deliberated from 16th to 18th December, 2019 to lay the ground for better decision-making by the Commissioners on certain issues on the agenda. They include: the report of the 64th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers, the activity report and the implementation of the 2019 budget of the Executive Secretariat, the 2020 AWPB, the report of the Financial Controller and the 2018 external audit report on the financial statements of LCBC. Memoranda on the first phase of implementation of the Inter-Basin Water Transfer Project (IBWTP) - in particular, improving the hydraulicity of the Lake Chad tributaries and its development - and on the recruitment process of staff for LCBC. Briefs on the one hand, to present BIOPALT (BIOsphere and Heritage of Lake Chad) and on the implementation status of the Regional Stabilization Strategy (RSS) were also presented.
At the end of a marathon day of intense deliberations and discussions, Commissioners, congratulated the Executive Secretary, Ambassador Mamman Nuhu, for the quality of his report and the results achieved during 2019. They also congratulated National Experts for the clarity and relevance of their report.
After deliberations, Commissioners approved the 2020 Annual Work Plan and Budget of the Executive Secretariat worth FCFA 20,485,171,000 (twenty billion four hundred and eighty-five million one hundred and seventy-one thousand), including FCFA 18,570,071,000 for development and FCFA 1,915,100,000 for recurrent expenditures.
Discussing the point on the financial situation of LCBC, Commissioners commended the efforts of Nigeria, for paying its contributions in full. The difficulties faced by member states with significant arrears in the payment of their contributions were once again underscored. This situation has a negative impact on the performance of the institution. The other member states pledged their commitment to clear all contributions arrears and pay their statutory contributions as soon as possible.
Finally, Commissioners urged the Executive Secretariat to explore new sources of financing to make up for the inadequacy of the contributions of member states.
The Council adopted the report of the National Experts and adopted the following resolutions:
• Approved the Report of the 64th Session of the Council of Ministers;
• Approved the Report of the Executive Secretary, the 2019 Activity Report, the 2019 Report of the Financial Controller and the 2018 External Audit Report.
With respect to staff recruitment, following closed-door discussions, Commissioners directed the Executive Secretary to suspend the process. Thus, they mandated the Chairman of the Council of Ministers to verify the compliance with procedure or not before approval.
However, the Council authorized the Executive Secretary to fill certain vacancies in 2020, in accordance with the instruments of LCBC and under the supervision of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers.
The Council acknowledged the implementation status of the Inter-Basin Water Transfer Project. Furthermore, the Council authorised the Executive Secretary to seek funding of US$2 million (two million dollars) for the conduct of studies to improve the hydraulicity of the Lake tributaries (Chari-Logone and Komadougou-Yobe) and the development of Lake Chad. The Council called on member states to back this project and to promote it amply.
The Council also acknowledged the implementation status of the BIOPALT project, the brief on the implementation status of the Regional Stabilization Strategy (RSS). Regarding the nomination file of Lake Chad on the World Heritage List, Commissioners directed the Executive Secretariat to undertake with UNESCO consultations with all stakeholders in member countries in order to harmonise points of view before the submission of the file to UNESCO.
At the end of the proceedings, which took place in a brotherly, sincere and friendly atmosphere, Commissioners, while reiterating their deep gratitude to partners for the constant support to LCBC, requested Mr. Mr. Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT) and First Commissioner of Cameroon to LCBC, to convey to the authorities and people of Cameroon their highest consideration and the expression of their deep gratitude for the warm welcome and legendary hospitality extended to them.
In accordance with the calendar for Council of Ministers to be held in a rota basis in the various member countries, the ne of the member countries of LCBC will be held in the Central African Republic, at the end of 2020.