Maroua (Far-North of Cameroon) – 22-23 September 2016: the Conference Room of Hotel Sahel hosted the commissioning ceremony of the National Coordination of the Programme for the Rehabilitation and Strengthening of the Resilience of Socio-ecologic Systems of the Lake Chad Basin (PRESIBALT) under the chairmanship of the Governor of the Far North Region of Cameroon, Mr. Midjiyawa Bakari, Second Commissioner of Cameroon to LCBC.
In attendance in this important ceremony on the regional programme of LCBC (Lake Chad Basin Commission) funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB), were all stakeholders such as the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Regional Development (MINEPAT), SEMRY, PRODEBALT, MINADER, MINFOF, IUCN, ACEEN, SGC, Cooperatives, MINEPDED, Network of Women’s associations, EXP-SXE.
Other objectives were also assigned to this commissioning ceremony including the presentation of PRESIBALT with focus on its operations and financial management, a working session with all partners who are involved in the flooding project of the Waza Logone Floodplain, the review of the procurement plan at PRESIBALT, a meeting with officials of MINEPAT and regional delegates, experience-sharing gatherings on lessons learned from the execution of PRODEBALT (Sustainable Development Programme of the Lake Chad Basin, which was launched in 2008 with a budget of 60 Million Euros, funded by the AfDB and which focuses on soil defence and restoration, sand dune fixation and regeneration of pastoral ecosystems….) from which PRESIBALT takes over, notably the identification of major constraints and relevant recommendations…
Following various presentations made by the PRESIBALT’s experts, participants raised issues for clarification, made amendments and criticisms. Their concerns were about the judicious use of funds made available at the National Coordination as loans, the lack of knowledge of procedures by some partners , the necessity to involve the National Coordination and ministries concerned in the processing of tender documents at the national level, the necessity to align the planned activities, budgets and procurement plans altogether during the execution of the programme, the necessity to monitor the activities of PRESIBALT, the full-time involvement of technical ministries and regional delegates in the activities of the project.
Clarifications were brought out on these issues by officials of the regional coordination of PRESIBALT and the Technical Director of LCBC, representing the Executive Secretary on assignment.
A working session took place between the newly commissioned staff and different technical partners. This session enabled to review and understand the relevance of various activities of this five-year programme which amounts to 11 Billion Francs CFA for Cameroon and which aims to protect the ecosystems while supporting the local economic activities through the construction of infrastructures ranging from the rehabilitation of the floodplain, the development of irrigated areas, the construction of rural markets, boreholes and the provision of equipment such as mills, smoking centres, hulling machines, ice machines, dairy materials and weaving workshops , etc.
For a cost of close to 55 Billion francs CFA as loans or grants in five years, the Programme for the Rehabilitation and Strengthening of the Resilience of Socio-ecologic Systems of the Lake Chad Basin (PRESIBALT) targets the improvement of the resilience of vulnerable populations of Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, CAR and Chad. These people live on the natural resources of the Lake Chad basin. In line with the five-year investment plan (2013-2017) of LCBC funded by the African Development Bank – leader of technical and financial partners of LCBC – PRESIBALT will deal with activities on the preservation and value of water resources, the development of ecologic services and value chains and the building of institutional and administrative capacities of the programme. Over 15 Million people (including 52% of women) will be direct recipients of the programme through the improvement of their revenues, food security and access to basic social facilities. PRESIBALT will also strengthen the regional and local cooperation and collaboration for an integrated management of natural resources, the interregional trade of farm products. It will take into account the social aspect of resilience, thus limiting potential causes of conflicts. In a bid to consider the current security challenges, a modular and conflict sensitivity approach will be performed to carry out activities in favourable areas according to the annual risk assessment.
The Lake Chad Basin is an important biodiversity hub located between West and Central Africa, which is currently facing environmental, security, social, economic, humanitarian and political challenges. Its fluctuating annual variability is threatened by the increasing desertification and population growth. As borders are porous, various illegal trafficking and criminal acts, smuggling, proliferation of weapons and identity conflicts emerge in the area. The insecurity was compounded by the upsurge of terrorist groups like ‘’Boko Haram’’ which threaten the stability of the entire region. The consecutive droughts intensified the flow of migrants and exacerbated social tensions and community conflicts on the resources. Despair and unemployment confronting the youths fuelled the surge of terrorist acts. The growing depletion of water resources and the lack of coherent policies also represent causes of instability and conflicts. It is worth mentioning the humanitarian crisis attributed to the flow of thousands of refugees and displaced persons fleeing conflict areas and worsening food insecurity …