The Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) was established in 1964 for the regulation and planning of the uses of the water and other natural resources of the conventional basin, most of the activities undertaken in its early days were in response to drought which devastated the sahelian region particularly between 1973 and 1983/84. The persistent drought and desertification led to the reduction of inflows into the Lake.
In the late 80's, LCBC conducted, with the assistance of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a diagnostic study on the environmental degradation of the conventional basin of Lake Chad. Based on that, a master plan and the draft program of actions were developed in the meantime with the assistance of FAO, UNEP and UNSO. The Master Plan is the general state of the Lake Chad Basin including an overview of identified issues, constraints and opportunities for conservation and development. It also presents the action plan with a list of 36 projects, including the feasibility of transferring water from the Ubangi to save Lake Chad.
To respond also to these challenges, a Vision 2025 was adopted by the 7th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the LCBC in 1994 in Abuja, Nigeria. The Lake Chad Basin vision, as stated in the Vision Document 2025 is: “The Lake Chad Region would like to see by the year 2025 the Lake Chad - common heritage - and other wetlands maintained at sustainable levels to ensure the economic security of the freshwater ecosystem resources, sustained biodiversity and aquatic resources of the basin, the use of which should be equitable to serve the needs of the population of the basin thereby reducing the poverty level”.
The LCBC is pursuing this goal, often in partnership, in order to save Lake Chad and in so doing, save lives. Thus, with the assistance of German Cooperation, the LCBC has developed and implemented the project "Groundwater management for sustainable development of the Lake Chad Basin" between 1997 and 2001. This project did the mapping of groundwater over an area of 96,000 km2 between the lake and Sahr Moundou in Chad and the Far North of Cameroon and to study the recharge. In 2005 LCBC developed a general framework for stakeholder participation with the assistance of the agency of the German Technical Cooperation, GTZ.
In 2008, the LCBC adopted the Strategic Action Programme (SAP) of the Lake Chad basin drawn up as part of the UNDP-World Bank GEF project entitled “Reversal of Land and Water Degradation Trends in the Lake Chad Basin Ecosystem”. Building on past efforts, this SAP incorporates the findings of key outputs of the current GEF Project, namely the environmental and social risk assessment (ESRA) and the transboundary diagnostic analysis (TDA), noting that the TDA process has included a causal chain analysis (CCA), stakeholder analysis and gap analysis.
Different National Action Plans (NAPs) were also develop by the Member States is based on an assessment of the priority national concern areas, which include, where they are in concordance, regional concerns identified in the TDA.
Since then, the Commission has revitalized its cooperation with the Group of African Development Bank (AfDB), World Bank (WB), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the organizations of the United Nations (FAO, UNESCO, UNDP, UNEP, UNECA, WMO, etc.), the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW), NEPAD, sister organizations such as ABN (Niger basin) and CICOS (Congo basin), the sub-regional Economic Commissions (RECs), CEMAC, ECOWAS. These partners are supporting the LCBC to meet the vision and among key projects on the ground are:
- The Lake Chad Basin Program of Sustainable Development (PRODEBALT);
- The Integrated transboundary water resources of Lake Chad Basin (IWRM) project;
- The Sustainable Management of Water Resources of the Lake Chad Basin (surface water and groundwater);
- The LCBC institutional support project by the German Cooperation;
- The development of the Charter of the water of the Lake Chad Basin executed with the support of the African Water Facility;
- The IUCN Komadugu-Yobe management plan implementation project;
- The Lake Chad Preservation Project: contribution to the Lake development strategy by the French Cooperation.
One other solution envisaged by LCBC member countries to stop the drying-up of Lake Chad and gradually restore its normal level is the Inter Basin Water Transfer Project from Ubangui River to Lake Chad. Apart from its potential for drought mitigation, the project will act as a catalyst for the re-establishment of fishery activities in Lake Chad as well as irrigation activities on the shores of the lake and long the Chari River. With the help of a navigable canal, the project provides a link between the LCBC member countries and the two Republics of Congo. The feasibility study is almost completed.