Abuja 2022: The 16th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission
The 16th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) took place on November 29, 2022, in Abuja, at the Conference Hall of the Presidential Villa, under the Chairmanship of H.E. MUHAMMADU BUHARI, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the LCBC.
The meeting was attended by H.E. Prof. FAUSTIN ARCHANGE TOUADERA, President of the Central African Republic, H.E. MOHAMED BAZOUM, President of the Republic of Niger, H.E. MAHAMAT IDRISS DEBY ITNO, President of the Transition of the Republic of Chad, H.E. MOHAMED YOUNIS MENFI, President of the Libyan Presidential Council and by Mr. JOSEPH BETI ASSOMO, Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defense, Representing H.E. PAUL BIYA, President of the Republic of Cameroon.
Special guests included members of the Government and various personalities of the Republic of Nigeria, ambassadors accredited to Nigeria, Representatives of International and Sub-Regional Organizations, and Representatives of LCBC Development Partners.
In addition to the Report of the Current Chairman of the Council of Ministers of LCBC, Engr. Suleiman H. Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, First Commissioner of Nigeria to LCBC, related to the deliberations of the 68th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of LCBC Member Countries, and the Report of the Special Envoy of the Summit to Chad, H.E. BABA GANA KINGIBE regarding the recent developments in Chad – presented in plenary session – the Heads of State and Government discussed in closed doors session, issues such as the Report of the Council of Ministers of Defense of Troop Contributing Countries and Benin, the Renewal of the mandate of Ambassador MAMMAN NUHU, as Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission for four years, and the Election of a new Chairman of the Summit of Heads of State and Government, etc.
As regards political, economic, social, climatic, and security issues, the Abuja Summit served as an opportunity to highlight some of the major achievements accomplished during President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure as Chairman of the Summit, despite vulnerabilities and capacity deficits in the demographic, economic, political, and social fields, aggravated by the unprecedented impact of climate change, lack of water and natural resources, social and economic consequences of the pandemic, and energy and food security crises resulting from the recent war in Ukraine.
At the end of their deliberations, the Heads of State and Government, as a result, agreed to clear outstanding contribution arrears and regularly and timely pay their annual contributions to the budget of LCBC. They also endorsed the revised Lake Chad Basin Strategic Action Program (SAP). They directed the LCBC Executive Secretary to pursue advocacy with technical and financial partners, such as the African Development Bank, the lead donor of LCBC, to support the implementation of the SAP and organize a Donor Round Table to fund the SAP. They also accepted the principle of conducting high-level advocacy with key stakeholders for ownership of the Pan-African project, the Inter-Basin Water Transfer Project. They launched an appeal to LCBC partners to support the funding of the first phase related to the improvement of the hydraulic capacity of the Chari and Logone rivers and the development of Lake Chad, and finally, endorsed the renewal of the mandate of Ambassador MAMMAN NUHU, as Executive Secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission for four years, with effect from 15 March 2022.
The Abuja Summit also marked the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chairmanship as the head of this regional organization in charge of the sustainable and equitable management of Lake Chad and other shared water resources, the preservation of ecosystems, the promotion of integrating and preserving of peace and transboundary security in the Lake Chad Basin, and during which LCBC registered major achievements in the field of the fight against terrorist groups in the Lake Chad Basin and the implementation of the Regional Strategy for the Stabilization, Recovery, and Resilience of the Lake Chad basin areas affected by Boko Haram insurgencies.
At the end of the Summit, President Muhammad Buhari handed over the Chair of the LCBC Summit of Heads of State and Government to President Mahamat Deby Itno of Chad as the new chair of the LCBC Heads of State and Government, officially referred to as The Summit. Henceforth, for the next two years, the Chadian government will chair all LCBC policy organ meetings.
Alongside the Council of Ministers, whose meeting took place on 24-26 November 2022 in the same town of Abuja, the Summit of Heads of State and Government is the LCBC’s highest forum where all the strategic decisions regarding the future directions of the organization are taken. Hosted by different member countries on a rotating basis, it provides an opportunity for these leaders to interact, exchange, and discuss views, recent developments, trends, and policies on the Lake Chad Basin in general and on water and environmental issues in particular, and to reaffirm their continued support to the primary objective of the Lake Chad Basin Commission: “To equitably and sustainably manage the Lake Chad and its shared water resources, to preserve its ecosystems and promote regional integration, peace, security, and development in the Lake Chad Region.”