Cooperation: NBA-LCBC pool efforts on the peaceful management of natural resources in transboundary river basin organisations
From 28 to 29 June 2022, an exchange meeting brought together experts from the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) and the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) to discuss around the peaceful management of natural resources in transboundary river basin organisations. The meeting took place in the conference room of the Commission.
It was organised as part of the Frexus project “Improving Security and Resilience to Climate Change in Fragile Contexts through the Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus” of the German cooperation, financed by the European Union. This meeting, the first of its kind, is part of the exchange of experiences to strengthen collaboration and partnership between both basin organisations, which are undermined by the same challenges, to improve the coordination of their interventions.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the NBA did not fail to highlight the holistic approach of the FREXUS project in the Niger and Lake Chad basins. It aims at providing clear and appropriate solutions to the challenges of peaceful management of natural resources and the conflicts linked to their management and exploitation. According to Mr Abdérahim Biremé Hamid, “The FREXUS project pursues an integrated approach based on the Water-Energy-Food Security-Conflict Nexus, to counter the negative spirals of resource scarcity and conflict and, instead, establish climate-resilient development opportunities. Therefore, the issue addressed by FREXUS is currently at the heart and centre of the concerns of the people of our basins, who are confronted with multi-faceted and multi-dimensional crises, namely security, food, and climate.”
Considering the importance of the meeting, the Executive Secretary of the NBA urged experts of both sister institutions to share their respective experiences without restraint. He asked them to give all the necessary attention during these two days and formulate proposals and recommendations that measure up to the challenges for better coordination of the interventions of the basin organizations. They include prevention and peaceful management of natural resources and related conflicts for the interest of our valiant populations. Before concluding his remarks, he assured experts of the NBA’s support and availability to ensure the success of this process initiated by both basin organizations.
In his opening remarks, the Executive Secretary of LCBC, Ambassador Mamman Nuhu, underscored the importance of water resources, the keystone of any sustainable development. Water resources are more critical for the Sahel region, where the pressing issues related to water, energy, climate change, safeguarding biodiversity, and conserving ecosystems are almost existential questions posed to all States with a thorough understanding. “We need it for health, food security, and economic progress. Therefore, we must act so that water remains a catalyst for cooperation and not a source of conflict within communities and the Member States,” Ambassador Mamman Nuhu said.
In this compressed geostrategic space between the Sahel and the Sahara, the worsening of conflicts over natural resources (water, land, energy) play a significant role in the deterioration of the security situation, and their lack of access is a considerable constraint to sustainable development, the Executive Secretary of LCBC continued.
Hence, in light of these immense, complex, and interconnected challenges, the need to adopt a collective, integrated, and integral approach to natural resource management, particularly in the two transboundary basin areas. Amb. NUHU also expressed the wish that “discussions and fruitful deliberations, initiated during this important meeting, will lead to relevant proposals and recommendations, which will certainly have positive consequences for both basin organisations, the Member States, and the populations.”
In 2019, NBA and LCBC signed a Framework Agreement on Cooperation and Partnership for better coordination and harmonisation of their respective interventions in specific areas of common interest. However, this agreement is in cataleptic slumber. The FREXUS project could be a booster.
Implemented by GIZ, with funding from the European Union, the FREXUS (Nexus in Fragile Contexts) project aims to strengthen peace and stability in areas where climate change worsens resource-related conflicts. FREXUS aims to develop and evaluate assessment tools and methodology on the links between resource utilisation, climate change, and conflict while identifying and implementing activities to address the challenges, particularly in fragile contexts. The FREXUS project focuses on local communities and is dedicated to including security actors and the most vulnerable parts of the population, especially women.