Main page content

Shoring Up Stability – Addressing climate and fragility risks in the Lake Chad region

A soldier protects the fishers' catch on the shore of the Lake Chad.

This crisis is not simply collateral damage from harsh conditions in the Sahel.  In  fact,  as  a  unique  fresh  water  lake  in  the  middle  of  the  arid Sahara, Lake Chad is an ecological miracle. For millennia, it has been a source of life, resilience and even prosperity for the surrounding area. But since 2009, the parts of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon bordering Lake  Chad—which  are  home  to  more  than  17.4  million  people—have been  locked  into  multiple  and  overlapping  crises.  Whether  it  will  be possible  for  people  to  break  out  of  this  conflict  trap  will  depend  on  a nuanced  understanding  of  how  climate  change  and  conflict  interact in  this  specific  context. 

Through  the  joint  analysis  of  climate  change and  conflict  risks,  the  present  assessment  takes  an  evidence-based approach to understand the different and connected dimensions of risk and inform appropriate responses. This report is the first of its kind on the Lake Chad region and a pioneer among  climate-fragility  risk  assessments  globally.  It  is  the  product  of an  intensive  two-year  period  of  research  across  all  four  countries.  The assessment draws on long-term hydrological data from the Lake Chad basin,  including  ground  measurements  as  well  as  brand  new  analysis of  20  years  of  satellite  observations.  It  also  builds  on  more  than  200 interviews   with   community   members,   including   past   and   present members  of  armed  opposition  groups,  experts  and  officials,  and  an extensive  review  of  the  literature  on  Lake  Chad.  It  aims  to  present  a balanced, fact-driven conflict and climate risk assessment of the Lake Chad region that identifies key risks and proposes pragmatic solutions.

A family waits for food aid in an IDP camp in Diffa, Niger.


Explore the Shoring Up Stability website (all resources in English and French)


Lake Chad’s conflict trap can seem insurmountable. But the region has always been a source of resilience and it can be again. Watch this video to learn what can be done to break the conflict trap and to shore up stability in the Lake Chad region.

The Security Council “recognises the adverse effects of climate change and ecological changes … on the stability of the Region, including through water scarcity, drought, desertification, land degradation, and food insecurity, and emphasises the need for adequate risk assessments and risk management strategies by governments and the United Nations relating to these factors.”

- UN Security Council Resolution 2349 (31 March 2017)


The story of Lake Chad is one of a people-centred crisis which requires people-centred responses. Through Mohamed’s story, we see how climate change and conflict have interacted and affected the life, livelihoods and prospects of one man and his family. Read the comic.



                            INFOGRAPHIC    |    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY    |    FULL REPORT





Maps and Infographics

A series of maps and infographics visualize the Lake Chad water level fluctuation and groundwater systems, numbers of IDPs and refugees in the region, the contribution of climate change to conflict dynamics, related restrictions on cross-border movement and trade, pathways between conflict and peace, and more.

Photo Exhibition

The photos that illustrate the key findings of the study “Shoring up stability: Addressing Climate and Fragility Risk in the Lake Chad Region” were taken by award-winning photographer and film maker Arno Trümper, who accompanied the project team during their research in Niger, Nigeria and Chad between October 2018 and April 2019.