Multiple stressors converge on the Lake Chad region. Unemployment, depleting resources, poverty and conflict interact with climate change. Prolonged severe droughts have contributed to a massive shrinking of Lake Chad, a main source of livelihood for millions of inhabitants. The resulting livelihood insecurity and extreme poverty has exacerbated tensions between pastoralists, farmers and fishers. This contributes to the increased risk of recruitment by non-state armed groups such as Boko Haram, engagement in illicit employment, armed conflict and major internal as well as cross-border displacement. As insurgencies from Boko Haram have increasingly spread from Nigeria across the region, the already fragile security situation in the region has become tenser. The region is also on the brink of a massive humanitarian crisis as the consequences of the impending famine. The impacts of climate change on state and societies around Lake Chad will further exacerbate these pressures.
Aware of theses urgent and converging risks, the international community, donors and national governments have launched a number of initiatives targeted at increasing resilience in the region. In February 2017, the Oslo Summit was hosted by Norway, together with Nigeria, Germany and UN OCHA to mobilise greater funding for humanitarian efforts to prevent further deterioration of the situation in the region. In March 2017, a diplomatic mission from the UN Security Council made a four-country visit to appraise the situation on the ground. The mission concluded that the crisis in Africa’s Lake Chad Basin is of global concern and action is needed “right now”. The Planetary Security Initiative is planning to take-up the complex challenges facing the region in the forthcoming Planetary Security Conference later this year.
Against this backdrop adelphi, along with partners SIPRI and SEI, are organizing a side event at the forthcoming Stockholm Forum of Security and Development from 3-4 May on “Climate-fragility risks in the Lake Chad region – scope for conflict prevention and resilience building”. The event will bring together experts from the region along with representatives of donor and development cooperation organizations to discuss how to better link peacebuilding with climate change adaptation to build resilience against climate-fragility risks. The organisers envisage the findings from this event to directly feed in to the Planetary Security Initiative and inform further substantive engagement on the issue.