Flavia Schlegel, UNESCO, noted that BIOPALT, which is being implemented in five countries, has proven its relevance for turning transboundary conflict into cooperation.
The project’s success can be attributed, in part, to UNESCO’s multi-disciplinary approach, with cultural expertise complementing on-the-ground work.
16 July 2018: On Monday, 16 July 2018, on the sidelines of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), a side event highlighted the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Biosphere and Heritage of Lake Chad (BIOPALT) project as an example of multidisciplinary cooperation linked to multiple SDGs to address the crisis in the Lake Chad basin.
UNESCO and the Permanent Missions of Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic (CAR) to the UN organized the event.
Titled ‘Making the SDGs Work for the Lake Chad Basin,’ the event was organized in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Lake Chad Basin Commission.
Flavia Schlegel, UNESCO, recalled the UN Security Council’s recognition of security challenges in the region, and noted that BIOPALT, which is being implemented in five countries, has proven its relevance for turning transboundary conflict into cooperation.
Ibrahim Thiaw, UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor for the Sahel, referred to BIOPALT as a “wonderful natural resource planning and management tool” that aims to address the deeper causes of the crisis in the region.
BIOPALT aims to ensure access to clean water and sanitation, including through restoring ponds and preserving oases.
Maman Nuhu, Lake Chad Basin Commission, said BIOPALT aims to, inter alia: ensure access to clean water and sanitation, including through restoring ponds and preserving oases; and develop policy briefs for decision makers and action plans to support communities in monitoring and managing resources.
Countries also shared their perspectives on regional challenges and the value of BIOPALT. Nigeria emphasized the devastating impacts on the socioeconomic wellbeing caused by Boko Haram. Chad pointed to collaboration and synergy between different scientific centers created by BIOPALT. Cameroon noted the project’s sustainable development approach to managing the basin’s hydrological and cultural resources.
Speakers also stressed that any solution to the Lake Chad crisis must include engagement of women, and that the project’s success can be attributed, in part, to UNESCO’s multi-disciplinary approach, with cultural expertise complementing on-the-ground work. They also highlighted the project’s inclusion of biodiversity restoration and green economy approaches. [IISD RS Coverage of Side Event on BIOPALT Project] [BIOPALT Project Webpage]