Draft For Communique At The End Of The Roundtable Conference Organised By Alone (Alone) On Addressing The Crisis Of The Sahel And The Lake Chad Basin: Targeting A Pan-Nigerian Civil Society Agenda, 29 November 2016
Following a one-day roundtable conference on the above topic, participant cutting across various civil society organisations in Nigeria have come up with the following resolution: –
• That the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel region of Nigeria should not be seen purely as a religious or ethnic problem; rather, the crises in the Sahel, including the Lake Chad Basin are manifestations of serious ecological challenges that should be addressed as a matter of urgent national importance.
• That the core ecological and attendant social challenges confronting farmers and pastoralists in the Sahel region manifests as desertification; water shortage and drought; the issue of livelihood; climate change; migration; maladaptation (inappropriate government response to adaptation); good governance deficits at the federal, state and local government levels, etc.
• That some of the root causes of the Sahel problems of the Lake Chad Basin are:-
1. Variability of hydrological regime of fresh water availability
2. Water Pollution
3. Decreased viability of biological resources
4. Loss of biodiversity, including fishes, wildlife, birds, etc. increased competition amongst riparian communities
5. Loss and modification of wetland ecosystems which have caused woodlands to become Savannas
6. Total lack of programs for managing water by riparian countries leads to sedimentation in rivers and water
7. Invasive species (typha grasses) now grow on dried waterways.
8. That there are absences of sustainable development on the political agenda of the riparian countries
9. Low standard of environmental education and awareness
10. Population pressure; growing populations necessitated an increase in livestock’s overgrazing encouraged unhealthy cultivation practices an intense fishing
11. That Climate change and other natural phenomena are part of the causal chain
The Roundtable had also emphasised the need for the Civil society organisations to do the following in the context of their mutual commitment to promoting ecological justice in the Sahel:-
1. Identify the root causes of the crisis
2. To treat the issue of Lake Chad and the Sahel as an ecological issue
3. To find and compile documents and data related to the roles and initiatives of state, federal and international agencies on the Sahel. This would help to shape a pan-Nigerian civils society agenda for the Sahel.
4. Need to build a working relationship amongst CSOs. This would involve forming an alliance amongst CSOs and participants with a view to forging a united front for advocacy.
5. Need to expand on the alliance by bringing in other stakeholders with common interests. Participants to take inventory of group with interest on the Sahel and how to bring them into the fold.
6. For NGOs involved in the roundtable to mainstream the linkages between climate change and the Sahel into their main activities
7. That all participants should begin to preach the issue of climate change in their various domain
8. That there is a need to develop briefing notes for national and international advocacy.