The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Borno state government have established Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum promote dialogue and conflict prevention for sustainable development and peace.
The member countries of forum comprise Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria with 11 state and provincial Governors.
The UNDP communication analyst, Eno Jonathan announced forum’s establishment on Wednesday at a joint news conference held in Maiduguri.
She said the objectives of the forum were to promote continuous dialogue and information sharing to strengthen coordination on cross border initiatives in the basin.
According to her, at the sub-national level the forum will support peace-building and conflict prevention efforts.
“This forum of Governors from the four-member country basin will provide path for sustainable development and peace,” said Jonathan.
She also hinted: “This first International Lake Chad Basin Governors’ Forum will create an enabling environment for state authorities at the sub-national level; and across common borderlands.
“Member governors of forum are to interact, dialogue and demonstrate strong commitments and decision to collaborate cooperate and work together.
“The 11 governors, will also overcome critical challenges faced by inhabitants of Lake Chad Basin.”
She said next week’s outcome of first meeting of the Lake Chad Basin Governor’s Forum was to promote cross-border cooperation on stabilization, peace-building, conflict prevention at the sub-national level.
Speaking on regional benefits, Eno said: “It will enhance conflict prevention, including the use of effective early warning response
structures, and expanding dialogue platforms at grassroots.
“Members of the forum will also promote sustainable development, including revitalizing livelihoods, strengthening governance and participatory economic growth, particularly investing in women and youths.
“A total of 150 participants, have been formally invited, including Resident Ambassador, International Development and donor partners, traditional leaders and a number of civil society and Non-government organisations (NGOs).
Special Adviser to Governor Kashim Shettima, Tukur Mshelia said the forum will seize the opportunity to showcase government’s efforts in rebuilding the state after Boko Haram insurgency to the international communities.
“It is an avenue to create more international awareness and get the desired commitment to save Lake Chad, which has lost 90% of its water body.”
According to United Nations estimates, the lake has shrunk from a peak of 25,000 square kilometres to 1,350 square kilometres.