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Peace and conflict resolution in Lake Chad: mapping out safe areas

 

Peace and conflict resolution in Lake Chad region: mapping out safe areas.

                                                By Oladosu Adenike

                    In our world today, peace is not just the absence of war, it's the ability to sustain one's livelihood. This has to do with climate or environmental governance because an ungoverned region will be vulnerable to any kind of crises.



What do you think will happen if we eventually lost Lake Chad? Why the surrounding communities are hit the hardest by armed conflict? This shows a tie that, as the Lake recede, it becomes a favorable condition for this armed groups to thrive and then gain boundaries. This environmental factor has a huge influence on other underlying crisis. From our current work on finding the actual size of Lake Chad, we were able to find out that since 1960s, Lake Chad has never been stable and it size varies. But currently has shrinks at 1,269 square kilometers. Furthermore, what also matter most are the safe areas in order to secure the wellbeing of the people in the region. Likewise, the livelihoods of the people that live in this region are climate sensitive such as fishermen, herders and farmers. From all indications, as Lake Recedes, it expands the boundaries of armed groups. This has led to inter-border crisis and among the most several hit communities are in Doro Gowon in Nigeria, Bosso in Niger, N’Guigmi in Chad and Mahad EL Khel in Cameroon. The climate crisis knows no boundaries.



In 1960s, when the Lake was in its normal size, there was no sign of conflict but since the carrying capacity of the Lake could no longer serve the population, it escalated to conflicts. It then implies that if we could recharge Lake Chad, it will serve as an opportunity multiplier to not just the affected communities but also to the country as a whole because a threat in one region is a threat to the entire region. The safe place is not only an area with dense resource (just as the clashes between the farmers and herders in a conflicting interest on control of resource that has led to more crises) rather; it is an area that is able to provide sustainable livelihood for both the displaced people and community members. Providing safe place is a matter of giving people alternative livelihoods. That’s why migration takes place when there is no supporting life saving material. As the area becomes dry, the safe place shrinks. Therefore connecting the dot between conflict area and the safe place is a factor of lost societal disorderliness.

The shrinking Lake Chad



Over time, there have been controversial on the size of the Lake but from our findings using the earth satellite, we found the Lake Chad not stable as it size varies and currently at the range size of 1,296 square kilometers. The size of this Lake is a determinant factor in making the right policy. And the instability shapes the pattern of displacement due to the fact that millions of people livelihood depends on the Lake. When the Lake shrinks, it has a downturn on the population. The current state of the Lake has a multiplying effect on the insecurity. That’s why military action cannot solve the problem because it is an environmental disaster as such needs a climate action lens in green the process of engagement with the people.

Peace and conflict resolution processes:



In view of the armed conflicts being generated by climate crises, I Lead Climate Action Initiative mapped out areas of safe places in the Lake Chad region in view of nipping – in bud conflicts arising from climate change and providing workable solutions. It was in the same region in Chibok, Borno state in Nigeria that about 276 school girls were abducted in their school in 2014 and other abduction in Dapacchi in Yobe state Nigeria, among others. Addressing the root of the armed conflict will include solving the problem of environmental degradation and marginalization. The inclusion of green “workable” democracy that incorporates the rights of the people with their environmental identity solves the problems of the conflict and gives the environment its space. As the founder of I Lead Climate Action Initiative, I am ready to contribute my quota towards ending climate change induced conflicts in Africa especially the Lake Chad region. This is because nowhere is safe until everywhere is safe!

Oladosu Adenike ([email protected]), the founder of I Lead Climate Action Initiative that specializes in peace, security and equality in Africa especially the Lake Chad region.

 

 

 

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