Lake Chad is an extremely shallow water body in the Sahel. It was once the world’s sixth largest inland water body with an open water area of 25,000 km2 in the 1960s, it shrunk dramatically at the beginning of the 1970s and reduced to less than 2,000 km2 during the 1980s, decreasing by more than 90% its area. It is one of the largest lakes in Africa. It is an endorheic lake – meaning that it doesn’t drain towards the ocean. The Lake Chad region, however, is one of the most unstable in the world. According to the 2020 Global Terrorism Index report, countries of the region are among the 10 least peaceful countries in Africa. Four countries share borders within the water body – Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon – and have formed a political union, the Lake Chad Basin Countries. Other countries indirectly connected to the lake are Algeria, Libya, Central African Republic and Sudan. Over 30 million people live around the lake. For them, it’s a source of freshwater for drinking, sanitation and irrigation. It supports the livelihoods of farmers, pastoralists, hunters and fishermen. Management of the shrinking lake has caused conflicts among the states that depend on it and this has made it more difficult for them to collectively fight insecurity in the region. The lake is central to regional stability. To achieve peace, countries should focus on reviving the water body rather than on military activities.
SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION