The President of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), María Espinosa-Garcés, has described the shrinking of the Lake Chad as one of the major climate change disasters on the continent of Africa, which has contributed to the crises ravaging the continent.
Espinosa-Garcés said this while making her remarks during at a joint news conference with the Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, on Tuesday in Abuja stressing that collaborative efforts are needed to address the matter.
According to her the United Nations was deeply concerned over shrinking of Lake Chad, which is connected with the livelihood of 30 million people, adding that the shrinking lake has unsavory implication on the lives of the people in the area in terms of lives and food security; and development among others.
“It is a huge thing. And as a geographer, I can tell you. “When I look at the maps of Lake Chad and that in less than 40 years, this lake went from 24,000 something to 2,000 square kilometers, this is one of the major climate change disasters in this continent.
“It is like you can touch what climate change does to people, how much it destroys livelihoods, how much it can have security implications, food security implications, development implications.
“So, that is a very touching example of how we need to tackle development and security together.
“As President Muhammadu Buhari has stated there is no peace and security without development and there is no development without peace,” she said.
In his remarks, Onyeama said Nigeria believed in multilateralism and that the challenge of today can best be addressed through multilateralism.
“As the president of a global institution, the UN has a unique place to help in finding solution to a lot of challenges we face in Africa.
“We will like to congratulate you in promoting a global compact on migration and refugee. It is a topic that we live everyday here in this country,” Onyeama said.
The Minister called for UN intervention in the recharge of the shrinking Lake Chad, saying “it is a privilege that you are just coming from Chad and you have seen the climate induced shrinkage of Lake Chad.
“For us it is an existential issue because it is a lake that almost 30 million people depend on for their livelihood, and, we have seen it shrink by 90 per cent over the years,” he said.
According to him, this has created every severe challenge for the people of that sub region and indeed for our country,
“We are looking to have the support of the UN and your support in particular to address this challenge; one of the mechanisms we have identified is to recharge the Lake.
“And it is going to be capital intensive efforts and something in the order of 40 to 50 billion dollars estimated and clearly we are going to leverage on the international community. “Because these are huge resources and we look for your support,” he added.
Innocent Odoh, Abuja