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Scientific cooperation for conflict prevention

The role of science as a bridge to peace is central for UNESCO in order to demonstrate that the management of natural resources based on reliable scientific knowledge and information can help preventing potential conflicts. In this regard, effective governance to overcome litigious approaches in the use and allocation of natural resources becomes essential, both in national and transboundary contexts. It is therefore necessary to develop an integrated approach for the management of transboundary resources based on reliable scientific knowledge and information in order to avoid potential conflicts between neighboring countries.

Scientific and cultural diplomacy: “Synthesis / Policy brief” case study of Lake Chad (Africa)”

This project aims at using Lake Chad Basin as a case study in promoting a regional integration in Africa through a concerted and sustainable management of renewable natural resources and a cross-border cultural and scientific cooperation in Biosphere Reserves and Sites protected by the World Heritage Convention. As such, it is important to establish, across the political boundaries of States, an appropriate strategy for resource management based on scientific evidence and socio-cultural data, to prevent the emergence of conflicts over resources.

This focus builds on the specific situation of the Lake Chad Basin where 90% reduction of the water surface in the past 50 years has resulted in a decrease of natural resources and a large instability in its complex ecosystems. Also, the basin has experienced unprecedented population growth, estimated at 30 million, due to natural population growth and migration. A juxtaposition of people and communities with very different experiences and practices vis-à-vis the environment exacerbates this situation, resulting in more pressure on the natural resources that are essential for the shared border between the states of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) composed of Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Central African Republic, Libya.

The project is coordinated by the Priority Africa Intersectoral Platform with the Natural Sciences Sector in cooperation with the UNESCO Office of Yaoundé.