N’Djaména, Chad Monday 30th August 2021
Today, the Ministry of Environment, Fisheries, and Sustainable Development and the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) signed a US$5 million agreement to implement the ALBIÄ project: a word that appropriately means “environment” in local Arabic.
The ALBIÄ project will improve natural resource management and the livelihoods of the populations in climate-vulnerable areas in the vast 75,950 km2 Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Game Reserve (OROAGR) in the central-north region of the Chadian Sahelo-Saharan zone. This award comprises part of the $54.5 million dollars awarded by the World Bank’s Board of Board of Executive Directors approved in June 2020. ALBIÄ is funded from International Development Association (IDA)* and the Global Environment Facility (GEF)**.
Over the next four and a half years, under a co-management agreement with the provincial and national authorities, SCF will improve the Reserve management, improve infrastructure through the construction offices for the government protected area administration, improve roads and communication across the remote reserve, seek to improve the control of fires, and support community participation in sustainable natural resources management. This project works in tandem with the livelihoods and climate adaptation project that will be implemented in the five Provinces surrounding the Reserve that is implemented by SOS Sahel.
John Watkin, CEO of SCF, said, “Managing an area the size of Scotland in central Chad requires significant financial resources. ALBIÄ is a vital compliment and expansion of the European Union funded Projet Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim to ensure that the Reserve is managed effectively for the benefit of local people and wildlife including the reintroduced scimitar-horned oryx, addax and North African ostrich”. Adding, “I would like to thank the honorable Minister Mr. Mahamat Ahmat Lazina for his considerable efforts in achieving this milestone to improve Chad’s natural resource management in the face of severe climate change impacts.”
Since 2016, in conjunction with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD), SCF has initiated a program of reintroducing the once extinct scimitar-horned oryx, reinforcing the population of addax through to number less than 100 individual remaining in the wild. Over the last six years 218 oryx have been returned to the wild where they have thrived and now number at least 350 free-living individuals. Similarly, since November 2019, 49-addax have been released reinforcing the tiny population less than 100 individuals in the region. The addax has also adapted admirably to their new home with several new calves being recorded.
*The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. IDA resources help effect positive change in the lives of the 1.6 billion people living in the countries that are eligible for its assistance. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged $21 billion over the past three years, with about 61% going to Africa.
**The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is an international financial mechanism with 176 member countries that addresses global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. The GEF’s grants support projects in developing countries related to biodiversity, climate change, international water, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. The GEF has been a driving force since its inception in 1991 to improve the lives of millions of people while creating the conditions for sustainable development. Its project portfolio is diverse, and, as with any investment portfolio, provides returns that vary over several time horizons. The GEF is a social entrepreneur, providing, for example, more than 10,000 small grants directly to community groups and other civil society organizations in 120 countries.