Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo – AWEPA facilitated a parliamentary dialogue between the Parliament of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and the Parliament of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on 3-4 November 2015 in Kinshasa, DRC. This activity took place in the context of AWEPA’s Millennium Development Goals programme.
This parliamentary diplomacy initiative, taken by the Parliament of CEMAC, focused on the drying-up of Lake Chad – a major concern for Central Africa as it affects today the lives of over 30 million people as well as the sustainable development of Africa as a whole. Specifically, the dialogue focused on the water transfer project from the Oubangui River to Lake Chad, developed and promoted by the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC).
The parliamentary delegation was headed by the Vice-President of the CEMAC Parliament, Hon. Albert Pahimi Padacké. It consisted of six parliamentarians, members of the CEMAC Parliament’s Working Group on Lake Chad, and was accompanied by an LCBC expert and AWEPA staff.
Moreover, the delegation was received by the National Assembly and the Senate of DRC, the Minister of Energy and Water Resources, the Minister of Environment and the International Commission of Congo-Oubangui-Sangha (CICOS). The dialogue included a workshop held by the Parliament of DRC on the implications of the water transfer project.
The Congolese parliamentarians carried out an in-depth exploration of the issue raised by their peers in CEMAC. They recognised that the residents of the Chad Basin are in dire need of water resources.
This problem must be addressed. Thus strategic environmental studies and assessments of the environmental, social and economic impact across the two basins should be carried out before suitable solutions are found.
MPs from DRC and the CEMAC region, agreed to maintain and strengthen parliamentary dialogue on the issue of Lake Chad; they agreed to exchange information and existing studies on the issue and the water basin transfer project, as they become available; they will inform their respective governments on such exchanges and will encourage them to take action to find and put in place sustainable solutions to the problems identified.