Environment and Peace Relations in the Sahel: Youth Leading Change
Together with UNOY peacebuilders, GPPAC and +Peace, CSPPS has issued a new episode of the Peace Corner Podcast on Youth, Peace and Environment, available on Sound Cloud, Spotify and Apple Podcast:
This new season of the podcast is focusing on localization of SDG16+, which gave the occasion to one of our Chadian members, Joël Yodoyman, coordinator of Espaces Verts du Sahel (EVS), to communicate about the struggles experienced in the Sahel region and to introduce the work of his organisation. EVS is based in Chad and also operating in Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, where two of the greatest development challenges - environmental security and peace - are highly interrelated. Amid this dual predicament EVS has accomplished the outstanding mission of training thousands of (very) young experts to respond proactively to environmental challenges.
Joel Yodoyman is looking forward to talking to you, as audience of our Podcast, so tune in to catch his powerful message!
P.S.: We are happy to present this first French-speaking episode in a bid to diversify towards the Peace Corner Podcast!
Here are some extracts of the podcast, translated for English-speakers:
“I would say that today the issues of peace, development and the environment are inextricably linked.”
"Chad is one of the most affected countries by climate change. I will just take the example of Lake Chad: 40 years ago, it had a surface area of 25,000 km2, today it is less than 2,500 km2, so this lake has lost more than 90% of its volume. We are also exposed today to the advancing desert and experience irregularities in rainfalls, which impact agricultural yields on production, fishing and livestock. All of this is pushing the populations of the north of the country to migrate to the southern areas which are a little more humid. (…) Animals enter the fields, leading to conflicts and wars. This is a fact that is now becoming almost uncontrollable. We are facing deadly conflicts in Chad, resulting in dozens and dozens of deaths every year. It is lamentable. Regarding the drainage of surface water, the retreat of Lake Chad leaves pools of water, which are vectors of diseases, such as malaria, cholera, typhoid, which kill thousands of people, especially children, every year in Chad. It also leads to professional changes; people who were fishermen 20 years ago are forced to become herders, because they have no more water in their villages. This is a real source of poverty. People today are really exposed to poverty and therefore more easily manipulated, hence the proliferation of extremist movements such as Boko Haram, who exploit them to enlist them. This has led to thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of displaced people in the Lake Chad Basin region (Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria, Chad).“
"Environmental challenges are not the only, but one of the main causes of the Sahel war.“
"Today, 1/4 of the world's population is under the age of 24. For a country like Chad, where the education system is still in its infancy, it has become imperative to equip young people and train them to understand what is at stake.”
“Within the Chadian population, everyone is aware of the physical implications of environmental degradation.”
"We have developed 17 training modules based on the issues of environmental degradation, pollution, biodiversity, citizenship, peace and human rights. We have made them accessible to children. (…) Children take exams and at the end, the children who are certified become child-experts, which is quite mediatized and creates enthusiasm at national level. Today we have trained thousands of them. We choose the best to take them to international conferences, and thanks to them we won a World Bank prize (Connect for Climate) after which the President of the Republic received us to congratulate us and from then on we started to be heard. We asked for accreditations for the children to participate in international conferences, which the Ministry validated. We tried to make this national enthusiasm international, working with groups of children in Cameroon, Niger, Mali, Burkina...".