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Chad, officially known as the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country located in north-central Africa. It is the fifth largest country in Africa covering a surface area of 1,284,000 km2. Chad is bordered by Libya, Sudan, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Nigeria (at Lake Chad), and Niger [1]. Lake Chad, after which the country is named, is the second-largest wetland in Africa. Chad's official languages are Arabic and French and the country is home to over 200 different ethnic and linguistic groups [2].

Chad’s climate is characterized by rainfall which follows a gradient from north to south, increasing as you travel south. Three primary climatic zones follow this rain gradient, with the northern part of Chad in the arid Saharan Desert, transitioning into the sub-tropical, semi-arid Sahel region in central Chad, and converting to tropical savannah in the south [3].

Important National Context

The population of Chad is estimated at 16.9 million inhabitants, in 2020, and is unequally distributed over the entire territory [4]. The population is also young, as an estimated 47% is under 15 [5]. Urban life in Chad is concentrated in the capital N'Djamena, whose population is mostly engaged in commerce. The other major towns are Sarh, Moundou, Abéché and Doba, which are considerably smaller but growing rapidly in population and economic activity [6]. The rate of urbanization is at 4.1% annual rate of change according to a 2020-25 estimation, with Chad's cities facing serious difficulties of municipal infrastructure; only 48% of urban residents have access to potable water and only 2% to basic sanitation. Chad primarily exports oil (98 % of its exports in 2008) and agricultural products (livestock, cotton, peanuts, cereals) and it imports fuels and capital goods [7].

With a GDP per capita of US$ 709 in 2019, a significant deterioration from the 2014 value of US$ 1018, Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world. Although the country has made progress in poverty reduction, with a decline in the national poverty rate from 55% to 42% between 2003 and 2018, poverty remains prevalent. Additionally, with demographic growth, the number of poor Chadians is increasing by 200,000 people per annum, with the number of poor people projected to increase to 6.3 million by 2019. Moreover, the COVID-19 has worsened the country’s situation [8]. According to the 2019 United Nations' Human Development Index (HDI), Chad is regarded as a low human development country, positioning itself at 187 out of 189 countries and territories. However, between 2000 and 2019, Chad’s HDI value has shown an increase of 35.8% from 0.293 to 0.398 [9].

Years of civil war in the country has largely scared away foreign investors. In 2000, major direct foreign investment in the oil sector began, boosting the country's economic prospects. Cotton remains a primary export, although exact figures are not available. Rehabilitation of Cotontchad, a major cotton company weakened by a decline in world cotton prices, has been financed by France, the Netherlands, the European Union, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development [10].

In Chad, one in three people, or 5.5 million people, needs humanitarian assistance. Food insecurity and malnutrition affect 5.1 million people, including more than 1.7 million in its severe form. As of September 2021, 1.7 million people are affected by health emergencies, particularly children, pregnant and breastfeeding women. This is due to limited access to basic services (such as drinking water, sanitation, and primary and reproductive health care), and to low vaccination coverage, which favors the emergence and spread of infectious diseases with epidemic potential. From January to 19 September 2021, 2,214 cases of measles was suspected and 666,159 cases of malaria were confirmed. Since its emergence in March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected 5,031 people and has led to 174 deaths [11].

Additionally, more than one million people are in a situation of forced displacement in the country. These include 520,129 refugees, 402,703 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 30,356 Chadian returnees in the Lac province, and 89,858 Chadian returnees from CAR in the South. The Lac province continues to be plagued by attacks, incursions, and infiltrations by non-state armed groups (NSAGs) against the Defense and Security Forces (DSF) and local communities. This insecurity has led to regular displacements of populations. In the South, the actions of Central African NSAGs, as well as recent inter-community conflicts, have caused the displacement of nearly 11,000 refugees and returnees to border villages in Chad. These recent returnees and refugees who have arrived from CAR since January 2021 (43,390 people) are in a very vulnerable situation that requires additional resources [11].

Environmental Governance

Chad aspires to become an emerging country by 2030. In this regard, the Government intends, amongst other things, to reinforce environmental protection, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. The issue of environment protection is enshrined in articles 47 and 52 of the Constitution of Chad, and Act N°014/PR/1998 defines the general principles for protecting the environment [12].

Chad is a signatory to several international treaties and agreements relating to the environment and climate change. The Republic of Chad signed and ratified the UNFCCC in 1992 and 1993, respectively, and is implementing measures for adaptation to climate change, assessment and transfer of technology, in accordance with Article 12 of the Convention. Chad ratified the Paris Agreement on November 09, 2016. Additionally, in 2018, Chad became the first country outside the pan-European region to accede to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) serviced by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) [13].

The Ministry of Environment, Water, and Fisheries is responsible for environmental protection, food production and standards, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities in Chad. Environmental protection also falls under the domains of the Ministry of Economy, Development Planning, Ministry of Production, Irrigation and Agricultural Equipment, Ministry of Livestock and Animal Productions, Ministry of Regional Planning, Housing Development and Town Planning, Ministry of Public Health.

Through the National Environment Policy (2017), the country sets the objective to contribute to sustainable development through the rational management of natural resources, with three specific objectives: (i) the effective fight against all the factors of environmental degradation (climate change, desertification and all forms of ecological pollution and natural disasters), (ii) the conservation and rational use of the national biological heritage, and (iii) the guarantee of access for all to natural resources, including land, genetic resources and related knowledge.

National context alignement with the EU Green Deal

Chad’s "Vision 2030: the Chad we want" aims to make Chad an emerging country by 2030, with a climate-resilient and low-carbon development pathway. It aims at the expansion and development of the water, agriculture/agroforestry, livestock and fisheries sectors as well as cross-cutting themes such as capacity building, technologies, precipitation, risk management, etc. [14].

The EU and Chad are long-standing partners in maintaining stability and fighting terrorism in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions. The EU and Chad are also, historically, partners in the fields of biodiversity conservation (ecosystems with large fauna) and have convergent interests in the field of migration and forced displacement. The strategic objective of the EU Multiannual Indicative Program (MIP) for the period 2021-2027 is to contribute to the lasting strengthening of Chad's stability (security, democracy, institutional, socio-economic and environmental), so as to strengthen its fundamental role in regional stabilization and security, in line with fundamental and universal values. In doing so, the MIP aims to strengthen the EU-Chad political partnership, so as to respond to the common interests of both partners [15].

To achieve the strategic objective of lasting stability in Chad, three priority areas have been identified for EU-Chad Cooperation under the MIP, aligned with Chad’s Vision 2030 and the European Green Deal. Priority areas are: (i) Governance, democratization, peace and security; (ii) Inclusive Human Development; and (iii) Green Deal. Within the Green Deal priority, EU actions in Chad will focus on the protection of ecosystems, agricultural development (local sectors and value chains), and renewable energy [15].

Previous EU actions for cooperation with Chad, includes the allocation of €542 million to Chad for the 2014-2020 funding period from the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), for food security, nutrition and rural development, sustainable management of natural resources, and consolidation of the rule of law [16].


Key Environmental-Development Challenges


About ¾ of Chad’s territory is desert, vulnerable to climate variability and change. Persistent drought has aided in the acceleration of desertification in the northern part of the country, causing agro-pastoral areas to decline and livestock grazing areas to shift further south. Chad is particularly affected by low yields and declining harvests, which are exacerbated by poor forecasting, preparedness, response and adaptation. In the Sahel region, for example, climate change is causing food insecurity, social tensions and rising poverty. In addition, the country has experienced the drying of rivers and lakes in recent years, most notably the drying of Lake Chad [17], which provides food and water to about 50 million people [18]. Lake Chad in the Sahel straddles Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon [19], but climatic forecasts by NASA have indicated that it could disappear in 20 years at the current rate of water use and increased silting of upstream rivers [17]. As a result, the Lake Chad Basin region is facing one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises. In late 2017, more than seven million people suffered from severe food insecurity and more than two million have been displaced by the intractable conflict plaguing the region [20].

Floods are a recurring natural hazard in Chad that may become worse with climate change [17]. According to latest projections, floods could have affected more than 300,000 people in Chad in 2021. As of September 2021, 246,851 people, or 41,267 households, had already been affected [11].




[1] Ministry of Environment, Water and Fisheries, Republic of Chad (2017). National Strategy to Combat Climate Change in Chad.

[2] Institut National de la Statistique, des Études Économiques et Démographiques du Tchad (2019). Analyse Thematique des Resultats Definitifs Etat et Structures de la Population.

[3] World Bank (2021). Climate Change Knowledge Portal: Chad – Current Climate.  

[4] United Nations (2021). World Statistics Pocketbook 2021 edition, New York, USA.

[5] United Nations Populations Division.

[6] Encyclopedia Britannica (2000). Chad.  

[7] The World Bank (2020). The World Bank in Chad.

[8] International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank (2021). Chad Poverty Assessment: Investing in rural income growth, human capital, and resilience to support sustainable poverty reduction.

[9] UNDP (2020). Human Development Report 2020. The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene. Briefing note for countries on the 2020 Human Development Report – Chad.

[10] International Business Publications, USA. Chad Mining Laws and Regulations Handbook Volume 1 Strategic Information and Basic Law.

[11] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (2021). Chad: Humanitarian situation overview - September 2021.

[12] REPUBLIC OF CHAD (2015). Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) for the Republic of Chad.

[13] UNECE (2018). Chad becomes the first African country to join the Water Convention.

[14] The Republic of Chad (2021). Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).


[16] DG INTPA, European Commission (2021). Multi-Annual Indicative Programme - Chad.

[17] World Bank (2021). Climate Change Knowledge Portal: Chad – Vulnerability.

[18] Pham-Duc, B., Sylvestre, F., Papa, F. et al. The Lake Chad hydrology under current climate change. Sci Rep 10, 5498 (2020).

[19] DownToEarth (2021). Climate change, conflict: What is fuelling the Lake Chad crisis.

[20] Adelphi (2021). Lake Chad Risk Assessment: The role of climate change in the current crisis.