Chad is one of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the world and is highly vulnerable to climate change. The country is recognised amongst the hottest countries, and about 75% of its territory is desert . Chad suffers from periodic droughts, floods and locust plagues . Persistent drought has aided 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 . Drought, in addition to overuse, has also contributed to the drying up of Lake Chad: a large, freshwater lake situated at the conjunction of Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Niger . Climate studies project that the country will get increasingly hot and arid throughout the 21st century, which means lower crop yields, worse pasture, and a harder life for anyone dependent on Lake Chad .
Since the 1970s, Chad has already experienced an increase in mean annual temperature of 0.7°C . Temperature is rising in Chad faster than the global average , and is projected to increase by 1.0-3.4°C by the 2060s . These changes threaten food security, due to the vulnerability of the agriculture, livestock, fisheries, and land use sectors to climate change . Chad is particularly affected by low yields and declining harvests, which are exacerbated by weak forecasting, preparedness, response and adaptation .
Lake Chad, once one of Africa’s largest freshwater bodies and a source of livelihood for about 30 million people, shrunk by 90% between the 1960s and the 1990s due to overuse, mismanagement and climate change . Climatic forecasts by NASA have indicated that it could completely disappear in 20 years at the current rate of water use and increased silting of upstream rivers . As a result, the Lake Chad Basin region is facing one of the world’s greatest humanitarian crises .
After 12 years of conflict in the Lake Chad area, the crisis has no end in sight. In 2020, the number of internally displaced people (IDP) in the area doubled to over 450,000, representing about half of the province's population. Close to 3 million people have been forced to flee their homes across the Lake Chad Basin and lack adequate living conditions, including shelter, clean water and basic hygiene, and have lost their sources of income which were mainly farming and fishing .
Rural areas in the country are most at risk from climate change because that’s where most of the population, and most of the poverty, is found. However, urban areas are not safe either, as the country’s growing cities struggle to accommodate the arrival of new residents. Sanitation services like sewage, storm water drainage and waste collection are poor in the country, and in the event of floods, as happened in 2010, 2011 and 2012, the infrastructure cannot cope and untreated sewage could infect the water supply, creating a high risk of infectious diseases such as cholera .
Floods are a recurring natural hazard in Chad that are likely to become worse with climate change . According to recent 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 by floods .
Chad has one of the lowest GHG emissions in the world, though the country’s GHG emissions have significantly increased since 2010.
Chad’s updated GHG emissions inventory covers the period 2010 to 2018. According to the inventory results, in this period, emissions increased by 50%. The agriculture sector is the biggest contributor to GHG emissions in the country, accounting to around 95% of GHG emissions in 2018. Chad's GHG emissions in the agriculture sector are mainly related to the livestock sub-sector (79% of sector emissions, of which 50% are due to enteric fermentation) and the burning of savannahs (13%). Emissions also come from rice-growing activities (2%), the use of fertilizers and the burning of agricultural residues (3%) .
However, emissions from the energy sector are expected to rapidly increase to 2030, due to an increasing demand for electricity. In 2020, the rate of access to electricity was around 11%, concentrated mainly in N'Djamena and some urban areas. By 2030, the country aims to achieve an electricity access rate of 53% throughout the territory, according the Emergency Plan for Access to Electricity 2021-2023 .
Key policies and governance approach
To address the impacts of climate change in the country, Chad has initiated and implemented several policies and plans . These include the National Action Program to Combat Desertification (PAN-LCD) (2000); Chad National Rural Sector Investment Plan (2016 - 2022); Action Plan for the implementation of the National Framework for Climate Services of Chad (2016-2020); National Development Plan (NDP 2017-2021); National Strategy for the Fight against Climate Change (SNLCC) in Chad (2017); National Environmental Policy (NEP) (2017); Vision 2030, The Chad We Want (2017); and the Master Plan for the Development of Renewable Energies in Chad (2018). In addition, the Country Program of the Green Climate Fund in Chad (2019) is particularly important as it provides the country with vulnerability assessments and vulnerability impacts by sectors .
As part of its commitments made to the UNFCCC, the country has developed two National Communications on climate change respectively in 2001 and 2012, its National Adaptation Action Program (NAPA) in 2010 and submitted its first NDC in 2015. Through its NDC, and the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2016, Chad has committed itself to contribute to the global effort to reduce GHGs and to build resilience to climate change .
In 2021, Chad submitted its updated NDC to the UNFCCC, aligned with the Vision 2030. The NDC provides a target to reduce GHG emissions by 19.3% compared to the baseline scenario. The investment required to implement the actions NDC mitigation cost is estimated at USD 6,700.2 million. Additionally, adaptation is a key element of the NDC, given the country’s extreme vulnerability to climate change .
Successes and remaining challenges
The implementation of Chad’s NDC requires significant financial support. However, funding in the country may be insufficient; assessments of the achievements of Chad’s first NDC revealed that financing for adaptation committed during 2016-2020 was insufficient in relation to the country’s needs. Therefore, international technical and financial partners will have a very significant role to play in meeting the financial needs of the NDC. Domestic and private funding sources also cannot be neglected, although the attractiveness of Chad for the private sector is very weak due to multiple and complex socio-economic and geopolitics .
In addition, there is a lack of studies and quantified data to determine the socio-economic impacts of climate change on the different sectors in Chad, making it difficult to estimate the cost of adaptation interventions . Completing detailed studies on the vulnerability of the country’s key socio-economic sectors to climate change has been identified as a priority  in UNDP’s “Chad National Adaptation Plan Advancement Project”, which aims to integrate climate change adaptation into medium- and long-term planning and budgeting of climate-sensitive sectors . However, despite attempts, there is still poor integration of climate change into national and sectoral polices, as well as slow implementation of climate change measures.
Initiatives and Development Plans
As part of the Bonn Challenge, Chad has pledged to restore a total of 5 million hectares by 2030. A defining feature of the Bonn Challenge is that it allows countries to achieve multiple domestic and international priorities of poverty alleviation, biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and land degradation neutrality. Chad’s pledge to the Bonn Challenge and AFR100 brings together several domestic programmes focused on restoration, including the Neutral Land Degradation Project, Great Green Wall Programme, Lake Chad Ecosystem Rehabilitation and Restoration Project and the Provincial Landscape Restoration Initiative .
Additionally, an initiative of major importance in the country is the “Strengthening climate governance and resilience in Chad” project, which has the objective to strengthen the public institutions in charge of the fight against climate change, to support the implementation of the NDC and the implementation and monitoring of related policies, strategies and plans for adaptation and mitigation.
Goals and Ambitions
According to the 2017 National Strategy to Combat Climate Change in Chad, actions to combat climate change should result, by 2030, in :
- Adaptation and mitigation actions of climate change is better coordinated and managed at national, sectoral and local levels;
- Significant progress being made in the promotion of innovative practices which are climate-resilient and low-carbon;
- Cities are eco-smart with regard to the climate;
- The fight against climate change is better integrated into the planning process and budgeting, implementation and monitoring evaluation at national, sectoral and local level;
- Capacity building programs institutional, scientific and decision-making techniques are promoted from the national to the local level;
- Solutions for access to sustainable energy are promoted;
- A system for weather warning, prevention and disaster reduction is implemented ;
- Climate finance has been made operational, monitored and evaluated;
- Positive experiences of financing and implementation of climate resilience projects at the local level are supported and capitalized and
- Sufficient financial resources have been mobilised for implementation of at least 70 to 80% of the shares priorities identified.
- Strengthen the resilience of agro-silvo-pastoral production systems.
- Promote climate change mitigation actions.
- Strengthen the institutional, technical, scientific and decision-making capacities of institutions and actors in the fight against climate change.
- Strengthen the instruments and capacities for mobilizing climate-related finance.
- Promotion of renewable energies and improvement of energy efficiency.
- Strengthening of the electricity sector.
- Develop alternative solutions to firewood for cooking.
- Reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and strengthen reforestation.
- Inform, educate and communicate on climate risks and adaptation technologies.
- Strengthen the skills of actors (especially women and farmers) on new routes techniques within the framework of intensified and sustainable production methods.
- Support research and encourage technology transfer between research organizations and agro-sylvo-pastoral actors.
- Support institutions to define adaptation priorities according to socio-economic sectors according to the needs of the population and promote inter-sectoral coherence, particularly during the development of the National Adaptation Plan.
- Development of a national awareness, information and training program on the climate change or support for existing programs.
- Need to inform and train the leaders and facilitators of provincial, local and communities on themes related to the adaptation of vulnerable groups to climatic changes.
 DownToEarth (2021). Climate change, conflict: What is fuelling the Lake Chad crisis.