N’Djamena, Chad, June 2012 - The largest UNOSAT capacity development project so far has formally begun operations in Chad in June after months of preparations involving the Swiss Development Cooperation and local partners in the country. The project, named "ResEAU: water resources mapping of Chad", is part of a visionary initiative by the Swiss government for which UNOSAT was selected as the expert team for implementing activities on the ground, along with other centres of excellence from Switzerland.

UNOSAT in Chad

During the inaugural phase the first meeting of the Steering Committee was held in N’Djamena, at the Office of the Swiss Cooperation (BuCo).Experts from Chad and the Swiss Cooperation joined the special task group created at UNOSAT to work on this multi-year project. The Minister of hydraulic urban and rural, Mr. Mahamat Ali Abdallah Nassour, welcomed the UNITAR/UNOSAT mission in a meeting on June 23 during which he reiterated the importance of the tools and skills that will be developed for the benefit of the Chadian people and all the institutional actors involved in the water sector.

UNOSAT decided to deploy one expert permanently to Chad to ensure continued technical support, while the team in Geneva has been enlarged by recruiting special additional expertise. The Steering Committee met at the end of the kick-off mission carried out by the UNITAR/UNOSAT team. The mission was intended to validate project requirements with departments and donors, and to establish the conditions for the beginning of activities in the country.

UNOSAT in Chad

Francesco Pisano of UNOSAT says: “this is an important phase for our capacity development track which we envisioned years ago as a way to bring to member states our competencies and help on territorial planning using geospatial information and integrated training”. Other projects are being planned with a number of donors and beneficiaries in countries in Africa, Central America and South-East Asia.

The ResEAU project results from a 2010 agreement between the Ministry of the hydraulic urban and rural (MHUR) and the Swiss Agency for development and Cooperation (SDC) intended to strengthen national capacity in the area of water resources management to meet the objectives of the master plan of water and sanitation (SDEA) and the national poverty reduction strategy (SNRP).

Co-Chaired by the Secretary General of the Ministry of the hydraulic urban and rural (MHUR) and the Resident Director of the Office of Swiss cooperation in Chad, the first Steering Committee signaled the operational kick-off of the activities of the ResEAU project. The importance of the activity is underlined by the variety of participants from Chad: the ministries of the hydraulic urban and rural, higher education, the Plan and the international cooperation, mining and geology, agriculture and Irrigation, and the development of the territory. The Delegation of the European Union was also present. 

Photos by UNOSAT. Above from left to right : Mr Lamine Younos Kosso - Secrétaire Général du MHUR, Yves Haeberlin – Chef de projet UNOSAT, Marie-Louise Vogt – Assistante Technique UNOSAT based in N’Djaména, Mr Mahamat Ali Abdallah Nassour,  Ministre de l’Hydraulique, Olivier Senegas – Senior Specialist at UNOSAT, Mr Markus Schäfer – Director a.i. of the Chad Office of the Swiss Cooperation (BuCo), Mr Noé Réouebmel, Coordinateur National MHUR.

Below: The Steering Committee of the RésEAU project at the Office of the Swiss cooperation in N’Djamena.