Borg Al Arab, Egypt (13-20 February 2002)
EMPRES/CR and the FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Central Region (CRC) organized a seminar to help locust-affected countries prepare separate plans to deal with a locust outbreak/upsurge and a plague. The aim was not to prepare specific plans as such but to examine various technical and organizational issues by posing a series of questions to the participants and undertaking field and classroom exercises, including computer simulations, in order to reveal problems that may be encountered when trying to prepare contingency plans for locust control campaigns.
For many participants, it was the first time that they discovered for themselves and acknowledged the difficulties in finding and treating hopper patches during outbreaks (only 10-35% of the patches were found and treated in a field exercise), marking and defining blocks of bands during upsurges and plagues (attempted but not achieved in a field exercise), having enough resources for control to be effective, and organising and conducting control campaigns. Although these are basic issues that may not have been properly addressed in the past, it was felt that this was an initial and positive step forward in terms of preparing meaningful and practical contingency plans for the future.