PC 87/4 c)


Eighty-seventh Session

Rome, 6 to 10 May 2002

Programme Evaluation of the
Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES): Desert Locust

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

i. The FAO Council approved the Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Disease (EMPRES) programme in mid-1994 as an FAO priority programme to strengthen the emergency prevention capacity of countries affected by transboundary pests and diseases. EMPRES is active in two fields: animal health issues (transboundary animal diseases such as rinderpest and swine fever), and plant protection concerns. Regarding the latter, EMPRES focuses exclusively on DLs because of the devastation that DL plagues can cause.

ii. The capacity of the desert locust (DL) for rapid multiplication and long-distance migration under favourable conditions can result in major population upsurges and plagues, when locusts form large swarms which threaten crops and pastures over large areas. During plagues, swarms can invade countries as far south as the United Republic of Tanzania and Cameroon and as far north as Turkey and southern areas of the Russian Federation. To the west, swarms can reach the Cape Verde islands and, to the east, the Indian subcontinent. During recessions, the DL is restricted to a much smaller (but still vast) area. The DL's migratory ability means that the problem may shift from one location, country or region to another in a short period. Because of this rapid movement, there are limited opportunities for control, demanding high organizational and logistics capability.

iii. The Central Region of the DL outbreak areas was chosen as the venue for the first EMPRES locust field programme (EMPRES-CR) as it is the source of many DL outbreaks. Within the Central Region, the programme concentrates on the so-called front-line countries, where gregarious breeding may occur and upsurges originate. EMPRES-CR was focusing on the establishment of a surveillance and early control capability in the Central Region. The EMPRES-CR programme was evaluated for the first time in 1999 and, in the first half of 2001, FAO decided to undertake a second evaluation of the EMPRES Desert Locust (EMPRES-DL) programme. The evaluation was expected to examine Phase I in the Western Region and Phase II in the Central Region. A summary of this evaluation was presented at the FAO Conference as an information document in November 2001. The present evaluation report also contains the comments of an external review panel (Annex 1) as well as the programme management response (Annex 2).

iv. The countries visited by the EMPRES evaluation mission continue to regard the preventive control of the DL as a high national priority with social, economic and environmental benefits that governments consider to be in the national interest. In some countries, the importance of preventive DL control has been reflected in the increased financial resources allocated to it by national governments since the implementation of the EMPRES programme. Likewise, regional collaboration in the form of joint surveys has increased among countries. These are seen as significant steps towards the development of a sustainable preventive control programme.

v. At the strategic level, important measures have been taken towards the development of a sustainable DL preventive control programme. Signs of progress in this regard include:

  1. the increases that some governments have made to their resource allocations to preventive control;

  2. more intensive cooperation between EMPRES-CR and the FAO Regional Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Central Region (CRC);

  3. the effective reinstatement of a full-time post of CRC Secretary at FAO;

  4. the likely expansion of CRC membership to fit the distribution of the DL outbreak areas (Djibouti joined in 2001);

  5. the creation of a unified regional DL structure in the Western Region (the FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Western Region [CLCPRO]).

vi. In addition, substantial improvements in EMPRES-CR programme management were made during 2000-2001 through, in particular, rigorous work planning and enhanced internal monitoring and evaluation procedures. (Improved programme management was one of the critical issues that the previous evaluation mission had identified in 1999.)

vii. The current Phase II of EMPRES-CR is essentially one of consolidation. EMPRES-CR has significantly advanced the expertise of DL staff in the region through a series of training courses, and has also created a cadre of national (master) trainers who can pass on their expertise to a larger number of DL staff.

viii. There are doubts as to whether the objectives of the current phase can be fully achieved in the remaining time available, given the delays in implementing early warning/control systems in some countries and the current staffing resources and funding situation of EMPRES-CR. It appears that, while some countries have gone ahead in reviewing and transforming their DL systems with the support of EMPRES-CR, others are - for various reasons - still reluctant to commit themselves to the kind of systematic analysis, planning and implementation envisaged by EMPRES. This is reflected in the Country Focus Programmes (CFPs), which are key components of the EMPRES approach, where progress has been slow in the recent past. Donor support for EMPRES-CR is firm until the end of Phase II (late 2003).

ix. EMPRES-WR's objective is the strengthening of early warning and preventive control in the Sahelian countries. One important outcome for EMPRES-WR is the establishment of CLPRO, which will create a unified institutional structure for the preventive control of DL in the Western Region. The Maghreb countries have their own DLUs which are, in general, adequately funded and operational. Exceptional progress has been made in the development of an effective DL survey and control system in Mauritania, with support coming from a Norwegian-funded project. The Mauritanian DLU has developed into a very effective and efficient organization that can be regarded as a "best practice" model. However, apart from Mauritania, the EMPRES-WR programme cannot be considered operational in other Sahelian countries owing to a lack of financial support from donors. The general absence of significant DL populations in the past few years may have reduced the perceived threat from DL, and the lack of clearly demonstrated socio-economic benefits may be another reason for waning donor interest.

x. The following recommendations are made:

  1. Regarding programme management, FAO and EMPRES-CR should monitor progress carefully in countries where delays have occurred. If delays in progress continue, they should be brought to the attention of higher-level FAO management and the EMPRES-CR Consultative Committee, and solutions should be sought with the concerned authorities.
  2. FAO should consider revising existing terms of reference and establishing an additional technical position to assist in the implementation of EMPRES-CR activities. In the event of EMPRES-WR becoming operational, the Plant Production and Protection Division (AGP) should review whether AGPP's staffing resources are sufficient to manage and administer two major regional field projects effectively while continuing with other routine activities. In the same context, FAO should consider using external experts to assist with the technical monitoring of EMPRES field activities.
  3. FAO should engage in dialogue with donors to clarify the possible reasons for their apparent reluctance to fund EMPRES-WR activities. FAO and EMPRES-CR should also undertake more detailed appraisals of proposed bilateral research activities to be implemented under EMPRES-CR and, where required, liaise with the bilateral agencies concerned to ensure that these activities align with core EMPRES-CR objectives.
  4. FAO should consider widening the mandate of EMPRES-DL to include other relevant plant pests and additional locust-affected regions.
  5. Research should be initiated on the economic benefits of preventive DL control, and on the political and social implications of DL outbreaks and possible control or remediation measures.
  6. The development of CFPs is regarded as an important tool and EMPRES-CR should renew efforts to assist countries to develop and implement their CFPs.
  7. EMPRES-CR, CRC and FAO should give consideration to the longer-term sustainability of the research grant scheme. FAO and EMPRES-CR should also develop research contingency plans and establish priorities to facilitate field research in the event of an outbreak of DL populations in the Central and Western regions. The development of joint research activities and joint training programmes between EMPRES-WR and EMPRES-CR should be considered in order to ensure the efficient use of resources, the standardization of approaches and a more general exchange of ideas.
  8. Regarding NRI's future technical support, it may be useful for EMPRES management to initiate an issues paper which would serve as the basis for discussions to define the future use of RAMSES, including the possible development of additional modules. If possible, the issues paper should also include indicative costings.
  9. FAO should arrange for additional technical inputs to be provided to DLIS such that satellite images can be provided to some countries and ground-truthing surveys carried out. The results should be analysed and written up as a guide to the advantages and limitations of using satellite images as a guide to planning locust surveys.
  10. There is further scope to involve the countries of the Eastern Region in such EMPRES activities as training and access to research information, especially through the creation of additional EMPRES Web sites as envisaged by the FAO/Norway project. Web sites are a very useful tool for the dissemination of EMPRES results. A joint CRC/EMPRES-CR Web site should be considered, especially in view of the recent co-location of management personnel in Cairo. As well as information, results and reports, FAO should also consider making training materials on DL available via the Web.

I. Introduction


1. Agricultural pests and diseases often migrate or spread across borders and cause major crop and animal production damage as well as emergencies. The FAO Council approved the establishment of the Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES) in mid-1994 to strengthen the prevention and control capacities of countries affected by transboundary pests and diseases. The desert locust (DL), Schistocerca gregaria, is recognized as a transboundary pest of particular concern that merits priority attention under EMPRES. The DL component of EMPRES (EMPRES-DL) aims to prevent plagues by strengthening national, regional and international locust management. It also aims to improve the safety and environmental impact of the chemical pesticides in use through research and technology development.

2. DL swarms have posed a serious threat to crops and grazing in Africa, the Near East and Southwest Asia ever since farming began. When such swarms are frequent the situation is referred to as a "locust plague", while the years between plagues are known as "recession periods". During recessions, the DL is found at very low densities (see Figure 1) in what is referred to as the "solitary phase". When rainfall creates favourable breeding conditions, the locusts can multiply rapidly and "gregarize". DLs are well adapted to their changing environment and are highly mobile, even in recession (non-plague) periods, flying many hundreds, or even thousands, of kilometres among their summer, winter and spring breeding areas. The DL's migratory ability means that the problem may shift from one location, country or region to another in a short period. Because of this rapid movement, there are limited opportunities for control, demanding high organizational and logistics capability.

3. Plagues develop when the locusts find ideal conditions in a sequence of seasonal breeding areas. This leads to rapid multiplication and increasingly large swarms, which invade the countries outside the recession area (see invasion areas on Figure 1). During plagues, the swarms may cover several hundred square kilometres and achieve densities of up to 50 million locusts per square kilometre. Crop and vegetation damage by such swarms can be devastating because every 500 000 adult locusts consumes 2 tonnes of vegetation or crops a day.

Figure 1: Recession and invasion areas of the desert locus

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4. Effective control of DLs is difficult to achieve because they breed in remote areas when there has been sufficient rain. Since rains are irregular, patchy and unpredictable it is not easy to find these areas and organize control operations. Furthermore, economic constraints in the affected countries, combined with the banning of the most effective but environmentally harmful organochlorine pesticide, dieldrin, have weakened the capacity to combat the DL. During the major DL plague of 1986 to 1989 and the serious large-scale infestations between 1992 and 1994, extensive emergency operations, supported by aid organizations, became necessary. Such crisis management inevitably involved delays, a low efficiency-cost ratio and the inability to contain upsurges at an early stage.

5. The dramatic resurgence of the DL to plague proportions also highlighted a general decline in the early warning, survey and control capacities of many national and regional plant protection organizations in the recession area. This decline occurred during the prolonged recession period between the early 1960s and the 1980s. The DL outbreaks and plagues of the 1980s and 1990s, together with other agricultural emergencies such as the outbreak of screwworm in Africa in the late 1980s, in many ways acted as a catalyst to the establishment of the FAO EMPRES programme.

6. The FAO Council approved the establishment of the EMPRES programme in mid-1994 to strengthen the emergency prevention capacity of countries affected by transboundary pests and diseases. The DL component of EMPRES was designed to address concerns related to:

7. The DL component of EMPRES was established as a collaborative programme to strengthen national and regional locust survey and effective early control capacities, as well as international cooperation. EMPRES supports the work of existing national and regional institutions to achieve sustainability, and is not intended to replace or duplicate their activities. The EMPRES partners are national Plant Protection Departments (PPDs), regional organizations with a mandate for supporting DL control, and donor agencies and research institutes. Since many DL plagues have originated around the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (the Central Region of the DL-affected area), EMPRES made this its first main geographic focus.

8. In 1994, an FAO Project Formulation Mission produced a project proposal for the establishment of an initial DL programme in the Central Region (EMPRES-CR). The formulation mission envisaged a three-phase programme with each phase lasting three to four years. Phase I of the programme commenced in the Central Region, with preliminary activities in 1996 based on an FAO programme document, which was itself largely based on the report of the formulation mission. Participating countries in the Central Region are Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, the Sudan and Yemen. Important regional partners are the FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Central Region (CRC) and the Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa (DLCO-EA).

9. The 1995 FAO Conference recommended that the EMPRES approach should be extended to the Western Region, comprising Algeria, Chad, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, the Niger, Senegal and Tunisia. A formulation mission in 1997 developed a proposal, which was discussed and revised following a regional workshop in March 1998 in Nouakchott, taking into account recommendations made by the Desert Locust Control Committee (DLCC) during its 34th session. The revised programme document, which included the funding requirements to be met by external contributions (US$ 8 525 353), was subsequently endorsed, in principle, by the countries concerned. This programme document was later supplemented by an outline work plan which was developed during a participatory planning workshop held in Mauritania in February 2001. However, owing to insufficient funding, only limited activities are being undertaken in the Western Region mainly through a Norwegian-funded FAO trust fund project for improved pesticide application in Mauritania.

10. Between 1997 and 2000, the EMPRES-DL programme received financial support from Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and FAO's Regular Programme funds. This support totalled US$ 7 230 000, of which FAO Regular Programme funds accounted for US$ 1 904 000.


11. A first evaluation of Phase I of EMPRES-CR was undertaken in mid-1999 and concluded that EMPRES-CR had achieved a number of important results within a complex programme management and implementation framework. The evaluation mission also identified a number of weaknesses in the design of the programme. In early 2001, FAO decided to undertake a second evaluation of the EMPRES-DL programme, which was expected to examine Phase I in the Western Region and Phase II in the Central Region. The evaluation was initiated with a view to providing donors, participating countries and FAO with an independent and objective assessment of the status of programme implementation in the Central and Western Regions. It was requested to assess the following points in particular:

    1. the programme's relevance to the development priorities and needs of locust-affected countries;
    2. the realism, clarity and flexibility of programme design;
    3. the adequacy of institutional relationships and partnerships and of linkages to related activities;
    4. the efficiency of implementation - including its management by FAO, coordination, monitoring and reporting arrangements; and
    5. the programme's effectiveness in achieving outputs and objectives, and a review of progress towards meeting defined targets/milestones, especially those aspects relating to the efforts of locust-affected countries and regional organizations to establish sustainable regional DL management systems.

12. The evaluation mission took place from 25 July to 6 September 2001, and included a field visit to six participating countries (Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mauritania, the Sudan and Yemen). Discussions were also held in Rome with a senior member of the Moroccan Centre National de Lutte Anti-Acridienne and the Secretary of the FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Western Region (CLCPRO). Owing principally to time constraints, it was not possible for the mission to visit all EMPRES-CR and EMPRES-WR countries, and donor agencies. Brief questionnaires sent out to EMPRES countries, collaborators and donors were intended to close this information gap.

13. The evaluation report also contains the comments of an external review panel (Annex 1) as well as the programme management response (Annex 2).

II. Overview of the EMPRES-DL Programme


14. The original (1995) programme document for EMPRES-CR was revised by FAO in February 2000. This document took into account the experience gained in the first three years of the programme, as well as the evaluation of the EMPRES-CR programme that was carried out in July and August 1999, and redefined the programme goal as:

"To strengthen the capabilities and capacities of national, regional and international components of the desert locust management system to implement effective and efficient preventive control strategies based on early warning and timely, environmentally sound early control interventions."

15. Four programme components were identified. These were aimed at:

    1. increasing the level of coordination of DL monitoring, survey and control activities in the Central Region by facilitating networking among national, regional and international organizations and by strengthening information exchange systems;
    2. establishing an improved DL early warning system based on meteorological, remote sensing and the collection and analysis of field information;
    3. strengthening and improving national preventive control capacities through improved planning, training, provision of equipment and operational resources, and the field testing of new control technologies; and
    4. formulating improvements in the DL emergency prevention strategy through evaluating the effectiveness, efficiency and economic and environmental soundness of current approaches and new technologies.

16. The revised EMPRES-CR programme document referred to the many gaps in knowledge regarding DL ecology and management, as well as to new technologies that could render survey and control strategies more powerful. One of EMPRES-CR's main functions was therefore to provide training, as well as essential equipment to upgrade the capacity of national Desert Locust Control Units (DLUs). It also offered its services for the coordination of bilateral projects that were complementary to the programme.

17. The sustainability of EMPRES-CR's results was to be ensured through regional cooperation based on a reinforcement of the regional communication network and improved and regular coordination among EMPRES-CR member countries. The revised programme document also explicitly addressed the establishment of a post-EMPRES institutional mechanism for ensuring the continuation of a coordinated emergency prevention programme in the Central Region. This was to be implemented through CRC.

18. In contrast to the programme document for EMPRES-CR, the one for EMPRES-WR focused on describing the organizational structures and respective responsibilities, the tasks and detailed costings rather than elaborating overall programme objectives, outputs and activities in a logical framework. This programme document foresaw significant (external) funding for the establishment and operations of DLUs in Chad, Mali, Mauritania and the Niger, as well as funding for an EMPRES support unit. It envisaged a four-year timeframe for Phase I.

19. Parallel to the development of a Western Region programme document, and following a recommendation of the 33rd DLCC session, a formal proposal was made in 1999 to create CLCPRO to replace the FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in Northwest Africa (CLCPANO) and the Organization Commune de Lutte Antiacridienne et de Lutte Antiaviaire (OCLALAV). CLCPRO was to provide a simplified structure for regional cooperation in order to permit an efficient and suitable application of the preventive strategy. The membership of the new commission is identical with that of EMPRES-WR, i.e. the nine West and Northwest African countries that are directly involved in implementing preventive control. The FAO Council approved the establishment of CLCPRO in 2000, and final ratification by the relevant countries is expected to occur during 2002.


20. EMPRES-CR was designed as a FAO field programme and is highly dependent on collaboration among all partners: donors, EMPRES countries, regional relevant organizations, and FAO. To a large degree this is reflected in what might be termed the "cost-sharing" arrangement activities among all the partners involved. The Programme Coordinator, who is based in the region, is responsible for general management under the overall supervision of the Senior Officer for Migratory Pests at FAO's Plant Protection Service (AGPP), who is located at Headquarters in Rome. Two other structures are also involved in programme implementation, review and management:

    1. The Consultative Committee comprises senior representatives from the participating countries, other organizations (including DLCO-EA and CRC), donors, AGPP senior staff and the EMPRES Coordinator. It normally meets annually to review progress, issues and the work plan for the following year; and
    2. EMPRES Liaison Officers (ELOs) are appointed by participating governments and DLCO-EA and normally meet once a year with EMPRES and AGPP staff. The role of ELOs is to assist in the planning, implementation and coordination of activities. In addition, ELOs are involved in reviewing priorities and progress and participating in the development of the work plan for the following year.

21. The institutional structure in the Western Region envisages a complete integration of the new (expanded) regional commission (CLCPRO) with the EMPRES-WR programme. This is facilitated by the fact that the commission and EMPRES-WR have the same membership. The Secretary of CLCPANO (subsequently CLCPRO) will be the EMPRES-WR Programme Coordinator. Once CLCPRO has been established and its members have decided where it should be based, the host country will be required to provide significant technical and administrative support. A National Professional Officer (NPO), based in Mauritania, was appointed in late 2000 to provide improved coordination among the countries of the region.

Figure 2 : EMPRES-CR programme structure

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III. EMPRES-DL Implementation Results

22. The EMPRES-CR programme commenced in 1997 with Phase I ending in 2000, and Phase II commencing immediately in 2001. Currently, Phase II of the EMPRES-CR programme is funded by a number of donors and by contributions from FAO Regular Programme funds, supplemented by funding from CRC and DLCC.

23. Bilateral contributions, predominantly for research-related activities, have also been provided to EMPRES-CR by the United Kingdom and Sweden. More recently Germany provided bilateral support for both EMPRES-CR and EMPRES-WR, amounting to DM3 million (US$ 1 321 411) for a three-year period commencing in 2001.

Table 1: Estimated expenditure 2001 and funds likely to be available in 2002 and 2003*






































* includes bilateral contributions from Germany; other bilateral donors not listed

24. Support for EMPRES-WR activities has been limited to funding provided through FAO (the Regular Programme [approximately US$ 600 000], as well as DLCC and CLCPANO), some (mainly emergency) Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) projects, a small amount from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and funding provided by Norway (approximately US$ 1.115 million) for a regional trust fund project based (and mainly active) in Mauritania (Improving Pesticide Application Techniques for Desert Locust Control: GCP/INT/651/NOR).


25. In the absence of major donor support, pilot activities have started under FAO Regular Programme funding (including an NPO based in Mauritania), supplemented by contributions from CLCPANO and DLCC, and the Norwegian project. The majority of these funds have been expended in Mauritania and Sahelian countries.

26. In addition, a number of TCP projects have been implemented in the region. Most of these were provided in response to the occurrence of DL populations in Mauritania which, at the time, were beyond the country's capacity to control with existing resources. EMPRES-WR has also benefited from FAO inter-regional projects funded by Belgium and through bilateral activities funded by the United Kingdom and France.

27. The Norway/FAO trust fund project has been the most important EMPRES component in the Western Region. The project started in September 1996 and thus preceded preparation of the original EMPRES-WR programme document. Its focus is on improving pesticide application technology and other aspects of control operations. Although intended as a regional project, it has so far been active mainly in Mauritania owing to the absence of significant DL populations in other Sahelian countries. The project's initial budget was US$ 697 617 over two years. In a major revision in 1999, the project was extended and the budget increased to US$ 1 115 525. In February 2001, an independent evaluation mission recommended that the project be extended by a further two years, and the donor is considering this proposal.

28. The project has made important contributions to developing and introducing safer and more cost-effective procedures for DL control operations, many of which have been adopted by the DLU in Mauritania. Contributions from the project include:

    1. an analysis of current DL practices, which integrates field operations, training and research;
    2. field trials on the efficacy of reduced pesticide dosages;
    3. use of differential global positioning systems (DGPS) equipment for more effective/efficient aerial spraying operations;
    4. use of a global positioning system (GPS) to improve ground-spraying operations;
    5. development of an innovative DL mass rearing facility;
    6. research on the influence of various droplet size parameters, which is aimed at improving the design of spraying equipment;
    7. developing a low-cost/simple technology field vehicle for locust campaigns, in collaboration with the Agricultural University of Norway;
    8. small-scale testing of the barrier spraying of insect growth regulators (IGRs);
    9. developing routine procedures for evaluating the efficiency of individual control operations;
    10. testing improved methods for collecting survey and control data in order to facilitate campaign planning and analysis, developing the Reconnaissance and Management System of the Environment of Schistocerca (RAMSES) database and integrating it with the German Agency for Technical Cooperation's (GTZ) Desert Locust Database (LOCDAT); and
    11. monitoring the accidental exposure of personnel and livestock to pesticides.


29. EMPRES-CR has effectively operated with only two - instead of three - international experts since September 1999, when the first Coordinator resigned and the Senior Field Officer, located in Addis Ababa, was nominated Acting Coordinator (and appointed Coordinator in July 2001). In addition, the EMPRES-CR Associate Professional Officer (APO) for Control Strategies, Contingencies, Communication, based in Sana'a, completed his contract in early 2000 and was not replaced, thereby reducing support for this important component. Finally, the EMPRES-CR NPO (Control), based in Khartoum, was selected for the post of CRC Secretary - a development that augurs well for future EMPRES-CR/CRC cooperation but that has left another unfilled position in EMPRES-CR. These staff losses are not significantly offset by the arrival of an APO in Khartoum in November 2000, to work in the unrelated field of the identification of environmentally sensitive areas.

30. The status of planned activities is reviewed below, following the structure of the implementation framework developed at the Phase II planning workshop.

31. Result area 1: operational mandates of different regional organizations in DL management harmonized:

    1. Following the appointment of the CRC Secretary in August 2001, the first meeting of a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to discuss operational mandates and involving CRC, EMPRES-CR and DLCO-EA took place in December 2001.
    2. CRC and EMPRES-CR have harmonized their work plans and are co-funding various training, research and joint survey activities. EMPRES-CR sponsored the participation of the Director-General of the Sudan's PPD in a Pan-African Workshop on Harmonization of Registration of Biopesticides in Africa. The workshop was organized by Virginia Polytechnic in collaboration with DLCO-EA at Cotonou, Benin in February 2001.
    3. Country Focus Programmes (CFPs), which figured prominently on the EMPRES-CR work plan for the year 2000, did not appear on the work plan for 2001. So far, one CFP has been largely concluded in the Sudan, while others were aborted; in Eritrea (owing to the security situation), Saudi Arabia (owing to an outbreak of Rift Valley fever) and Yemen (owing to the PPD's inability to mobilize the required government contribution). Preparations for a CFP have not resumed in Eritrea or Saudi Arabia, while in Yemen the PPD has received the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation's approval for an allocation of US$ 12 500 towards a CFP.

32. Result area 2: enhanced national and regional communication networking:

    1. EMPRES-CR organized a training course in forecasting in Egypt in April 2000, and sponsored an on-the-job training of an information officer from the Sudan for 11 months at FAO's Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS).
    2. Most DLUs now have e-mail connections (albeit with occasional transmission problems) and staffs who are trained in standard software programs.
    3. Within the context of its CFP, the Sudan's PPD reviewed the national DL information system, including the DL Information Unit at PPD headquarters. As a result, fixed schedules for radio contacts have been defined, including the frequencies used and the timing for each station and sub-station. Ten radio operators were trained during a two-day course on receiving and transmitting locust information from the field to headquarters and on the use of standard survey and spray monitoring forms.
    4. Office and communication equipment has been ordered for the EMPRES/DLCO-EA office in Hargeisa, Somalia, in order to improve networking and interaction with EMPRES and DLCO-EA.

33. Result area 3: improved DL early warning and information systems:

    1. Countries were expected to define their national information systems, requirements and needs by May 2001. So far, only the Sudan's and Yemen's DLUs have started to work on this topic. The slow response from other countries has delayed the development of recommendations for improved information systems, as well as the work on standard information exchange procedures (for which the target date was September 2001).
    2. RAMSES has been installed in three countries (Eritrea, Ethiopia and Yemen), and has been used for the production of maps and statistical series on past DL outbreaks. However, there have been constraints associated with technical problems and a lack of available expertise to operate the system. (On-the-job training on RAMSES has often been limited to a few days.)
    3. In the opinion of DLIS and EMPRES-CR, the calibration of satellite images has not yet reached the stage at which it can be of direct use to DL surveys, and thus the regular provision of remote sensing images has not been initiated. However, a number of ground surveys have been undertaken (the Sudan and Eritrea) to provide ground-truthing information for satellite images. In respect of meteorological data, the original programme document envisaged the establishment of close links between DLUs and national meteorological agencies. It would appear that these have not occurred, mainly because the general "user pays" principle adopted by national meteorological services makes the cost of data prohibitive for DLUs.

34. Result area 4: improved DL survey procedures of member countries:

    1. In the context of the CFP, the Sudan's PPD drafted a first national survey plan for the summer and winter breeding seasons, which draws on experiences from the PPD in Mauritania. (The target for 2001 was to have draft plans developed by the Sudan and Eritrea, but the preparation of the latter has been delayed.) In northern Somalia, a short-term action plan for a more self-reliant survey system was drafted in April 2001, and a survey training course for local experts was conducted in Hargeisa from 10 to 13 June 2001.
    2. New survey technologies, such as the registration of GPS data on palm-held computers and the high-frequency (HF) radio transmission of survey data from the field to the DLUs, are currently being tested under field conditions in collaboration with DLIS and EMPRES-WR.
    3. Population dynamics are being studied in collaboration with Wageningen Agricultural University (WU) in the Netherlands, and another EMPRES-CR/CRC-supported research project is working on the same topic at the University of Khartoum. Vegetation and soil maps of the coastal areas of Eritrea have been received from the United Kingdom's Natural Resources Institute (NRI), and a report on the methodologies used to characterize vegetation is expected from the same source.
    4. Historical records, meteorological and remote sensing data and other sources have been used to produce a preliminary identification of the most important breeding areas in the Central Region; a draft report is under review.
    5. An Egyptian-Sudanese joint border survey took place in early 2000 (with the participation of other EMPRES-CR countries) and a joint Sudanese-Egyptian in-country survey was implemented in August 2001. A planned joint cross-border survey along the Sudanese-Eritrean border (to be facilitated by DLCO-EA) has been delayed indefinitely as a result of security concerns.

35. Result area 5: qualified DL technicians and officers:

    1. A meeting of ELOs, held in Oman in 2000, adopted a standard training approach, which aims at strengthening national training schemes and incorporating DL aspects into training materials for technicians, extension workers and other staff who may be involved in DL operations. A cornerstone of the training approach was to have been a standard training manual (to be developed in collaboration with NRI) to provide reference materials and didactic guidelines for national teachers. However, work on this manual has not progressed as FAO Headquarters regards it as being mainly NRI's responsibility, but NRI has been unable to proceed pending a policy decision on further support for DL activities which, in turn, is dependent on the results of a socio-economic study to be carried out in 2002. If alternative funds can be identified, NRI will be contracted to complete the work. The revised and updated FAO Desert Locust Guidelines, which should make a major contribution as a reference handbook for locust officers, was published in September 2001, in English; French and Arabic versions are under preparation.
    2. The CRC/EMPRES-CR-sponsored diploma course on desert locust management at the University of Khartoum began in September 2001 with six students enrolled from the Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
    3. Within the framework of its CFP, a national training course on survey and control aspects was conducted in the Sudan by the Head of the PPD's DL section, the Director of the PPD for North Kordofan and the NPO-C, who also functioned as course supervisor. Another national training course on survey and control was conducted in Eritrea by EMPRES NPOs for survey and control and five national co-trainers. In addition, local training courses (for field staff, farmers and scouts) have been organized in both countries.
    4. A planned regional seminar on information and forecasting did not materialize owing to the unavailability of the DLIS expert. An alternative proposal to send two information officers from the Sudan and Ethiopia for comprehensive RAMSES training at NRI did not prove to be feasible owing to financial and human resources constraints at NRI. Likewise, the regional DL campaign management and planning seminar did not take place as the invited consultants withdrew at short notice.

36. Result area 6: contingency plans available:

    1. The Sudan has developed and submitted draft contingency plans for the 2001 summer and winter breeding seasons, which form part of the CFP. Ethiopia and Yemen have also agreed to develop contingency plans but, although Ethiopia has developed an outline plan, no progress has been made in Yemen. EMPRES-CR now considers it more appropriate to introduce the topic sequentially, starting with basic campaign information (to be addressed at a campaign management and planning seminar planned for 2002) followed by a regional contingency planning seminar, also in 2002.

37. Result area 7: efficient and environmentally safer control methods:

    1. GTZ's agreement with FAO to associate its Desert Locust Project to the EMPRES-CR programme is strongly focused on the development of environmentally safer control means. The GTZ expert in Cairo has drafted a discussion paper on the field testing of biopesticides, IGRs and the semio-chemical phenylacetonitrile. The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), in Nairobi, has conducted laboratory tests on the effects of phenylacetonitrile for many years. As a next step, a letter of agreement between FAO and ICIPE, granting US$ 50 000 for the field testing of phenylacetonitrile, has been submitted for approval.
    2. As the proposed trials depend on the availability of locusts, advance arrangements have been made with EMPRES-WR in case a suitable DL situation occurs in Mauritania, and also to allow for the exchange of national experts. The locust rearing facilities in Nouakchott and at the field station in Akjoujt will be made available for joint EMPRES-CR/WR field investigations.
    3. An investigation conducted by EMPRES-CR concluded that technically outdated sprayers have been replaced by modern ultra low volume (ULV) ones in almost all countries. With regard to the testing of new spraying equipment, contacts have been made with NRI to participate in a workshop planned for September 2002. The workshop will be attended by representatives from spray equipment companies, as well as participants from DLUs (the Sudan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Oman).
    4. A comprehensive blood testing programme, to be carried out by DLCO-EA in collaboration with the Sudan's PPD, was planned for the summer pre-campaign in 2001. Owing to the United States embargo on the Sudan, it was not possible to provide the PPD with the necessary equipment. DLCO-EA has since agreed to conduct the programme in Eritrea.
    5. In order to promote the registration process of biopesticides such as metarhizium, an expert consultation panel was established by FAO and GTZ in July 2001 to assess the risks and acceptance of biopesticides by the affected countries. As a first step towards the registration of metarhizium in the Sudan, an agent has been appointed to handle all related matters. Similarly, a baseline study of biodiversity in selected areas along the Red Sea coast has been initiated and a literature review finalized. A list of indicator organisms and their sensitivity to the pesticide Malathion has also been compiled.
    6. Under the joint CRC/EMPRES-CR programme to support national DL research, a more concise research grant application format has been developed and introduced, as has a new reporting format. Two projects are currently being conducted by the universities of Khartoum (population dynamics) and Aden, Yemen (the effect of metarhizium on non-target species). A third project, in collaboration with the University of Alemaya, on DL population comparisons in different recession periods in Ethiopia, resulted in the award of an M.Sc. degree in May 2001. In 2001, 14 proposals were received, of which five have been shortlisted for assessment by CRC and EMPRES prior to acceptance:

38. Result area 8: systematic methods of campaign evaluation:

    1. This area includes two aspects of DL control: the efficiency and effectiveness of DL control campaigns per se, and the overall relevance and economic justification for DL control campaigns in general. Regarding the former, a draft review of current survey and control operations in the Central Region and a DL bibliography have been prepared. A preliminary discussion paper on improved preventive control strategies has been prepared by EMPRES-CR staff, with inputs from WU.
    2. Economic case studies have been conducted by researchers from the universities of Hannover (Germany) and Gothenburg (Sweden). These were carried out within the framework of EMPRES, but were financed and supervised mostly from Germany and Sweden, respectively. In June 2000, FAO organized a meeting on DL economics at Headquarters, with participants from GTZ, the University of Gothenburg, AGPP, DLIS, the University of Khartoum, the University of Hannover and EMPRES-CR. The meeting concluded that there are two major concerns with DL economic analysis: "in the absence of any plague period during which there is no public intervention (control), it is difficult to be sure that locust damage would not have been significantly heavier than the levels measured up to now, ... [and that] potential losses are likely to be overestimated, because of long-term responses by producers to the possible effects of changes in policy regarding control".
    3. The meeting recommended the following activities, among others: at least two socio-economic studies to illustrate the possible impacts of DL damage; a review of the scope for using disaster insurance schemes; a review of the locust simulation model developed during EMPRES-CR Phase I; courses in risk and welfare analysis for DL policy-makers, in order to generate better understanding; the employment of an APO with some economic background; and the joint publishing by Hannover and FAO of the paper presented by the University of Hannover.
    4. During 2001, terms of reference for a socio-economic study to assess farmers' reactions and the impact of the locust threat at the farm level in the Sudan were developed in collaboration with researchers from the University of Hannover, who will also supervise an Ethiopian economist. The study started in late August 2001. The University of Gothenburg conducted a survey in Eritrea (May 2001) to evaluate the feasibility and chances for insurance schemes that provide compensation for locust damage at a lower cost to the community than fighting the pest would incur. So far no results have been obtained from this investigation.


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