Mali tests its National Locust Emergency Response Plan with nine neighbouring countries
First of its kind, Mali organized a simulation exercise to test and improve, during a calm period, its state of preparedness for the effective management and response to an eventual Desert Locust crisis.
Thanks to the experience shared by the participating countries – Algeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Senegal and Tunisia – today Mali is better prepared to respond to such a crisis.
To further develop the capacity of member countries and enhance their level of preparedness, the Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in the Western Region (CLCPRO) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) plans to organize – in the near future and on a regular basis – similar simulation exercises. These simulations help countries be better prepared to respond and to control more effectively should a locust crisis arise, ultimately reducing the impact on food security and the environment.
After the 2003-05 Desert Locust plague in the Western Region (of Africa), the FAO Emergency Prevention Systems (EMPRES), through CLCPRO, supported the creation of National Locust Control Units in Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Since then, thanks to an established preparedness set-up, four Desert Locust outbreaks were successfully controlled in Mauritania in 2008, 2009, 2010-11 and in Niger in 2009. Furthermore, EMPRES promoted good practices where fewer pesticides were applied coupled with the application of biopesticides. Thanks to the preparedness of Mauritania and Niger, no external assistance was required for these control operations – proving that preparedness is crucial
This first simulation exercise – held in Bamako from 17 to 21 October 2011 – was led by the National Centre for controlling the Desert Locust (CNLCP) with inputs from the ministries generally involved in the management of such a crisis (Agriculture, Interior, Environment, Health, Transport and Defence) and with the support of the CLCPRO. The role of CLCPRO is to promote preventive control strategies and coordinate regional activities related to this transboundary pest.