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Locusts in Caucasus and Central Asia
Kyrgyzstan, 2017. ©T. Idrisov

Regional cooperation

WHY IS REGIONAL COOPERATION REQUIRED FOR LOCUST MANAGEMENT IN CAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA (CCA)?

Locusts pests have a high capacity to multiply, form groups and migrate over relatively large distances -they can fly up to 100 km per day- to settle and breed in various habitats.

In the Caucasus and in Central Asia, political borders are situated across locust traditional habitats and breeding areas. If a country faces locust infestations or an outbreak, it is more than likely than at least one neighbouring country faces a similar situation. In other words, even if a country carries out appropriate control operations in its own territory, it is not protected from infestations of locusts arriving from other countries. This represents a threat to food security in addition to a source of tension between countries.

Map: Locust in Caucasus

Map: Locust in Caucasus

Map: Locust in Central Asia

Map: Locust in Central Asia

 

Considering the locust transboundary nature and countries' political borders in CCA, any sustainable solution can only result from well-coordinated prevention relying on improved national and regional locust management. This includes adequate preparation by each single country as well as concerted joint efforts.

WHAT DOES CONCRETELY MEAN REGIONAL COOPERATION ON LOCUSTS IN CCA?

In the 90’s and 2000’s, Caucasian and Central Asian countries had few or no contacts on locust matters despite vicinity, and some existing bilateral agreements (in particular in Central Asia). A major constraint for proper locust management was the difficulty to anticipate locust invasions because of lack of coordination between neighbouring countries sharing outbreak areas.

As of 2017, an effective technical network on locust issues has been created between CCA countries. This was highlighted by countries at many occasions, as one of the main achievements of the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)” over the 2011-2016 period (Result 1).

Such results could be achieved thanks to regular exchanges of information and sharing of experience on locust situations and management between the ten countries, which represents the cornerstone of any regional cooperation. The production of national and regional monthly bulletins on locust situations during the locust campaigns was the very first step to that end. The annual Technical Workshops on Locusts in CCA were also key to share lessons learnt from last campaigns and information on the forthcoming one, discuss developments on a number of technical issues and create a team spirit, based on common interest. Joint activities also played a major role. For instance, the joint or cross-border surveys were recognized as extremely useful to monitor jointly the locust situation on border areas and as such also to decrease possible tensions between countries. Some good examples of intra-regional assistance also occurred during the Programme. 

WHAT ARE THE FORTHCOMING CRUCIAL CHALLENGES?

One the most important challenge in the forthcoming years (from 2019 onwards) will be to ensure the sustainability of the now existing regional cooperation on locusts in CCA. At a technical level, this means pursuing a number of activities; in addition, a major step ahead will be needed at institutional level. In order words, the best possible mechanism to ensure sustainable regional cooperation on locusts in CCA, i.e. the mechanism which appears as the most appropriate at technical, institutional, financial and any other relevant levels, will have to be identified, refined, agreed upon and implemented.

Under Result 1- Regional Cooperation of the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)”, the objective for the coming years (2019 onwards), is: Sustainability of regional cooperation on locusts in CCA is ensured.

 

More information on Results achieved over the 2011-2016 period and The way forward is available on this website under “Programme and donors”.