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Locusts in Caucasus and Central Asia
Georgia, 2010 ©FAO/A. Monard

Programme and donors

PROGRAMME TO IMPROVE NATIONAL AND REGIONAL LOCUST MANAGEMENT IN CAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA (CCA)

The Programme to improve national and regional locust management has been implemented since October 2011 to the benefit of ten countries, namely Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. It is part of the FAO “Emergency Prevention System for Transboundary Animal and Plant Pests and Diseases (EMPRES)” approach and is therefore inspired by the key concepts of locust preventive control strategy. Its overall objective is to reduce occurrence and intensity of locust outbreaks in CCA, thus limiting threat or damage to crops and rangelands and safeguarding rural population food security and livelihoods, as well as minimizing impact of chemical control operations on human health and the environment. The immediate objectives are to develop regional cooperation and strengthen national capacities.

Baseline: countries requests and assessment of locust situations and management (2009-2011)

Baseline: countries requests and assessment of locust situations and management (2009-2011)

In response to official requests for assistance received by FAO from CCA countries, emphasizing the transboundary nature of locusts, the FAO “Locusts and Transboundary Plant Pests and Diseases” Team (AGPMM) carried out assessment missions in CCA. They resulted in an “Analytical Report on locust situations and management in CCA” (August 2009), which highlighted common features, constraints, challenges, countries’ needs and expectations and formulated recommendations.

A Regional Consultation on Locust Management in CCA, held in October 2009 in Almaty, Kazakhstan, allowed discussing findings and recommendations with the ten concerned countries. As a result, the FAO “Programme to improve national and regional locust management in Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA)” was endorsed by the ten CCA countries during this Consultation, with an initial duration of five years (to be started as soon as sufficient funds would be mobilized).

Such process was possible thanks to a two-year FAO project (2009-2011) funded by its Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP), which also allows starting some key technical activities, such as the preparation of the national and regional monthly bulletins on locust situations.

Programme overview and implementation (since 2011)

Programme overview and implementation (since 2011)

The Programme was officially launched in October 2011 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Based on the key concepts of the locust preventive control strategy, it includes the six following expected results:

  • Result 1 - Regional cooperation developed for better locust management
  • Result 2 - National capacities strengthened
  • Result 3 - Locust issues and disasters better anticipated and mitigated
  • Result 4 - Improved response mechanisms to locust outbreaks
  • Result 5 - Impact on human health and the environment mitigated and monitored
  • Result 6 - Public information and awareness increased

The Programme was implemented on the basis of the Roadmap that was endorsed by the ten CCA countries in October 2011. This Roadmap was then completed by the annual workplans (from 1st October to 30th September of the following year) established on a consensual basis during the annual workshops and taking into account countries’ needs and available funds/projects. Because all required funds were not simultaneously gathered, it was decided not to limit the Programme to a five-year duration as initially envisaged and to focus primarily on establishing a regional network and strengthening human capacities.

This multi-funded Programme could start thanks to different projects and partners. The first contribution was received from USAID in 2011 and covered the ten countries (2011-2017). It is/has also been funded by Japan/JICA, Turkey (under the FAO-Turkey Partnership Programme -FTPP) and FAO (Regular Programme and Technical Cooperation Programme), through national or sub-regional projects targeting some of the ten countries.

The Programme had an initial budget of USD 7.8 million. The contributions to the Programme amounted USD 3.3 million at Year 4 completion (September 2015) and USD 8.3 million at Year 5 end (September 2016, including the Japan/JICA project to the benefit of three countries). Funds do not equally concern all CCA countries, which is logical taking into consideration the baseline situations (in particular, a lot of efforts were concentrated on Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, including equipment delivery). However, a number of Programme activities still need to be implemented subject to funds’ availability; in addition, other countries that also suffer from shortage of equipment would need further specific assistance.

Results achieved (2011-2018)

Results achieved (2011-2018)

The annual workshop held in November 2016 in Astana, Kazakhstan, allowed reviewing the results achieved since 2011: an extremely positive feedback was received from the ten CCA countries as well as by the donors attending the workshop (Japan/JICA and USAID). Two years later as of end 2018, the main results achieved includes:

  • The establishment of an active technical network on locusts in CCA and the now effective cooperation – this is considered as a major achievement; it includes regular information exchange through monthly bulletins on locust situations, experience sharing during the annual workshops and intra-regional assistance.
  • A total of 23 joint or cross-border surveys organized with Programme assistance, involving 236 Locust Experts from the ten countries, allowing the joint collect of data and evaluation of the locust situation in border areas, thus contributing to prevent worsening of any locust crisis, reduce tensions regarding the sources of locust invasions and build the regional network of technical experts – this was also recognized as a major breakthrough.
  • The strengthening of human capacities, with a total of 1047 Experts trained on a wide range of locust-related topics through nine internships on locust management organized in performing Anti-Locust Centres outside CCA and 71 regional, national training and briefing sessions (including a successful Training-of-Trainers to the benefit of three countries, in 2016-2018, to be further replicated).
  • Monitoring and analyzing tools developed from scratch to the benefit of the ten countries, including: the Automated System for Data Collection (ASDC), now available in 11 languages for use on tablets, smartphones and computers; and the locust Geographical Information System (GIS) in CCA, entitled “Caucasus and Central Asia Locust Management System” (CCALM), fully deployed in March 2017, being introduced in CCA countries and under testing.
  • Following a review of pesticides registered and frequently used against locusts in CCA (2012), introduction and development of updated control methods and spraying techniques, in particular the Ultra-Low Volume (ULV) technology, which is now used by most CCA countries in addition to the emulsifiable concentrates (EC) one - this is a big step ahead as compared to the baseline situation. Less harmful pesticides and alternatives to conventional pesticides were also promoted, including Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) and biopesticides (see also related videos).
  • National integral systems for environmental and health monitoring of locust control operations developed in pilot countries, Tajikistan (2014) and Kyrgyzstan (2015), and also in Azerbaijan (2017). As a result, Human Health and Environmental Monitoring Teams set up (in 2015 and 2016), for the first time ever in CCA, in the two first countries (to be extended to other CCA countries). Other activities aiming at reducing risks of control operations on human health and the environment were also undertaken, including the critical review of management of pesticides and empty containers, with formulation of related recommendations (2016), thus offering a basis for further steps.
  • Strengthening of operational capacities, with delivery of: (a) A limited number of items for demonstration or training purposes to all countries -creating however a snowball effect- including survey, positioning and communication equipment, ULV sprayers, Personal Protective Equipment and human health and environmental monitoring material to most countries as well as conventional pesticides in ULV formulation to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (including through triangulation process from Morocco to Tajikistan); and (b) Substantial equipment (2016/18) to three CCA countries, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (to be extended to some other CCA countries).

The way forward (2018 onwards)

The way forward (2018 onwards)

The annual workshops held in November 2016 and 2017 in Astana, Kazakhstan and Dushanbe, Tajikistan, also allowed defining the way forward. CCA countries discussed further challenges and needs, as per the six expected results of the Programme. It was considered that focus should be put on three main axes:

  • Sustainability of the existing regional cooperation;
  • Implementation of an effective locust preventive control strategy; and
  • Further harmonization and increase of knowledge and best practices

Activities to be implemented in the coming years, subject to funds’ availability, were also defined by countries, as stated in the reports of the 2016 and 2017 annual workshops.

Resource mobilization is now needed to the benefit of the ten countries; a Note to improve locust management over the next years in CCA (February 2018) provides an overall presentation of the way forward. It is against this background that a new project funded by USAID was approved in late 2018 (See Project and Donor)