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CILSS:

Fatou Ba pointed out that the first response of the Sahel countries in tackling serious drought was to address the economic and social balance. CILSS has adopted a regional desertification control strategy that is based on the total commitment of the people. This strategy incorporates a redefinition of the role of national services, training and follow-up, and increased coordination between CILSS member countries. She explained that during the implementation of the programme some difficulties were experienced, including land tenure issues, decentralization and duplication of efforts. Thus, there needs to be integrated national policies and a review of the rules and regulations governing land resource management. CILSS has an environmental monitoring institute, an early warning system, and a population research institute that provide data and information useful in combatting desertification. She said that the success of the programme is due to: finding common approaches; being within reach of the peasant community; its combination of economies of scale and experiences of different countries; and its replicability. She warned that the Convention would only be meaningful and effective if farmers found markets for their produce, terms of trade are improved, the drier arid and semi-arid areas are integrated into national economies, answers are found to land tenure problems and activities are better coordinated.