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Towards a sustainable strategy for controlling the Desert Locust threat Volume 15, issue 3, JUILLET-AOÛT-SEPTEMBRE 2004

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Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (Cirad), Prifas-Acridologie opérationnelle, TA 40/D, 34398 Montpellier cedex 5, France

The Desert Locust remains a major threat for food safety and social stability, in particular for a great many rural populations living off an agriculture under high climatic risk. Controlling the invasions represents a high cost for the countries affected and the international community while it is a threat to the environment. FAO and its “Locust and Others Migratory Pests Group” play an irreplaceable part in the coordination of monitoring and control activities worldwide. Over the last years, they had a driving role in reinforcing regional co-operation, in improving the techniques for survey and control, in promoting a renovated preventive strategy via the EMPRES program (Emergency Prevention System). This program is vital to ensure the sustainability of the early warning system for preventing major plagues of the Desert Locust in the future. The current upsurge of the Desert Locust shows that the threat is always present and confirms that the outbreak areas within the Sahelian countries of West Africa can play an important part in the departure of an invasion. For these countries, the mobilization of the international funds necessary to reinforce monitoring and control capacities is unfortunately too slow.