32nd CILSS Day

The 32nd CILSS Day was celebrated by the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) on 12 September and focused on the theme, “Land use and occupation: Atlas of Sahelian and West African landscapes, a planning and decision-making tool.” In his speech, President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta of Mali, who is also current chairman of CILSS, stressed the importance of this theme, because of its impact on agro-sylvo-pastoral productivity, desertification and biodiversity and on local and interstate conflicts due to cross-border economic migration and transhumance. He recalled the appeal launched by African officials to the international community on 15 June calling for the creation of partnerships to rehabilitate 10 million hectares of degraded lands and create 10 million jobs for young people and women. On the occasion of this CILSS day, President Keïta presented a new atlas published by CILSS, entitled “Landscapes of West Africa: A window on a changing world.” This book, the result of extensive research, shows the degradation of natural habitats and biodiversity as well as soil erosion, all results of population growth and the twofold increase from 1975 to 2013 in land being used for agriculture. The atlas also highlights positive experiences with “increased biodiversity on agricultural land, regeneration of tree cover, and soil and water conservation techniques used to improve land,” noted President Keïta. The atlas was designed to be both a tool to raise awareness among the people of the region and a tool for decision-making and planning for West African officials. This book is “a reference, capitalisation and advocacy document that can raise awareness among decision-makers and citizens about the worrying changes underway and inform them about the behaviors to adopt.” […]“We want this document to be a tool for policy-making in order to improve agricultural productivity, hence this outreach,” said Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, inviting African countries to appropriate the document and use it to take action to preserve the environment.