23/09/2004 - West Africa is facing the largest desert locust outbreak in 15 years. Each passing day the cost of remedying the situation mounts. Only a few months ago it was estimated at $12 million. Today, it is ten times that amount reaching $122 million according to the FAO. In addition, harvest losses are currently valued at up to $2.5 billion, which will have disastrous effects on the population’s food security, revenues and overall human security.
To take stock of the situation, the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC) will organise an information meeting on the desert locust outbreak in West Africa on 30 September 2004 from 15h00 to 18h00 at OECD Headquarters in Paris (Room 5, New Building, 19, rue de Franqueville, 75016 Paris). The meeting is open to the media. African politicians and policy makers and representatives from regional and international agencies and the OECD will share information on the outbreak, discuss action needed and consider the medium- and long-term challenges for West Africa. This meeting will compare the current situation with the last major desert locust outbreak (1987-1989) which was one of the worst in recent years and draw lessons from past experience.
The SWAC has prepared an Information Note entitled, “The desert locust outbreak in West Africa: the Sahel and West Africa Club supports calls by West African leaders and international agencies for urgent action”. Its aim is to alert OECD Member countries and the international community to high stakes for the region. It synthesises the available information on the subject and brings to light the need for immediate action on the ground. The Note raises questions on West Africa’s medium- and long-term development in view of the current locust outbreak.