For use of the information media - Not an official record
Geneva, 20 December 2002 - Today the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Italian Government signed an agreement at WMO Headquarters aimed at assisting the least developed countries of the Sahel to reduce their vulnerability to drought.
Under the agreement, the Italian Government will contribute some 2.7 million euros to a project aimed at establishing new operational early warning methodologies and analysing the vulnerability of Member countries of the Permanent Inter-State Committee on Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS).
CILSS was established in 1973 to deal with a drought that had begun in 1969 in the Sudano-Sahelian region of West Africa and had taken on catastrophic proportions in 1972 and 1973.
The CILSS Member countries are Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.
The project, entitled "Vulnerability Assessment in Sahel", will be implemented over three years under the responsibility of WMO, in cooperation with the Regional Centre for Training and Application in Agrometeorology and Operational Hydrology, Niamey (AGRHYMET) and the competent national institutions.
The Italian Government, by providing this funding, is strengthening its already substantial support for the CILSS countries. In the past decade, they have benefited from several technical assistance projects, in particular for the strengthening of meteorological and climate observing networks, regional telecommunications systems and the organization of specialized training programmes in data processing and agrometeorological applications. The Italian contribution has made it possible to implement and use early warning and crop forecasting systems.
For more information please contact:
Ms Carine Richard-Van Maele
Chief, Information and Public Affairs
World Meteorological Organization
7 bis, avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Genève 2
Tel: (41 22) 730 83 14/5
Fax: (41 22) 730 80 27