The Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) conducts research and distributes information on climate and weather patterns, water management, market systems and agricultural statistics, and implements early-warning systems for ecological events that affect farmers. Through these endeavors, CILSS aims to help vulnerable populations of the Sahel and West Africa (WA) to better predict, adapt to and recover from their changing environment. It coordinates AGIR (the EU’s Global Alliance for Resilience Initiative) in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (French acronym: UEMOA).
USAID’s support to CILSS has increased its capacity enormously, transforming CILSS into the leading technical arm of principal regional institutions, ECOWAS and UEMOA. This support has helped CILSS to:
• Created a cadre harmonisé that determines five stages of vulnerability. It uses 12 different indicators for the analysis: availability of food, accessibility of food, malnutrition, water supply, etc.
• Created GRHYMET, a regional system for collecting and disseminating information on agriculture, hydrology and meteorology, and for training staff from member states on these areas.
• Regularly disseminates information to farmers by radio, using weather and climate information systems to advise farmers on how to best time their planting and whether or not to use short-season varieties of seeds in order to maximize production.
• Improved early warning systems for farmers so they can better prepare for, deal with, and recover from ecological crises like drought or flood.
• Initiated of a data collection system for regional trade.