On the occasion of the 33rd anniversary of the formation of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel CIILS the chairman of the organization President Marc Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso has issued a special message to CILLS members on the importance of preserving the forest.
The full speech is published bellow:
Dear fellow citizens of member states of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS).
On the occasion of the celebration today September 12, 2018 of CILSS 33rd day, I have a great honor to deliver this message to you on behalf of my fellow heads of member state and in my capacity as current chairman of our common organization.
The theme for this day is the “importance of non-wood forest products in enhancing vulnerable household food and nutrition security and livelihood in the Sahel and West Africa”. This theme has been chosen out of the clear desire to promote natural resources of our land and to boost production, processing and marketing at regional level. Non-wood forest products have always played a key role in diet and eating habits of people in the Sahel and West Africa. In terms of food and nutrition their availability in our countries generally correspond to worrying lean season when food stocks are at the lowest level and water resources are scarce.
Fellow citizens of CILSS member states, the value chain of non=wood forest products with high nutritional value from species including Baobab tree, Tamarine tree, Shea tree and many others requires special attention from our countries and producers. They are interesting value chains, sources of income and job opportunities.
Eighty percent of collection and processing segments are occupied by women. Although non- wood forest products are available and important sources of protein, fiber and vitamin, enriched in trace elements they are little valued in our various food systems. In fact, their use is severely hampered by many socioeconomic and cultural obstacles.
Fellow citizens of CILSS member states, by choosing this theme to commemorate the 33rd day of our common institution, CILSS has sought to address one of our longstanding concern, that is building resilience in Sahelian and West African population facing the recurrent food and nutritional crises. I therefore would like to draw everyone’s attention to the need to ensure protection of our ecosystems the main source of non-wood forest products. This will require implementing robust nature conservation policies. This is also one way for us to fulfill our international commitment with regard to multilateral, environmental agreements including international conventions on climate change, biodiversity and combating desertification.
Fellow citizens of CILSS member states, let me take this opportunity to thank and invite technical and financial partners of CILSS, intergovernmental organizations particularly ECOWAS and UOAMA Commissions, national parliaments, organizations of civil society actors including Nongovernmental organizations and the media to continue providing support to CILSS and its member states in this new momentum. I wish CILSS every success in addressing challenges in coming years particularly through the ongoing process of organizational and institutional reforms to confirm its regional leadership in its area of expertise.