Ouagadougou- Burkina Faso (PANA) -- The current chairman of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), Amadou Toumani Touré of Mali, on Wednesday appealed for the creation of high authorities on agriculture and water to promote sustainable and harmonious development in subregional zone.
Touré deplored that CEN-SAD member countries endowed with plenty of surface and underground water as well as rainy river basins were still dependent on the vagaries of weather and prone to natural disasters.
In a report covering his leadership of CEN-SAD, Touré said that the objective of the high authority on agriculture would be to promote co-operation between member states in the vital sectors of agriculture, water, livestock, fish cultivation, inland fishing and forestry.
He said the role of the high authority on water would be to conceive community policies for the development and rational management of water resources.
Toure emphasised the need for both authorities to be created as soon as possible.
Amadou Toumani Toure told the summit that Malian experts have already drawn and submitted to the secretariat in Sirte, Libya, a draft agreement for the exploitation of 100,000 hectares of land offered by Bamako to the CEN-SAD.
"In accordance with the commitment made during the 2004 summit in Bamako, the Malian government will make all efforts to enable CEN-SAD agricultural investors gain access to the allocated land," he said.
President Touré commended the willingness of the community's brotherly countries, namely Libya, Morocco and Tunisia, to assist Sahelian countries during the 2004 locust invasion, which has created famine in the sub-region.
He also called for the urgent adoption of the draft agreement on co-operation in road transportation and transit between member states.
He suggested the creation of a hydrocarbon solidarity management mechanism between oil producing and exporting countries, and urged the summit to appoint members of the CEN-SAD economic and social council to promote the visibility of joint activities.
Meanwhile, the Malian president welcomed the progress made towards finding a solution to the Ivorian crisis since the signing of the Pretoria agreement on 6 April, and called for the creation of a conflict prevention and management mechanism within CEN-SAD.
He also commended the positive developments in the Central African Republic, Sudan and Somalia and called for a rapid solution to the crisis in Togo.
On other note, Toure urged member states with arrears of contributions to the CEN-SAD budget to urgently settle them to enable the secretariat meet its financial obligations.
A total of 15 heads of state as well as the current African Union chairman and a representative of the British Prime Minister attended the opening session of the 7th CEN-SAD summit.