Bureaucracy and Environmental Policy in the Sahel Region of Africa: Strategies for Arresting the March of Desertification

  • Haile K. Asmerom
Part of the Policy Studies Organization Series book series (PSOS)


This chapter is a study of the problems of desertification in the context of the Sahel region of West Africa. It begins with a concise overview of the Sahel region as a unique socioeconomic and cultural landscape in Africa. Attention is then given to desertification as a dimension of global environmental problems and as a specific policy area in the context of seven nations of the Sahel region of West Africa. This discussion is followed by a review of the various attempts made so far to define desertification and to delineate its causes and consequences. Then comes an analysis of the policies, strategies and institutions designed at international, regional and national levels for the purpose of controlling the spread of desertification. The conclusion of the essay underlines the fact that, despite all the impressive attempts, much more has still to be done, especially by national bureaucracies and village-level organizations if the spread of desertification is to be effectively contained without undermining the strategies for sustainable development.


Socioeconomic Development United Nations Environmental Program World Bank United Nations General Desertification Process 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. ADAMS, W.M. (1990) Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in the Third World (London and New York: Routledge).Google Scholar
  2. AHMAD J. YUSUF and MOHAMED KASSAS (1987), Desertification: Financial Support for the Biosphere, sponsored by the United Nations Environmental Program (London: Hodder & Stoughton).Google Scholar
  3. BAKER, RANDALL (1989) ‘Institutional Innovation, Development and Environmental Management: An “Administrative Trap” Revisited’, Parts I and II in Public Administration and Development, vol. 9, pp. 29–47 and 159-67, respectively.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. BEALE, JACK G. (1980) The Manager and the Environment, General Theory and Practice of Environmental Management (Oxford: Pergamon Press).Google Scholar
  5. BEER, H. and Z. RIZVI (eds) (1986) The Encroaching Desert: The Consequences of Human Failure, a report for the Independent Commission on International Humanitarian Issues (London and New Jersey: Zed Books Ltd).Google Scholar
  6. BERG, ELLIOT (1979) The Sahelian Economics — An Overview (University of Michigan: Center for Research in Economic Development).Google Scholar
  7. BRENNY, PATRICK JOSEPH (1987) ‘A Harvest of Dust: Development, Reforestation and the Role of Development Administration in the Gambia and Burkina Faso’, unpublished doctoral thesis, Free University, Amsterdam, Netherlands.Google Scholar
  8. DREGNE, H.E. (1984) ‘Combating Desertification: Evaluation of Progress’, in Environmental Conservation, vol. 11, pp. 115–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. DREGNE, H.E. (1985) ‘Aridity and Land Degradetion’, Environment, vol. 8, no. 27, pp. 16–33, quoted in Grainger, 1990, p. 8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. GALLOPIN, G.C. (1991) ‘Human Dimensions of Global Change: Linking the Global and the Local Processes’, International Social Science Journal, vol. 130, pp. 707–18.Google Scholar
  11. GRAINGER, ALAN (1990) The Threatening Desert: Controlling Desertification (London: ).Google Scholar
  12. HARRISON, PAUL (1992) The Third Revolution: Environment, Population and Sustainable Development (London and New York: LB. Tauris and Co. Ltd).Google Scholar
  13. HOROWITZ, DONALD L. (1989) ‘Is there a third-world policy process?’, in Policy Sciences, vol. 22, nos 3-4, pp. 1–9.Google Scholar
  14. INGRAM, HELEN M. and DEAN E. MANN (1983) ‘Environmental Protection Policy’, in Stuart S. Nagel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Policy Studies (New York and Basle: Marcel Dekker) pp. 687–725.Google Scholar
  15. JENKINS, CHARLES and BRANKO ZLATARIC (1991) ‘The Environmental Battle: Can Agriculture and Forestry Help?’, in The World Today, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 70–73.Google Scholar
  16. LATEEF, NOEL V. (1980) Crisis in the Sahel: A Case Study in Development Cooperation? Westview Special Studies in Social, Political and Economic Development (Boulder, Col.: Westview Press).Google Scholar
  17. MARTIMORE, MICHAEL (1987) ‘Shifting Sands and Human Sorrow: Social Response to Drought and Desertification’, in Desertification Control Bulletin, no. 14, pp. 1–14.Google Scholar
  18. NAGEL, STUART S. (1988) ‘Projecting Trends in Public Policy’, draft paper presented at the 1988 Washington IPSA World Congress.Google Scholar
  19. ODINGO, RICHARD S. (1990) ‘The Definition of Desertification: Its Pragmatic Consequences for UNEP and the International Community’, Desertification Bulletin, no. 18, pp. 31–50.Google Scholar
  20. OECD (1988) The Sahel Facing the Future: Increasing Dependence or Structural Transformation (Paris: OECD).Google Scholar
  21. RAPP, ANDERS (1987) ‘Reflections on Desertification 1977–1987: Problems and Prospects’, in Desertification Control Bulletin, no. 15, pp. 27–33.Google Scholar
  22. ROBINSON, PEARL T. (1980) ‘Sahelian Regional Development in a Changing World Order’, paper presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 15–18 October.Google Scholar
  23. ROCHETTE, R.M. (1985) Desertification Control Strategy in the Sahel (Regional Seminar on Desertification, 29 October to 4 November 1984) (Paris: OECD).Google Scholar
  24. SOMERVILLE, CAROLYN, M. (1986) Drought and Aid in the Sahel: A Decade of Development Cooperation, Westview Special Studies on Africa (Boulder, Col., London: Westview Press).Google Scholar
  25. TOULMIN, CAMILLA, IAN SCOONES and JOSHUA BISHOP (1992) ‘The Future of Africa’s Drylands: Is Local Resource Management the Answer?’, in Johan Holmberg (ed.), Policies for a Small Planet (London: Earthscan Publications, pp. 225–57.Google Scholar
  26. UNCOD (United Nations Conference on Desertification) (1977) Draft Plan of Action to Combat Desertification, Nairobi, 29 August-9 September, document A/CONF. 74/L. 36.Google Scholar
  27. WORLD BANK and IBRD (1987) Desertification in the Sahelian and Sudanian Zones of West Africa (prepared by Jean Eugene Gorse and David R. Steeds) (Washington, DC: World Bank).Google Scholar
  28. WORLD BANK (1988) Desertification Control and Renewable Resource Management in the Sahelian and Sudanian Zones of West Africa (edited by François Falloux and Aleki Mukendi), World Bank Technical Paper no. 70 (Washington, DC: World Bank).Google Scholar
  29. WORLD BANK (1992) World Development Report 1992: Development and the Environment (Oxford University Press).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Policy Studies Organization 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haile K. Asmerom
    • 1
  1. 1.Political Science DepartmentFree University of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations