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The Permanent Inter-state Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) was set up on September 12, 1973 following the major droughts that hit the Sahel area in the 70s. The CILSS organisation gathers thirteen Member States including: 8 coastal countries ( Benin, Côte d’Ivoire,Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Senegal and Togo), 4 landlocked countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Chad) and 1 Island State (Cape Verde).

CILSS is structured, in organisational terms, around three (03) entities that are established in their respective sites, i.e., the CILSS Executive Secretariat, based in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso); the Sahel Institute, in Bamako (Mali); and the AGRHYMET Regional Centre in Niamey (Niger).

The Executive Secretariat houses a Documentation Centre, which was opened in 1976. It provides the public with tools for scientific information research in the fields of desertification and drought control, natural resources management, food security and water control. The mission of this Centre is to collect, process and organise a wide range of documents touching on the various theme areas of the CILSS mandate. The other mission of the Documentation Centre is to disseminate research findings, studies, publications and any other documents on the Sahel in general and the CILSS organisation in particular.

The information holdings of the centre is estimated at approximately 7 000 information units. More than 6000 references can be found in the documentary database and generally consist of monographs, theses and dissertations, reports and studies, reports of meetings and workshops, CILSS and the Club du Sahel publications.
The Documentation Centre’s site also harbours more than 4000 scientific and technical publications.
Most holdings have been digitized and are accessible on the database.