In January 1993, representatives from 9 member states of the Permanent Inter-State Committee for the Struggle Against Desertification in the Sahel (CILSS) met to propose potential ecological observation sites for a subnetwork of a vast network covering member countries of the CILSS, the Arab Maghreb Union, and the Intergovernmental Authority Against Desertification for Development. The delegates identified 20 potential sites which represent principle agroecological, socioeconomic, and demographic zones of the Sahel. The identified sites included 8 protected areas, 5 with potential agrico-pastoral development activities, 4 with existing research and experimentation stations to collect scientific data over a long period, 2 with advancing sand, and 1 urban development zone. The ecoclimatic zones were Sahelian (45%), Saharan (30%), Sahelo-Sudanian (15%), and Sudanian (10%). This network will have to put in place an effective coordination mechanism involving all related organizations and to deliver a minimum resource base guaranteeing continuation of guiding activities. Taking in account demographic and socioeconomic aspects integrated with physical aspects will better allow formulation of solutions to identified problems. The blending of data collection and data analysis methods at the heart of the network will constitute an important gain allowing extrapolation of results and the proposition of interregional and international corrective measures. One should avoid duplications which waste these countries' rare resources by strengthening already existing regional and international coordination organizations.