Securing pastoralism in East and West Africa

Material Information

Securing pastoralism in East and West Africa protecting and promoting livestock mobility
International Institute for Environment and Development ( Author, Primary )
Hesse, Ced ( Author, Secondary )
SOS Sahel International UK ( contributor )
Cavanna, Sue ( Author, Secondary )
Place of Publication:
International Institute for Environment and Development. Drylands Programme
SOS Sahel International UK. Shared Management of common Property Resources
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Afrique -- Soudan -- Mer Rouge
أفريقيا -- السودان -- البحر الأحمر
Ranchers ( LCSH )
Herders ( LCSH )
Ranching ( LCSH )
Livestock ( LCSH )
Spatial Coverage:
Africa -- Sahel
16.024646 x 13.321854


General Note:
This title was published jointly by IIED and SOS Sahel International UK
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : SOS Sahel (Organization : London, England) : URI
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : International Institute for Environment and Development : URI
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Hesse, Ced : URI

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS University of London
Holding Location:
Special Collections
Rights Management:
This item is licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial License. This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon this work non-commercially, as long as they credit the author and license their new creations under the identical terms


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Full Text
© Sue Cavanna

Securing Pastoralism in East and West Africa:
Protecting and Promoting Livestock Mobility


Livestock mobility allows millions of pastoralists and agro-
pastoralists to lead productive lives in areas few other producers can
exploit. It is critical for local livelihoods, for trade, and for coping
with climate change. In several parts of Africa there are important
efforts underway to facilitate livestock mobility and to remove the
obstacles that constrain the inherent flexibility of pastoral systems.

‘This one-year project will draw together the lessons from these
initiatives in order to increase understanding about the importance
of livestock mobility in drylands. In so doing it will lay the
foundations for a longer-term programme of work to enhance
livestock mobility in East and West Africa and thus promote the
sustainability of pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods.

The benefits of livestock mobility

It makes possible the sustainable use of dryland ecosystems. In
areas where the quantity and quality of rainfall, pasture and water
resources vary considerably from one season to the next, mobility is
essential for animals to access fodder and water where they exist.

It enhances complementarity between pastoral and agricultural
systems. Pastoralists and farmers in the Sahel have traditionally
benefited from reciprocal arrangements: transhumant herds manure
farmers’ fields; farmers’ livestock are raised in neighbouring pastoral
areas; pastoral herds are often the main source of traction animals.
Carefully negotiated livestock movements make these connections


It facilitates the domestic, regional and international trade in
livestock, thus supporting local livelihoods and contributing to
national economic growth. Well-established regional markets link

Pastoralists from South Kordofan, Sudan, arriving in neighbouring North Kordofan
for wet-season grazing.

the Sahelian and coastal zones of West Africa, and connect the
countries of the Horn/East Africa with the Gulf States. Demand for
livestock and livestock products is likely to grow significantly over
the coming decades as urban populations rise.

It is an essential part of how pastoralists protect their herds.
Pastoralists move their animals to protect them from the impact
of drought, disease, or conflict. Most climate models suggest that
rainfall will become increasingly erratic and unpredictable over the
coming decades. In such a scenario herd mobility will be critical

in enabling pastoralists to adapt to climate change. It may also

give them an important comparative advantage over other, more
sedentary groups.

The challenges

Historically, governments in Africa have regarded pastoralism
—and livestock mobility in particular — as backward, uneconomic
and destructive. The trend has been to favour settlement and

try to turn nomadic pastoralists into ‘modern’ livestock keepers.
Government policies have failed to protect key pastoral resources,
such as wetlands, dry season reserves and livestock corridors, from
encroachment by farmers, investors and national parks.

Cross-border transhumance routes in the Sahel and West Africa. Source:
Livestock in the Sahel and West Africa, Policy Note Number 3, SWAC/OECD

In recent years some governments have shown greater awareness of
the importance of livestock mobility for dryland ecosystems. New
legislation in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Mauritania sets out
pastoralists’ rights to move their animals within and across national
borders. However, government officials’ limited understanding

of pastoral systems means that this legislation is likely to be
implemented in an unduly technocratic and centralised way, thus
in practice continuing to curtail mobility. Moreover, while the
various regional integration processes across Africa permit the free
movement of people and goods, pastoralists still face many practical
difficulties when moving their animals across borders.

In several parts of Africa there are innovative local initiatives to
facilitate and protect livestock mobility. Traditional transhumance
routes and livestock corridors are being re-negotiated and defined;
researchers are studying the costs and benefits of transhumance; and
mechanisms are being established to manage livestock routes and
deal with conflict between different user groups. But very little of
this experience has yet been documented or shared in ways that can
inform future policy and practice.

The programme

This one-year project, funded by the Howard G, Buffett Foundation
and commencing in December 2007, is being implemented by

MED and SOS Sahel UK. It involves a range of activities which

will provide the foundation for a longer-term programme of work
to enhance livestock mobility in East and West Africa and thus
promote the sustainability of pastoral and agro-pastoral livelihoods.

During this first year we will do the following:

1. Identify who is working on which aspects of livestock
mobility in both West and East Africa, and summarise the
key lessons of good practice from this experience.

2. Analyse existing and emerging trends with respect to
livestock mobility in selected countries, in a general context
of climate change, growing demand for livestock products,
the promotion of modernisation agendas as a pathway out
of poverty, and increasing external interest in pastoral areas
(driven by oil, counter-terrorism, or tourism).

3. Review the policy and legislative environment at different
levels (continental, regional, and national) and synthesise
the main institutional provisions in support of or against
livestock mobility.

4, Design, test and evaluate a methodology that enables
pastoral groups to articulate their views on the future role
and significance of mobility within their livelihood system.

5. Build consensus among a small group of strategically placed
organisations and individuals on how best collectively to
address the challenges in securing livestock mobility and to
take this work further.

In this first year the focus will be on a core group of eight countries,
including Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somaliland.
‘These present a representative geographical spread across the broad
Sahelian belt, illustrate a range of contexts where livestock mobility
is important, and are countries where there is valuable policy and
civil society experience on which to draw.

For more information,
lease contact: 8
P lied

Ced Hesse v

MED Drylands Programme International
+ 44 (0) 131 624 7043 Institute for Environment and NR/drylands Development

If livestock mobility is to be enhanced in the long term, we
believe that the following core issues will need attention:

+ Greater political will: more informed and positive attitudes
towards pastoralism, and specifically a greater understanding
of its economic benefits.

e Stronger pastoral civil society organisations which can
articulate and defend their members’ interests, and engage
with government in the design and implementation of

policies that support livestock mobility.

+ Amore efficient legal and administrative system that
facilitates a peaceful but dynamic system of mobile
pastoralism, based on principles of negotiation and
reciprocity with other groups.

+ Resiliant livelihoods and better market integration to ensure
pastoral communities can respond to climate change and
meet the rising regional demands for livestock and livestock


+ Greater consensus about the importance of livestock
mobility and the most appropriate strategies to secure it,
developed through active learning networks that involve
policy-makers, civil society organisations and pastoralists

© Marie Monimart

© Crispin Hughes

Oropoi, Turkana: women taking livestock up the escarpment on the Kenya/
Uganda border in the early morning for grazing and water.

Sue Cavanna
SOS Sahel UK

+44 (0)1865 403305 SOS SAHEL AC? inreRnarionat UK =

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