Theme 6: Pastoralism--Oral Sessions

Description

There is an element of irony around pastoralism and research in Eastern Africa. While it is one of the most researched production and livelihood systems, pastoralism is also the least understood by policymakers and development actors, with discussions about its importance characterized by significant gaps in knowledge. What is more, policy actors have difficulties accessing empirical data specific to pastoralism and rangelands in a form that allows well-founded decision-making on policy and action. Most available data tend to be out of date and not disaggregated with reference to pastoralism and rangelands. As a result, much of the discourse around pastoralism and rangelands is based on generalities and stereotypes that date back to the late 19th century, when colonialists first came into contact with pastoralists in Eastern Africa. These generalities and stereotypes are partly to blame for the persistence of inappropriate policy approaches to the development of pastoral areas in the region.

Empirical and up-to-date data are critical for making the case for targeted investment by governments and other development actors to support pastoralism and sustainable rangeland management in Eastern Africa, where rangelands constitute nearly 75% of the landscape and are home to up to 90% of the livestock population. Such data should demonstrate the contribution of pastoralism and rangelands to livelihoods, food and nutrition security, alleviation of poverty and adaptation to climate change.

This presentation identifies key priority areas for action and research to fill the knowledge gap on pastoralism and rangelands in Eastern Africa. It highlights interventions that should be prioritized to address the challenges that pastoralists face in governance, land and natural resource management and development planning, and to create an enabling environment for sustainable pastoralism and rangelands management and development.

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Priority Areas for Action and Research on Pastoralism and Rangelands in Eastern Africa

There is an element of irony around pastoralism and research in Eastern Africa. While it is one of the most researched production and livelihood systems, pastoralism is also the least understood by policymakers and development actors, with discussions about its importance characterized by significant gaps in knowledge. What is more, policy actors have difficulties accessing empirical data specific to pastoralism and rangelands in a form that allows well-founded decision-making on policy and action. Most available data tend to be out of date and not disaggregated with reference to pastoralism and rangelands. As a result, much of the discourse around pastoralism and rangelands is based on generalities and stereotypes that date back to the late 19th century, when colonialists first came into contact with pastoralists in Eastern Africa. These generalities and stereotypes are partly to blame for the persistence of inappropriate policy approaches to the development of pastoral areas in the region.

Empirical and up-to-date data are critical for making the case for targeted investment by governments and other development actors to support pastoralism and sustainable rangeland management in Eastern Africa, where rangelands constitute nearly 75% of the landscape and are home to up to 90% of the livestock population. Such data should demonstrate the contribution of pastoralism and rangelands to livelihoods, food and nutrition security, alleviation of poverty and adaptation to climate change.

This presentation identifies key priority areas for action and research to fill the knowledge gap on pastoralism and rangelands in Eastern Africa. It highlights interventions that should be prioritized to address the challenges that pastoralists face in governance, land and natural resource management and development planning, and to create an enabling environment for sustainable pastoralism and rangelands management and development.