Theme 6: Pastoralism--Oral Sessions

Description

Livestock herding contributes 10-45% of national GDPs across the Central Asia and Mongolia (CAM) region while supporting the livelihood of nearly one-third of the region’s population. Over 171 million herds graze the region's rangelands, occupying 65-73% of the territories in Central Asia (CA) and Mongolia. Traditional pastoralism has been affected dramatically by climate change. For the last decades, the annual mean air temperature has risen two to three times higher than the global average in CA and Mongolia respectively. Annual precipitation has a decreasing trend over the same period, causing increased aridity, a decline in lakes and rivers leading to a reduction in plant species and biomass production, an increase of barren areas. Extreme climatic events such as wildfire and drought—as well as a winter weather disaster called dzud—have increased in frequency and severity, causing livestock mortality and diminishing pastoral livelihoods. These trends have been observed across the region, where pastoral livestock husbandry remains an important economic sector while preserving the nomadic identity. However, most herders are insufficiently protected from climate-induced disasters left highly vulnerable to risks and external shocks.

Hence, pastoral herders' key adaptation strategies, including improving rangeland management by joining formal herder organizations, introducing more productive livestock breeds, improving livestock productivity, increasing essentials facilities, winter shelters, forage production, and well construction, require multi-level partnership and multi-stakeholder support. Only by addressing the existing gaps in knowledge and science, the Governments of Mongolia and CA countries will help tackle adaptation challenges faced by herders, including rangeland degradation caused not only by a warming climate but also by the failures in pastoral governance. The CAM states see the great opportunity for global partnership and actions by designating the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralism (IYRP) to sustain pastoral heritage across the region for generations.

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Rangelands and Pastoralism in Central Asia and Mongolia: Challenges and Perspectives

Livestock herding contributes 10-45% of national GDPs across the Central Asia and Mongolia (CAM) region while supporting the livelihood of nearly one-third of the region’s population. Over 171 million herds graze the region's rangelands, occupying 65-73% of the territories in Central Asia (CA) and Mongolia. Traditional pastoralism has been affected dramatically by climate change. For the last decades, the annual mean air temperature has risen two to three times higher than the global average in CA and Mongolia respectively. Annual precipitation has a decreasing trend over the same period, causing increased aridity, a decline in lakes and rivers leading to a reduction in plant species and biomass production, an increase of barren areas. Extreme climatic events such as wildfire and drought—as well as a winter weather disaster called dzud—have increased in frequency and severity, causing livestock mortality and diminishing pastoral livelihoods. These trends have been observed across the region, where pastoral livestock husbandry remains an important economic sector while preserving the nomadic identity. However, most herders are insufficiently protected from climate-induced disasters left highly vulnerable to risks and external shocks.

Hence, pastoral herders' key adaptation strategies, including improving rangeland management by joining formal herder organizations, introducing more productive livestock breeds, improving livestock productivity, increasing essentials facilities, winter shelters, forage production, and well construction, require multi-level partnership and multi-stakeholder support. Only by addressing the existing gaps in knowledge and science, the Governments of Mongolia and CA countries will help tackle adaptation challenges faced by herders, including rangeland degradation caused not only by a warming climate but also by the failures in pastoral governance. The CAM states see the great opportunity for global partnership and actions by designating the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralism (IYRP) to sustain pastoral heritage across the region for generations.