Plenary and Keynote Sessions

Event Title

Capacity, Institutions and Innovations for Sustainable Development in Rangelands/Grasslands

Description

Rangelands occupy 54% of all land and are found on all continents. They are rich in biodiversity and simultaneously support the production of high-quality animal protein: 84% of the rangelands are used for livestock production. Rangelands provide incomes to millions of households, many of which derive income and other benefits from a combination of livestock and natural goods and services. Sustainable management of rangelands depends on understanding rangeland ecology, and specifically the interactions—positive and negative—between livestock herding and ecosystem, health.

Rangelands management fundamentally revolves around the management of herds to generate specific interactions between animals and vegetation, promoting the benefits and avoiding the risks associated with grazing. Degradation of rangelands is often attributable to changes in the way herders manage their livestock, and it can be driven, amongst other things, by changes in the availability of resources (e.g. due to changes in climate or in infrastructure), changes in the presence of threats (such as diseases or insecurity), and changes in decisions made by governing institutions (e.g. through emergence of new decision-making structures or weakening of customary institutions).

Development and modernisation in most countries has affected availability of rangeland resources (e.g. more water points, more markets and other amenities, new roads, and access to imported fodder) and has influenced the presence of threats (improved security, access to veterinary services (deworming), and pest control (tsetse)). As a result, mobility is less influenced by ‘environmental’ factors and this places new pressures on institutions to determine herd movements. In many rangelands this is taking place in parallel with weakening of those institutions, creating the need for innovations in the way institutions are enabled to govern rangeland management. Rangeland restoration and sustainable land management are therefore a challenge for institutional innovation above all.

The concept of ‘sustainable land management’ in a rangeland context should begin with institutions and behaviours rather than technologies and practices. This recognises that the integrity and sustainable use of land resources and water is inextricably linked to functional traditional, local and other institutions. Furthermore, sustainable rangelands management cannot be achieved without pastoralists securing their resource rights, and specifically their management rights. Development partners can support sustainable rangelands management by fostering partnership between the public sector and pastoral communities, building legitimacy and trust, strengthening representation, ensuring equitable governance changes, and building the most relevant capacities for institutional innovation.

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Capacity, Institutions and Innovations for Sustainable Development in Rangelands/Grasslands

Rangelands occupy 54% of all land and are found on all continents. They are rich in biodiversity and simultaneously support the production of high-quality animal protein: 84% of the rangelands are used for livestock production. Rangelands provide incomes to millions of households, many of which derive income and other benefits from a combination of livestock and natural goods and services. Sustainable management of rangelands depends on understanding rangeland ecology, and specifically the interactions—positive and negative—between livestock herding and ecosystem, health.

Rangelands management fundamentally revolves around the management of herds to generate specific interactions between animals and vegetation, promoting the benefits and avoiding the risks associated with grazing. Degradation of rangelands is often attributable to changes in the way herders manage their livestock, and it can be driven, amongst other things, by changes in the availability of resources (e.g. due to changes in climate or in infrastructure), changes in the presence of threats (such as diseases or insecurity), and changes in decisions made by governing institutions (e.g. through emergence of new decision-making structures or weakening of customary institutions).

Development and modernisation in most countries has affected availability of rangeland resources (e.g. more water points, more markets and other amenities, new roads, and access to imported fodder) and has influenced the presence of threats (improved security, access to veterinary services (deworming), and pest control (tsetse)). As a result, mobility is less influenced by ‘environmental’ factors and this places new pressures on institutions to determine herd movements. In many rangelands this is taking place in parallel with weakening of those institutions, creating the need for innovations in the way institutions are enabled to govern rangeland management. Rangeland restoration and sustainable land management are therefore a challenge for institutional innovation above all.

The concept of ‘sustainable land management’ in a rangeland context should begin with institutions and behaviours rather than technologies and practices. This recognises that the integrity and sustainable use of land resources and water is inextricably linked to functional traditional, local and other institutions. Furthermore, sustainable rangelands management cannot be achieved without pastoralists securing their resource rights, and specifically their management rights. Development partners can support sustainable rangelands management by fostering partnership between the public sector and pastoral communities, building legitimacy and trust, strengthening representation, ensuring equitable governance changes, and building the most relevant capacities for institutional innovation.

[NOTE: Full-text paper not available]