06 May 2022

Preserving arid and semi-arid lands ecosystems through the IGAD Protocol on Transhumance

  • Date
    19 May 2022, 13:00pm
  • Location
    MET-12, Sofitel, Abidjan
  • Organizer

    The IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) and IGAD Member States Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Pastoralism in the Horn of Africa, in particular the countries within the IGAD region, is one of the traditional livelihoods that dominates the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) in the IGAD region and is a successful contributor to the production sector as well as one of the most resilient livelihoods to climate change despite being natural resources dependent. In fact, given precipitation trends associated with climate change, pastoralism may become even more crucial to realizing regional food security, sustainable livelihoods and economic development in the 21st Century. Unfortunately, anthropogenic climate change, along with many other stressors, puts pressure on the millions of people who depend on this livelihood, either directly or indirectly. 

Importantly, pastoralism has, for centuries, contributed to maintaining the ASAL ecosystems through its transhumance movements. But pastoralism is under serious threat due to climate change and factors related to population growth and increased competition for natural resources. IOM and IGAD undertook a study of the context of pastoralism in the region to understand how best to protect pastoralism and preserve the mutually beneficial relationship between pastoralists and their environment. The findings of our study tell us that pastoralists are uniquely positioned to adapt to the hazards presented by climate change in the IGAD region and given current climate change projections, pastoralism will remain crucial to realising regional food security, sustainable livelihoods and economic development. However, their ability to adapt to the new and increasingly intense conditions is dependent on sustaining and strengthening their adaptive capacity through, for example, the freedom to exercise herd mobility. Pastoralism is known to be an efficient yet sustainable method of food production in many ecological settings compared to commercial meat production systems. Additionally, pastoralists and their herds provide environmental services such as transportation and dispersal of seeds and nutrients via livestock manure, control of shrub growth and bush encroachment, and trampling of the soil to stimulate grass growth and root development (FAO 2021).

Recognising the importance of pastoralism to both the sustainable environmental protection as well as the sustainable economic development the region, IGAD embarked on the development of a Protocol on Transhumance, was adopted by the Council of Ministers of its 7 Member States on the 24th June 2021. 

The physical side event, held on the margins of the UNCCD’s 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15), has the overall objective to explain how the Protocol on Transhumance contributes to maintaining the ecosystem and reducing deforestation in the ASAL countries. The side event will be hosted by the IGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development (ICPALD) with moderation and inputs from IOM’s Regional Office for the East and Horn of Africa. 

This event will be held physically at the UNCCD COP 15 on 19 May 2022 at the Sofitel in Abidjan. The time and place are subject to change. It is recommended to check this information on the website https://www.unccd.int/cop15/special_and_side_events