Pastoralism & conflict: perspectives from Eastern Africa

On 22 September 2014, CELEP and the External Cooperation Infopoint of the European Commission co-organised a lunch conference on pastoralism and conflict. Pastoralism is at the crossroads of many global issues such as land tenure, climate change, and food and nutritional security. Examples of challenges and success stories in managing emerging conflicts related to these issues in pastoral regions reveal new approaches to pastoralist development. During the conference, the Brussels development community (about 70 participants) was informed on specific situations regarding pastoralism and conflict from Eastern African perspectives regarding land tenure, gender and policy. Conflicts in pastoral areas are mainly caused by cattle raiding, economic and social insecurity, and non-appropriate land policies, institutions and investments. The conflicts are exacerbated by climate change and demographic growth.

During the conference, CELEP partners from civil-society organisations in Eastern Africa – Peter Ken Otieno from RECONCILE, Shoba Liban from Pastoralist Women Health and Education, and Edward Louré from the Ujamaa Community Resource Team – presented examples of success in managing such conflicts in the drylands, and gave ideas on specific measures that can be taken to reduce conflict. Daoud Abkula from the Resource Advocacy Programme also showed a short video about community-based climate-change adaptation.

See the presentations:

The most important recommendations were:

  1. to increase the number of community-based conflict-resolution programmes in pastoralist areas because communities need to decide themselves on their priorities. In conflict resolution, it is crucial to reinforce local civil-society organisations to be able to express themselves and influence local land-governing policies and to address land-use issues involving pastoralists, crop farmers, wildlife conservationists and miners. This would also help to secure women’s land rights and to recognise communal land ownership more explicitly;
  2. to carry out more research on private investments in the region to see, for example, to what extent local communities are involved in the process and what the environmental consequences of large-scale investments are. This is also related to local land management;
  3. to engage actively in implementing the African Union Policy Framework for Pastoralism in Africa, specifically the parts concerning security in the drylands such as setting up police posts in remote centres in pastoral areas and specific measures to advocate against the proliferation of small arms.

In the subsequent brief discussion with the public, these recommendations were well received.

Posted on 15 October 2014 in CELEP Documents, News, Pastoralism & Peacebuilding