CELEP photo exhibition in European Parliament
On 10 October, immediately after the 2016 annual meeting of the Coalition of European Lobbies for Eastern African Pastoralism (CELEP) in London, CELEP members and partners opened a photo exhibition on pastoralism in Eastern Africa in the European Parliament in Brussels. The aim of the exhibition was to raise awareness on the importance of pastoralism to fight poverty and food insecurity and to deal with climate change. The exhibition – which had previously been shown during the 2015 Tropentag conference in Berlin – comprises 15 photographs depicting different aspects of pastoralism. The photos, which had been sent in by CELEP European members and Eastern African (EA) partners, were displayed in the European Parliament for six days (10–15 October).
On the opening night of the exhibition, the two members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who had travelled with CELEP to Uganda in October 2015 – Maria Heubuch and Norbert Neuser – took the floor, along with CELEP EA partner Benjamin Mutambukah from the Coalition of Pastoralist Civil-Society Organisations (COPACSO) in Uganda. In her speech, Ms Heubuch stressed the challenges of access to land and pastoralist land rights as among her priority issues during the current legislature. She linked the issue of land grabbing in Africa to the grabbing of farmland in Europe. Finally, she thanked CELEP for organising the mission to Uganda. Mr Neuser then took the floor and emphasised the important economic value of pastoralism and its contribution to food security by producing milk and meat in a sustainable manner. He praised pastoralists for their knowledge of the environment and the local ecosystems. He stressed the need to solve land issues between mobile pastoralists and settled farmers. He concluded by stating that pastoralists should to be able to advocate for their own interests and to have policies adapted to their needs. Mr Mutambukah then thanked the MEPs for their engagement in raising awareness on pastoralism in Eastern Africa, and showed a video of the MEPs’ mission to Karamoja. The video screening was followed by drinks to celebrate pastoralism and a small networking dinner involving the two MEPs, the CELEP partners and the CELEP Focal Point.