Climate change and pastoralists

The drylands have always known large climatic fluctuations, and pastoralists have developed resilient livelihood systems to cope with them. However, global climate change is raising new challenges for pastoral systems in Africa. Action at local, national and international levels is needed to prevent destitution and to help pastoral groups respond to the changing environment. This 2-page IIED Sustainable Development Opinion Paper Climate change and pastoralists: investing in people to respond to adversity (2006) by Ced Hesse and Lorenzo Cotula examines the impact of climate change on pastoralists, especially in eastern africa, and points to key areas where policy should intervene. The key messages are:

  • Rising temperatures, decreasing rainfall, and longer and more frequent droughts increase pressure on pastoral resources, leading to increased destitution among pastoralists
  • Tackling these challenges requires enabling herd mobility while securing rights to natural resources; supporting pastoral livelihoods and their diversification; strengthening conflict management institutions and drought mitigation systems; and strengthening pastoralists’  capacity to take part in policy debates
  • As most pastoralists live in some of the poorest countries, efforts by national governments must be supported by richer countries, which bear the main responsibility for climate change.

Posted on 8 July 2012 in Pastoralism & Climate Change