Managing the boom and bust in the drylands

For decades, the Sahel has been presented as suffering from irreversible degradation, leading to desert advancement and the impoverishment of the population. This 32-page issue paper Managing the boom and bust: supporting climate-resilient livelihoods in the Sahel published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) in December 2013 presents an alternative profile and identifies the considerable potential of the Sahel’s dryland ecosystems. It explores the inherent resilience within existing crop and livestock production systems based on exploiting climatic variability, systems that local people in the Sahel have used to establish successful local and national economies. The principles and recommendations for policy and practice are equally applicable in the drylands of Eastern Africa, e.g.:

  • Explicitly recognise variability and unpredictability as inherent features of the environment
  • Strengthen existing production systems that respond to variability by supporting livestock mobility at scale
  • Build resilience by securing land rights, strengthening local governance through decentralisation, providing appropriate and accessible basic services, refocusing social-protection schemes and embracing market-based approaches for asset protection in times of crisis.

Posted on 9 February 2014 in Pastoralism & Climate Change, Pastoralism & Mobility, Pastoralism & Natural Resources, Pastoralism, Policy & Power, Pastoralist Livelihoods & Nutrition, Value of Pastoralism