Reducing vulnerability: pastoralism & climate change

This report from the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) is one of six reports prepared for the ECHO-funded project on ‘Reducing the vulnerability of pastoral communities through policy and practice change in the Horn and East Africa’. The project aimed to raise awareness among planners and policymakers about the full potential of pastoral systems to contribute significantly to the economies of the region. Each report presents evidence-based research findings to overcome misconceptions and misunderstandings about pastoral livelihoods, and highlights appropriate policy recommendations to favour pastoralist systems. The reports present evidence to help inform thinking so that policymakers can keep abreast of new opportunities and threats in the rangelands. The term ‘pastoralism’ is used to describe societies that derive some, but not necessarily all, of their food and income from livestock. For decades, many governments regarded pastoralism as ‘backward’, economically inefficient and environmentally destructive, and made policies that marginalised and undermined pastoralist systems. More recently, a wider understanding has developed that pastoralism
 is a viable and economically effective livestock production system. However, the policies needed to reverse its historical marginalisation and address the chronic levels of poverty and vulnerability faced by many pastoralist communities have yet to be put in place. The paper defines pastoralists in both the economic sense (those who earn part of their living from livestock) and the cultural sense, in which livestock do not form the main source of income, yet people remain culturally connected to a pastoralist lifestyle. The evidence presented in these reports suggests that herding livestock over rangelands will remain part of a vital and dynamic production system for many – but not all – who live in the arid and semi-arid lands of the Horn and East Africa. Appropriate policies are required that support both the economic potential of pastoralism and pastoralist lifestyles that depend on alternative livelihoods.

For the full document, click here: Pastoralism and Climate Change (2409)

Posted on 21 September 2010 in Pastoralism & Climate Change, Pastoralism & Natural Resources, Pastoralism, Policy & Power