Last Updated: Friday, 19 December 2014, 13:25 GMT

Pastoralists have their own solutions

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 21 September 2011
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Pastoralists have their own solutions, 21 September 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4e7c59e52.html [accessed 22 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Pastoralists' mechanisms for managing their resources and determining access rights among different communities in the Kenya-Ethiopia borderlands should be given much more attention at the national policy level if the viability of pastoralism is to be strengthened, states a new report.

"The rangelands are not open tracts of idle land, over which pastoralists and their livestock move randomly to use water and grazing land," states a Humanitarian Policy Group September Working Paper, Rules of the range: natural resources management in Kenya–Ethiopia border areas.

"Rather, the existence and enforcement of customary rules and norms of reciprocity around natural resources management have historically played a key role in controlling and regulating both land use and social relations between ethnic groups."

But traditional herd movement is being threatened by activities such as the expropriation of rangeland for irrigation farming, fragmentation by settlements and conflict.

Mobility has often been blamed for fuelling conflict but mobility is the cure, not the problem, says the study, arguing that "conflict, food insecurity and land degradation are mainly the results of policies designed to restrict mobility". It recommends the recognition of the cross-border nature of pastoralism and the involvement of customary land institutions in rangeland management.

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