Missing the point in the Horn: Pastoralism is the answer, not the question
IUCN news story, 30 August 2011

GLAND, SWITZERLAND: In the current food crisis context in the Horn of Africa, media and economic experts are accusing pastoralism of being an ineffective livelihood that is periodically subjected to similar crises. But all evidence points to mobile pastoralism as being part of the solution – not part of the problem – to a crisis that was predictable and predicted. Investments in drylands by government and international aid have to be reoriented, taking into account local ecological conditions as well as local capacities. A more sustainable solution to the famine cycle and food crisis in the Horn of Africa would be to support and strengthen existing livelihood strategies, not to replace them with new ones. Pastoralists have successfully used mobility for millennia and, if allowed, they move to their optimal environment at any given time. This is what makes pastoralism so much more effective than the alternatives for land use in drylands that have been tried in the past. Mobility is a critical tool for climate change adaptation, where rainfall is forecasted to become even more unpredictable. Many consultations have been carried out with pastoralists, and there is strong consensus on the types of investments that will strengthen their resilience in the long-term. In addition, pastoralist land rights need to be secured, with support to adapt their traditional institutions to modern legal frameworks. Traditional management and institutions guarantee a sustainable way of natural resources management and take advantage of the resilience of pastoralism as a livelihood. Read the article …