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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Pastoralists tenure rights key to community resilience - Study

A new Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) guide has offered pointers to protect a sustainable mobile lifestyle with special land-use skills, reports NaijaAgroNet.

According to FAO, assuring adequate tenure rights to land is an important step in improving food security for millions of people in developing countries, but safeguarding tenure is not so straightforward when it comes to the way land is used by mobile pastoralist communities.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that over 500 million people on the planet rely on livestock herding, often steering their animals around various landscapes to reach water and pasture sources and avoid drought, animal disease and civil conflict.

In order to adequately address the inherently more complex needs of pastoralists, NaijaAgroNet reports that many of whom rely on covering vast territories in opportunistic ways, just as FAO, with the support of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Commission on Environmental Law and the Commission on Environment, Economic and Social Policy, has produced a technical yet accessible guide on how to establish viable tenure arrangements for the often-marginalized people who use around a third of the earth's surface.

The guide, NaijaAgroNet reports, posited that improving governance of pastoral lands is part of a series of publications offering insight on how to implement the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, a landmark initiative whose global endorsement in 2012 was begun and brokered by FAO.

The coordinator of IUCN's Drylands Programme and lead author of the Technical Guide, Mr. Jonathan Davies, noted that the world's pastoralists engage in a wide variety of practices and include a great number of cultures in such diverse settings as Mongolia, Niger, Spain, Kenya, Norway and the United States of America.

Pastoralists, he said, inhabit rangeland areas, many of which are arid or semi-arid, and they employ a highly adaptable livelihood strategy that is poorly understood by outsiders, stressing that their adaptability relies on access rights that often jar with classical notions of property rights.

"Pastoralism is a system of livestock production that takes advantage of both the diversity and the seasonality of natural resources in the rangelands. It is based on large-scale, carefully planned movements of livestock, which demands high levels of coordination between multiple users. This has led to the emergence of customs and institutions that enable decisions to be effectively made and enforced by local communities," he said.

Progress in ecological science and increasing pastoral voices in global fora have galvanized increasing attention to ways of life now seen as flexible and resilient rather than obsolete.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE
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