This week’s earlier posts have focused fairly extensively on the recent “Endorois communication”, by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, in a case that involved the land rights of of pastoral indigenous group in central Kenya. Among other sources, the decision relies on the findings of the African Commission’s Working Group on Indigenous Communities/Populations. This body drafted a report that was adopted by the Commission in 2003 as its official policy on indigenous peoples’ rights in Africa. One interesting detail in the report (also cited in para. 150 of the Endorois case) is its identification of pastoralism as one of the specific characteristics of African indigenous groups.
… those groups of peoples or communities throughout Africa who are identifying themselves as indigenous
peoples or communities and who are linking up with the global indigenous rights movement are first and foremost (but not exclusively) different groups of hunter-gatherers or former hunter-gatherers and certain groups of pastoralists. (page 89)
There has been a good deal of attention to pastoralism in Africa recently, including the OCHA-led Pastoral Voices project which released a report yesterday focusing on mobility in the Horn of Africa in light of drought conditions and security issues:
An on-going collaboration between UN-OCHA, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is taking this concern forward through the Security in Mobility project. The inter-agency project promotes pastoralists’ internal and cross-border mobility needs as a climate change adaptation. And it also advocates for regional cross-border security needs to be reconciled with pastoralists livelihood needs.
Meanwhile, at a more global level, the FAO yesterday released its State of Food and Agriculture report, which focuses on the need for greater investment, research and governance “to ensure that the world’s livestock sector responds to a growing demand for animal products and at the same time contributes to poverty reduction, food security, environmental sustainability and human health”. Here, again, land issues and climate change adaption measures figure in strongly:
There is a need to enhance the efficiency of natural-resource use in the sector and to reduce the environmental footprint of livestock production, the report says. The goal is to ensure that continued growth in livestock production does not create undue pressure on ecosystems, biodiversity, land and forest resources and water quality and does not contribute to global warming.
Not to be left out, the pastoralists of the world themselves appear to be uniting and have started not one but (at least) two websites, namely those of the League for Pastoral Peoples and the Pastoralist Communication Initiative.