Pastoralist Knowledge Hub

Together we go further

The Pastoralist Knowledge Hub presents its unique bottom-up approach on the sidelines of the Committee on Agriculture meeting

08/10/2018 -

Pastoralists are actively adapting to adverse climate, market and policy conditions, and are best placed to respond to the threats facing their livelihood and environment. Still the role of communities in identifying thier own needs, challenges and solutions is undermined. The Pastoralist Knowledge Hub, housed at the Animal Production and Health Division of the FAO, helps to build, develop capacity and improve the governance of pastoralist civil society networks so that they may better represent themselves, provide valuable input and advocate pro-pastoralist policies.

This approach of the Hub in working with pastoralist networks was presented on the sidelines of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG), on October 3, at the FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. Through regional meetings, community dialogues, and knowledge sharing workshops, the Hub has supported 8 regional and 1 global pastoralist civil society network. Establishing the networks, growing their membership, improving their governance, developing their technical capacity, and facilitating their participation in various forums, the Hub has been involved in these and other activities based on the needs of the network.

As a coordination mechanism, the Hub connects pastoralists to key stakeholders including intergovernmental organizations, civil society, research organizations, academia and public institutions, etc. Additionally, the Hub provides a platform for knowledge sharing and cross communication amongst pastoralists and other stakeholders across the world.

Sharing the stage with pastoralist experts and representatives, the event drew attention to the role played by the several networks in their regions. Nitya Ghotge, co-founder of Anthra, an organization working with pastoralists in India, drew our attention to the fact that India has 80 million pastoralists - which could be the population of a large European nation. It is only in the past decade that these populations are coming together to advocate for pastoralism. Organizing in a network has allowed them to have a stronger voice.

Greater interaction between pastoralists between the region leads to sharing of best-case practices. Pablo Manzano, technical advisor to the Eastern and Southern Pastoralist Network (ESAPN), spoke of how the network is now engaging with the Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) to develop a transhumance protocol following the example of their western African counterparts.

Pablo Frere, coordinator of Pastoramericas, the Latin American pastoralist network, emphasized the need of the regional networks to come together at the global level through the World Alliance for Mobile and Indigenous Peoples (WAMIP). The networks fulfill an institutional gap by providing civil society counterparts to regional and global policy making bodies. As representatives of WAMIP they have been able to secure a place in the Civil Society Mechanism of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), be part of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)’s Farmer’s Forum, and multistakeholder partnerships such as Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock and Livestock Environmental Assessment Performance (LEAP) – or a lot of places that we could never imagine.

Building civil society capacity is an innovative, bottom-up, and long-term approach to address pastoralists’ needs. It recognizes that pastoralist communities capacities to address their own needs, and, through a transparent, inclusive, and democratic process, ensures that they are able to do so independently.

By empowering pastoralist civil society we ensure not only that positive outcomes are achieved, but also that these results responds directly to pastoral needs and includes the pastoral voice in the planning and implementation process, whereby pastoralist empowerment is envisioned not only as the end, but also the means through which to arrive at these goals. As an African proverb says – if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.