Центр знаний о пастбищном животноводстве

FAO is committed to ensure the systematic consideration of rangelands and pastoralists in its programmes

16/11/2020 -

“Sustainable Livestock for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)” was at the core of the 27th session of FAO’s Committee on Agriculture (COAG), which was held virtually from the 28th of September to 2nd October 2020. The COAG is one of FAO’s governing bodies that convenes over 100 member nations and meets biennially to provide overall policy and regulatory guidance on issues relating to agriculture, livestock, food safety, nutrition, rural development and natural resource management. Importantly, one of the key agenda items on livestock discussed was FAO’s work on rangelands and pastoralism, and a proposal for an International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP).

The speculated number of people raising livestock globally in pastoral and agro-pastoral systems is likely to be greater than 200 million. They are located in approximately 75 percent of countries and their practices vary according to the diversity of ecosystems. Healthy pastoralist systems and rangelands have great potential to deliver on the SDGs, contributing to reducing poverty (SDG 1) and hunger (SDG 2), as well as ensuring life on land (SDG 15).

Yet, rangelands are facing unsustainable land-use change due to unbalanced and short-term options of land management, including cropland expansion. Breakdown of common tenure rights resulting in conflicts and disruption of mobility and access to natural resources. Sedentarization programmes, urbanization, extractive industries and wildfires are other threats to the productivity and ecological integrity of these lands and pastoralism.

FAO contributes to addressing some of these challenges by working on sustainable management of rangelands, governance, data and knowledge generation, and supporting pastoralists’ advocacy initiatives. However, to enable a long-term and coordinated approach sustaining the natural and cultural values of rangelands and securing the pastoral systems, it is important for FAO to mainstream rangelands and pastoralism to ensure their systematic consideration in technical and policy programmes for their sustainable management and development.

FAO’s work on rangelands and pastoralists was discussed on 1st October 2020 by the COAG. Importantly, the Committee acknowledged the key role of rangelands and pastoralism in contributing to national economies and supporting livelihoods and food security of millions of people, as well as ecosystem services they provide, particularly in arid and semi-arid lands and mountainous areas.  Recognizing the challenges faced by pastoralists and rangelands, the Committee requested FAO to mainstream its work to ensure their systematic consideration in its technical and policy programmes. ​

Moreover, the Committee endorsed the proposal initiated by the Government of Mongolia on the establishment of an IYRP in 2026. This proposal by the Mongolian government received overwhelming support globally from over 55 countries, including the EU and 153 organizations from civil society to local and international NGOs, research centres and international institutions. The proposal then received further support from FAO member nations during the discussion at COAG 27.

The IYRP is meant to  raise awareness on the perceived natural and cultural values of rangelands and pastoral livelihood systems. It would increase global understanding of their importance to global food security and environmental services, highlighting valuable traditional knowledge. Also, it would foster innovation towards sustainability and overcoming poverty of pastoralists and boost efforts for investment in pastoral systems and restoration of degraded rangelands. Being endorsed by COAG, the proposal will now be submitted for consideration by the FAO Council and, later, for adoption by the FAO Conference in June 2021.

With the SDGs promising to achieve universal benefits and leave no one behind, the emphasis on sustainability, equity and inclusion makes this acknowledgement by COAG a highly significant turning point for FAO’s work on pastoralists and rangelands. It will allow for a wider awareness about the importance of rangelands and pastoralists for nutrition, healthy ecosystems, income and employment generation and other relevant dimensions of sustainable development, thus leading to better policies and programmes at national, regional and global level.