Herding on the brink: towards a global survey of pastoral communities and conflict

Herding on the brink: towards a global survey of pastoral communities and conflict

Risks and responses to conflict in pastoral communities

Examining the linkages between pastoralism and conflict using a sustainable livelihoods-based conflict analysis, this paper looks at the challenges posed by conflict in pastoral regions. In particular it focuses on the challenges to development as well as the risk conflict presents to domestic and international security.

A new generation of emerging pastoral projects share many common characteristics. They:

  • acknowledge pastoralists as capable environmental custodians and managers
  • allow for patterns of mobility and livelihood diversification
  • include the systematic participation of pastoral communities
  • enhance access to and options for extended information and communication
  • improve representation of pastoral interests vis-à-vis external agents (other land users, government bodies, market agents, civil society, etc.)
  • stress the development of pastoral markets.

The reduction of conflict should be a high priority for international development in pastoral regions. The failure to tackle the root causes of pastoral violence is constraining development across much of the global south. Key to mitigating these conflicts is to recognise that pastoral livelihoods are a fundamental element of rural economies, and to find ways to integrate them into the formal economy while strengthening the capacity of these communities to adapt to changing environmental and social conditions.

The authors also provide some preliminary recommendations for analysing and reducing conflicts in pastoral areas, in order to prioritise this issue appropriately within the broader context of development and international security.

  1. How good is this research?

    Assessing the quality of research can be a tricky business. This blog from our editor offers some tools and tips.