Sub-theme 3. Indigenous peoples and globalisation
Pastoralist communities in the glocal world; Towards protecting the historical legacy of common resources conservation in the Anthropocene
Around half of the Earth’s land surface is rangeland, often among the harshest environments. However, rangelands are essential for millions of people providing or contributing to their livelihoods, culture, and identity. They are pastoralist communities. Worldwide, Many pastoral communities have adopted a seasonal migration lifestyle within their ancestral territories to increase their resilience to natural challenges and sustain the common pool-resources based on their common property regimes.
The way of life of pastoralist communities has formed a collective and organised social, economic, and ecological system that significantly contributes to food security and provides an opportunity for the common resources to restore and revitalise while adapting to the territory’s climatic conditions. These systems have been based on pastoralists’ knowledge, values, ethics of care, and biocultural practices. In this framework, they have had specific methods for monitoring and predictions and taking the necessary conservation actions to reduce pressure on their common resources.
Nevertheless, evidence shows the lack of recognition, respect and promotion of the pastoralists’ socioeconomic and ecological contributions to nature conservation and common resources’ governance. This absence fuels the marginalisation of pastoralists and encourages policies that erode sufficient support for pastoralists in legal-policy dialogues.
The proposed panel will build on the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declaration on the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP, 2026), to support pastoralist communities and the conservation of the rangelands. In this panel, we invite indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ organisations and movements, academic scholars, rights defenders, and civil societies worldwide to submit abstracts that discuss and analyse the concept of pastoralism, the historical legacy of pastoralist communities for common resources governance, and the “Future Collective Actions” we need to adopt to respect, protect, and realise their collective rights and responsibilities on the common resources.
Suggested perspectives include, but are not limited to:
- Threats and challenges for pastoralist communities and their common resources;
- The traditional and current common property regimes,
- The biocultural rights and responsibilities of pastoralist communities,
- International and national policies on pastoralism and rangelands,
- Impacts of large infrastructures on biological and cultural diversity,
- Gender and the role of pastoralist women.
The abstracts could examine how pastoralism and pastoralist communities are framed and constructed in political, social, and cultural discourses. Abstracts outside the scholarly tradition of Europe and North America are particularly welcome.
1. Why are wildlife on the Maasai doorsteps? Insights from the Maasai of Tanzania
College of African Wildlife Management, Mweka, Tanzania
The purpose of this research was to look into the specific reasons why the Maasai ecosystem is home to some of the most spectacular assemblages of remaining African terrestrial wildlife populations. We emphasize the importance of following locally developed rules, values, and practices in the management and conservation of land resources, particularly wildlife resources. The findings of this study show that, despite external pressures to dismantle Maasai ecological strategies and practices through imported religions, Western-oriented education, restrictive policies, and cumulative land loss, the community has maintained significant practices for the conservation of Tanzania’s wildlife ecosystems and livestock. The paper expands on the overall argument that indigenous practices are critical to the ongoing conservation of biodiversity.
2. Conflict actors influence the dynamics of agropastoral policies in Ghana
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
Biases and inconsistencies in agropastoral policies have been blamed for the perennial farmer-herder conflicts in many sub-Saharan African countries. This may be explained by the way actors are able to influence these policies. However, insights into the strategies conflict actors use to influence agropastoral policies are limited in countries with high incidences of farmer-herder conflicts. We engaged the ‘act of governmentality’ and employed the institutional analysis and development framework and the policy process framework to investigate the strategies key conflict actors use to influence agropastoral policies in Ghana. Data were collected through two pathways: a review of sub-regional, national, and local agropastoral policies; and interviews, focus group discussions, and facilitated workshops with arable farmers, pastoralists, chiefs, farmer and herder associations, community groups, civil society organizations, policymakers and representatives from research and academia. We found that state policies on pastoralism have evolved from promotion of cattle rearing among indigenous Ghanaians in the colonial times to neglect and unfriendliness in the years immediately following independence and took a form that can be described as hostile in the early 2000s. The state is moving away from expulsion to sedentarization of pastoralists, but this has been met with stiff opposition from arable farmers and some farming communities. Actors use diverse strategies to influence agropastoral policies in their favor. For a policy process that optimizes actors’ contribution to solutions to the conflict, we recommend a well-structured and inclusive stakeholder engagement that allows actor positions to be negotiated and their concerns addressed in an equitable manner.
3. Muzungu Goodbye – How will pastoralists support each other?
1University of Hohenheim, Germany, 2International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya
Most Gabra pastoralists in northern Kenya describe themselves as kind and peaceful people, who share everything they have with others. The Gabra trust system allows the recipient of a dromedary to use the milk, blood, and labour of the dromedary. However, the dromedary itself belongs to the family of the giver. Most Gabra people are proud of the close ties between themselves. How can one explain that some families drive large numbers of dromedaries to the source of water while others sit in front of their house without having a meal and waiting for food relief or rather cash transfer? Most meals are taken inside the house to avoid the prying eyes of the neighbours. Can the reception of a dromedary sustain a family? The process from requesting a dromedary to receiving one may take several months. The recipient is also expected to provide small presents to the giver. How can one survive until the reception of a dromedary? The trust system is not supposed to create equal conditions for everyone. One may lose wealth while another one may build up wealth. How can the awareness of this circumstance fill the stomach of a person? What is the role of the educated Gabra pastoralists? Most of the educated Gabra pastoralists, who live in town, do not visit their homeland together with their children. Does the trust system require an update? What is the role of small ruminants and other possessions? The discussion of these questions will be based on a one-year-long observation period.
4. Integrating pastoralism into community conservancies: a case study from Kyrgyzstan
Plateau Perspectives (NGO)
Kyrgyzstan is a mountainous country rooted in pastoralism. It is also home to over 35 protected areas with various threatened and endangered species inhabiting these territories that often overlap with high mountain pastures. In recent years climate change, increasing livestock numbers, and human-wildlife conflict has portrayed pastoralists and conservationists as working against one another. Since the emergence of the first community conservancy in Kyrgyzstan in 2018, more community-based conservancies have begun forming and are working to integrate the needs of local pastoralists with conservation needs. Through field surveys and interviews with pastoralists living around these territories as well as members of the community conservancies, this research seeks to identify the potential synergies and tradeoffs of integrating the needs of pastoralists into community conservation. Through redefining the relationship commonly viewed as pastoralists versus conservationists, the data from this study will present a new more holistic perspective that more accurately recognizes the needs and rights of pastoral communities in addition to the potential they offer in contributing to conservation. While the idea of incorporating pastoralists into conserved areas isn’t new and has been researched within the scope of Africa, there is little if any on its full potential within transhumant communities of Central Asia.