Pastoralist communities in the Horn of Africa occupy some of the most remote, insecure and poorly-serviced areas of the world. These communities rely heavily on livestock rearing and marketing for their livelihoods, and efficient livestock production depends on the ability to move and access seasonal grazing areas. This movement often involves temporary cross-border migrations into neighboring countries. However, not only are supportive policies for pastoralists weak or absent at a country level, the policies of adjacent counties are often contradictory. Regional African organizations have a major role to play in working with Member States to develop and harmonize regional polices to support pastoralism. In common with our policy support to COMESA, the goal of this project is support the development of regional policies which enable and secure pastoralist mobility, with related benefits on human food security and development.
The Intergovernmental Authority for Development (IGAD) region comprises seven African countries – Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda – and all of these countries have substantial cross-border pastoralist communities, and related development and peace issues.
The Livestock Policy Initiative is an IGAD project, administered by the Food and Agriculture Organization and funded by the European Commission, to strengthen the capacity of IGAD, its member states, and other regional organizations and stakeholders, to formulate and implement livestock sector and related policies that sustainably reduce poverty and food insecurity. Working through the IGAD Livestock Policy Initiative, researchers from our Addis Ababa office support the project through technical facilitation of policy process and related policy analysis. A key aspect of the initiative is to examine programs and policies which impact specifically on poorer and more vulnerable households within pastoralist areas.
The two main outputs of our support to the IGAD-LPI project have been:
- Support to the development of a Regional Policy Framework for Animal Health and related elevated profile of livestock in national Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers. This work involved facilitation by Dr. Berhanu Admassu. (For updates, please see Expert Regional Consultations on a Regional Animal Health Framework and The Ethiopian Policy Forum ratifies the national position.)
- Policy research examining the impact of increasing donor investments in livestock export programmes in the Horn of Africa. The study included field research in Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia and looked specifically at benefits by wealth group – do the poorer household benefit from the livestock export markets? The report, Livestock Exports from the Horn of Africa, was presented at the 5th IGAD-LPI Steering Committee Meeting in Djibouti in January 2010.
Assisting African regional bodies to develop and implement policies which support pastoralist livelihoods is central to development and food security strategies in the Horn of Africa. The project contributes to a wider process of contemporary policy analysis which aims to improve understanding of wealth-differentiated capacities and aspirations in pastoralist areas, and the need to develop pluralistic policies. The study on livestock exports and related benefits has helped to raise awareness of processes of commercialization in pastoralist areas, and how this trend contributes to a robust group of commercial actors on the one side, and increasing pastoral destitution on the other. The study is informing donor policies on pastoral development and the need for dual approaches which support both livestock development and alternative livelihood options.
The project involves close collaboration with the FAO-IGAD team who lead the Livestock Policy Initiative, based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The main partners are senior government policy advisers from IGAD Member States viz. Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.