Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a trading block which covers 5.2m km2 in the Horn of Africa with eight member countries is coming with a policy which if adopted by member states will allow easy migration of livestock and the people who tend them across borders.
The policy dubbed Protocol on Transhumance had been reviewed and embraced by Kenyan and Ethiopian experts this year in May and June respectively with Ugandan legal and policy level experts reviewing it last week.
Generally, experts are supposed to review the implications of the Transhumance Protocol as well as to the laws and policies governing specific countries and to understand ratification and domestication processes by identifying a national implementation framework and make recommendations for implementation roadmap before the Protocol is adopted by the IGAD Committee of Ambassadors.
According to a joint report by Africa Peace Forum, Saferworld and University of Bradford on Pastoralism and Conflict in the Horn of Africa, the Horn contains the largest population of pastoralists in the world, however, the pastoralists who live in the region always enter into conflicts due to inadequate water and pasture among other reasons.
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Climate variability has been affecting vast areas irrespective of international borders and, therefore, pastoral mobility spans across different member states in IGAD region, especially within regional cross-border clusters hence the need for the policy.
According to 2012 FAO report on the Impact of Conflict on Pastoral Communities’ Resilience in the Horn of Africa, Inadequate policing and state security policies, inappropriate government development policies and inadequate land tenure policies are some of the reasons for conflicts among the communities.
Restriction on pastoral mobility across these boundaries, conflicts and defective tenure policies have, however, posed threats to sustainability of pastoral livelihood system.
In order to address these challenges and protect pastoral ecosystem within its member states, IGAD is leading consultations with its member states to adopt a protocol on transhumance that will facilitate formal livestock cross-border mobility in the region.
IGAD has already consulted the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan. The organisation has just finished consulting Ugandan government.
The bloc’s member states are Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti.