Pastoralism and Policy in Ethiopia

The policy environment for pastoralism in Ethiopia exemplifies the misunderstandings about pastoralism found in many other countries. For example, objectives such as sedentarization of pastoral communities are often included in policy documents, although there is no evidence which attributes improved livelihoods or reduced vulnerability to settlement. Regarding the sensitive issue of land tenure in pastoral areas, the 1997 proclamation of the Federal Rural Land Administration states an intention to demarcate land in accordance with the particular conditions of a locality and through communal participation. However, recent appropriation of communal pastoral grazing land for large-scale irrigation schemes seems to lack communal participation and was at odds with the efforts of the Ministry of Agriculture to promote livestock production and trade. Related to land tenure is land use, and here again government policies (where they exist) contradict efforts by pastoralists to protect their livelihoods and environment. The goals of this project are to raise understanding of the benefits of pastoralism among senior federal-level policy makers in Ethiopia and to incorporate pro-pastoralist policies into national development policies.

Much of the analytical work on pastoralism in Ethiopia during 2010–11 focused on examination of long-term trends in pastoralist areas and understanding the relative importance of these trends from a policy perspective. In particular, our research revisited processes of commercialization in pastoralist areas and the role of commercialization in driving wealth disparities and contributing to pastoralist vulnerability. An emerging area of research was climatic variation in pastoralist areas, and related policy narratives, evidence, and misunderstandings over climate change as a cause of impoverishment and destitution.

International conference – The Future of Pastoralism in Africa

A key event during the year was the international conference, “The Future of Pastoralism in Africa,” held in Addis Ababa in March 2011 and co-organized with the Future Agricultures Consortium, based out of the Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex. The conference brought together 117 researchers,NGO and donor representatives, and had direct policy relevance by including senior policy makers from the African Union Commission, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Kenya. The opening session included remarks and presentations by the Minister of Federal Affairs, Ethiopia, the AU Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture, the Minister for Cabinet Affairs of the government of Southern Sudan, the Assistant Minister for Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands, Kenya, and the State Minister at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Ethiopia. The AU presentation focused on the new AU Policy Framework for Pastoralism in Africa, edited by the Center and endorsed in October 2010. The Center’s research on pastoralism in Ethiopia was well represented at the conference (see below), and a book with key papers is being prepared for publication in 2012.

Pastoralism and Policy Course

In partnership with the International Institute for Environment and Development, we continued to develop the Pastoralism and Policy training course for Ethiopia, with a focus on options for institutionalizing the course in Ethiopian universities.

Policy Support to Government and Policy Actors in Ethiopia

We continued to provide direct policy support to government officials, donors, and other policy actors around issues related to pastoralism. For example:

DFID Peace for Development Program

In January 2011 we made a presentation to DFID on our research report, “Mind the Gap: Commercialization, Livelihoods and Wealth Disparity in Pastoralist Areas of Ethiopia,” and discussed DFID’s emerging strategies. Key points included the possible limitations of safety nets in pastoralist areas, given trends in commercialization and spaces for smaller producers.

Pastoralist Areas Standing Committee

In May 2011 we briefed the Pastoralist Areas Standing Committee in the Ethiopian Parliament on the new AU Policy Framework for Pastoralism in Africa, prompting discussion on how Ethiopia should be following the framework. This was followed by a briefing for Ethiopian journalists.

Ethiopia Growth and Transformation Plan

In June 2011 we reviewed the livestock sections of the Ethiopian government’s new Growth and Transformation Plan, at the request of the multi-donor Development Assistance Group.

USAID Strategies for Pastoralist Areas

Our policy work with USAID included revisiting investments in livestock marketing based on improved marketing infrastructure and the limitations of this approach in the face of vague or non-supportive policy and institutional frameworks for marketing.

Outputs in the form of reports are listed in the “Publications” tab.

Milk Matters The Impact of Dry Season Livestock Support on Milk Supply and Child Nutrition in Somali Region, Ethiopia
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This report presents the findings of two cohort studies assessing the impact of small-scale livestock interventions, designed to sustain access to and availability of animal milk at the household level over the dry season, on the nutritional status of children under 5 years of age.

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Rapid Review of the Cash-for-Work and Natural Resource Management Components of the RAIN Project
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By Andy Catley, Alison Napier | September 2013

The project Revitalizing Agricultural/Pastoral Incomes and New Markets (RAIN) is a three‐year project implemented by Mercy Corps and Save the Children UK (SCUK) in parts of Somali and Oromiya Regions...

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Review of Pastoral Rangeland Enclosures in Ethiopia
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By Alison Napier, Solomon Desta | September 2013

Access to productive rangeland has long been a critical issue affecting pastoralists in Ethiopia. In November 2011, the Feinstein International Center at Tufts University facilitated a review of a specific...

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Moving Up or Out? A Rapid Livelihoods and Conflict Analysis in Mieso-Mulu Woreda, Shinile Zone, Somali Region, Ethiopia
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By Andy Catley, Alula Iyasu | September 2013

The pastoralists of Shinile Zone in the Somali Region of Ethiopia experience multiple livelihoods challenges and various types of conflict. Among international NGOs in the area, there is increasing interest...

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