“Under One Tree”? Exploring Pastoral, National, and International Approaches to Humanitarian Action

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Although resilience is an inherent component of pastoral systems, it must be adequately supported through effective national and international policies, programs, and approaches.

However, to date the evidence provided by pastoralists and organizations working with pastoral populations suggests that international and national humanitarian assistance is rarely provided in ways that are truly helpful for pastoral communities to protect their livelihoods.

This synthesis report brings together the findings from the first phase of a three-year research project exploring how humanitarian action — comprising early warning, anticipatory action, and emergency response — can be more attuned to the needs, perspectives, and approaches of pastoral communities in the dryland areas of the Greater Horn and Sudano-Sahel.

The main outputs from Phase 1 are three desk studies examining humanitarian action from three perspectives: the views of the pastoralists, national governments, and the international community.

This synthesis report reflects upon the cross-cutting learning and key themes and considers the implications for humanitarian action in dryland areas.






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The time pressure involved in designing and implementing anticipatory action can discourage the localization of decision-making. Learn more from a cartoon-infused summary of insights.

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Early Warning Systems can reduce deaths and damages caused by extreme weather events, if investors address gaps in communication and planning. Learn more from a cartoon-infused summary of insights.

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This desk study examines common perceptions of pastoralism among humanitarians and barriers to international humanitarian systems meeting pastoralists’ needs.

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This desk study explores how state-owned policies and programs in pastoral areas of the Sudano-Sahel and the Greater Horn of Africa meet pastoralists’ needs and priorities.

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This desk study explores how pastoralists manage climate, conflict, and other stresses through indigenous early warning systems, preventive actions, local emergency responses, and customary safety nets.

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This primer on pastoralism in Africa provides basic information on the core aspects of pastoralism as a livelihood and production system.

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