Type of practice:
Transhumance pastoralism involves a very large number of individuals (20 million) and animals (70% of the region’s cattle (FAO). An important economic activity and a driver of regional development, transhumance has in the past decades been subject to significant upheavals. Climatic variability, demographic pressure, growing competition over scarcer resources, political volatility and insecurity have deeply affected transhumance routes, patterns and flows. The Central Transhumance Corridor (CTC), which links Sahelian countries to coastal countries, has been particularly affected by these changes resulting in recurrent conflicts between herder and farmer communities and the adoption of tension-inducing policies, including restrictions on transboundary movements by coastal countries. The TTT is part of a peaceful transhumance approach that combines data collection (TTT) and community stabilization and assistance The TTT is centered around four main components as shown in the adjacent figure: herders and cattle mapping, flow monitoring, early warning systems and individual surveys. Through these components, the TTT maps (in)formal transhumant corridors, monitors transhumance flows, and captures real-time information on events and conflicts related to livestock mobility throughout the region, which is then shared with local governance systems to prevent conflicts and/or mitigate tensions before they escalate into violent conflict. Data is collected following the transhumance calendar, and dashboards are generated either monthly or every three months and shared with local actors and governance mechanisms. IOM builds the capacity of representatives from local authorities, local communities, IDPs and nomadic herders to establish or strengthen inclusive, transparent and accountable decision-making processes. Additionally, the decisions that are taken within the various fora supported by IOM benefit a larger number of users; including local host communities, as well as those temporarily residing in or crossing the area. The way the activities are carried out improve mutual understanding and relations among the various groups, thus contributing to a greater social cohesion and stability. The TTT includes sex and age disaggregation data at the level of the counting. The conflict resolution mechanism is based on community engagement. In their study, the Central African Republic assessed the impact of transhumance-related conflicts and tensions directly on vulnerable populations (specially women and children). In addition, female herders are often chosen as focus group to better understand their perception of the impact of climate change on transhumance.
Benefit and Impact
Methods: The early warning system enables to identify events related to the use of natural resources, agro-pastoral practices, and disasters in the cross-border area of different countries, to support existing and inclusive local conflict resolution committes, and prevent or reduce tensions in the municipalities of intervention almost in real time. The early warning system also identifies unexpected or massive movements that risk having an impact on an area and generate a conflict.
Community-based: TTT powers community-based conflict resolution mechanisms. With technical support from IOM, these community-driven platforms contribute to enhanced social cohesion through climate-adapted initiatives favoring more sustainable management of shared resources, environmental rehabilitation, inclusive job creation, and improved access to basic services.
Network: In tandem, IOM works with pastoral organizations to provide reliable data to support evidence-based, inclusive policy /- and decision-making on transhumance. In complement to the data component, IOM utilizes its extensive networks of local stakeholders and experience in community stabilization to strengthen local governance structures by mobilizing local stakeholders around the TTT data reports through inclusive and participative dialogue platforms.
Promote Sustainable Resource Management: Implementing measures to promote sustainable resource management, such as rotational grazing and water point management, can help mitigate resource-related conflicts.
Foster Cross-Border Cooperation: Since a significant percentage of movements are cross-border, fostering cooperation between neighboring countries is essential to address issues collectively and prevent conflicts from spilling across borders.
Livelihood Diversification: Supporting pastoralists in diversifying their livelihoods beyond livestock rearing, such as through agricultural activities or non-farm income-generating opportunities, can enhance their resilience to external shocks.
Supporting Mobility: Supporting pastoralists mobility by collecting data on herders needs in terms of direct assistance (water access, civil status, certificates of transhumance, vaccination, capacity bulding on transhumance regulation knowledge...) but also by supporting dialogue between herders and local communities.
Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)
Interagency Collaboration: Collaboration between different government agencies, and humanitarian organizations is crucial to addressing the complex issues arising from these events effectively.
Climate Resilience Strategies: Given the impact of natural hazards on pastoral communities, developing climate resilience strategies, such as drought-resistant crops and water management, can help mitigate their effects. In addition, mobility is considered as a form of adaptation, supporting pastoral mobility which could be part of a climate resilience strategy, especially when taken into account the economic importance of transhumance in the region and its impact on biodiversity.
Cross-Border Coordination: Strengthening coordination mechanisms between countries, particularly in the Sahel region, can facilitate a unified approach to managing pastoral movements and mitigating conflicts.
Peacebuilding Initiatives: Investing in peacebuilding initiatives and promoting dialogue between different pastoral communities can foster greater understanding and cooperation, reducing the likelihood of conflicts.
The TTT including its Early Warning system have provided reliable data on transhumant mobility allowing traditional conflict resolution mechanisms, community dialogue platforms, and governance frameworks to define targeted plans and policies, and propose concrete solutions to improve resource management and sustainable livelihoods. More specifically, through IOM’s community-based planning methodology, communities have implemented Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) that, among others, rehabilitated basic social infrastructure, provided vocational skills training and job creation, supported participatory theatre for peacebuilding, and raised awareness about climate change and natural resource management. The awareness raising was then accompanied by targeted initiatives for climate change adaptation through reforestation and good agricultural practices. By combining real-time data on transhumant mobility with targeted interventions, IOM’s TTT has proven a reliable tool to mitigate conflict over natural resources in a conflict-sensitive and climate-adaptive manner.