AU Guidelines for the Promotion of Pastoralism and the Management of Conflict in Africa validated in Lusaka, Zambia

AU Guidelines for the Promotion of Pastoralism and the Management of Conflict in Africa validated in Lusaka, Zambia.

The African Union Guidelines for the Promotion of Pastoralism and the Management of Conflict in Africa were discussed and finalized during a three day workshop, from November 5-7, 2019, held at COMESA Headquarters in Lusaka, Zambia.

Pastoralism Lusaka nov.19

 Group Picture at the opening ceremony of workshop on Pastoralism held in Lusaka, Zambia.

Facilitated by AU SAFGRAD and AU Rural Economy Division of the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture in collaboration with COMESA Secretariat, the meeting gathered various experts and practitioners from the five regional farmers associations as well pastoralists networks, Department of Peace and Security and The Women Gender Development Directorate of the African Union Commission, ,Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Key international and financial institutions such as African Development Bank (AfDB) also attended the Workshop.

It is important to recall that Pastoralists’ livestock production is the primary production system in Africa’s drylands. It is the main source of livelihood, food security, and wellbeing in 43 percent of Africa’s landmass. Besides, pastoralism plays an essential role in the national and regional economies of Africa. It supplies millions of animals to both domestic and international markets through secure livestock trade networks that link-local and cross-border markets to neighboring countries and global markets. It is estimated that the arid and semiarid areas of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) is home to over 25 million pastoralists of which 72% of which resides with in COMESA region.


Unfortunately, in recent decades, pastoralism is facing ever-increasing challenges in the forms of increasingly variable and unpredictable climate, rising insecurity and violence, increasing risk of animal and zoonotic diseases, and insecure land rights and natural resources management. These changes are taking place in a context of neglect and exclusion. These challenges are eroding the capacity of pastoralists systems in the different regions of the drylands to absorb shocks and adapt to changes.


In addition, owing to a multiplicity of factors including resource scarcity, adverse effects of climate change etc., violent conflicts between pastoralists and farmers have intensified resulting in the loss of lives, destruction of properties, and displacement of people and retardation of socio-economic progress. It is estimated that today those conflicts on the continent take more lives than terrorism.

To address these challenges, the Executive Council of the African Union in January 2011 approved The AU Policy Framework on Pastoralism aiming at securing, protecting and improving the lives, livelihoods, and rights of pastoralists’ communities. This calls for the initiation of the process of developing guidelines with the general objective to contribute to releasing the potential of pastoralists’ ecosystems to boost economic prosperity and enhance peace and security in Africa. Specific objectives include to avail to AU Member States guidelines and instrument to secure pastoralists activities, enhance the rights of pastoralists and help to prevent and resolve conflicts associated with pastoralists’ activities. 


Talking at the opening ceremony on the behalf of HE Josefa Sacko, Commissioner of Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), Dr Janet Edeme, REA Head Division, mentioned that the workshop has preceded another important workshop that took place over the last two days reviewing the African Union Draft Land Governance Strategy. These two workshops have been designed back to back to look at the correlation between pastoralism and land- two critical sectors which the African Union Commission places significant importance on. “These two workshops are being organized within the broader context of preparations for next year’s theme of the African Union on silencing the Guns in Africa and the overall vision of a Peaceful, Prosperous and Integrated Africa”, She said before concluding that “Conducting this research is very important as it will contribute to the implementation of the African Union Agenda 2063 and of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well.” 

In his opening remarks, Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator, explained that “AU-DREA has developed a Policy Framework on Pastoralism; and some of the RECs equally have similar work. In addition, in 2018 AU-SAFGRAD as lead institution in collaboration with the Division of Rural Economy and the Department of Peace and Security of the African Union has organized a workshop titled “Transhumance conflict in Africa towards a formidable continental conflict transformation mechanism”. The current study is one of the main outcomes of this workshop, he concluded. 


On behalf of the COMESA Secretariat, Ambassador Dr Kipyego Cheluget, Assistant Secretary General of COMESA Secretariat stated during his address at the opening that the current study is well suited to COMESA mandate and therefore will require great attention”. Delivering the opening statement, on the behalf of the Hosting country, Dr Young Ndoba Vibetti, from Zambia Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, confirmed that “the Republic of Zambia stands ready to work in partnership with AUC, RECs including COMESA and other Member States to fully implement the Guidelines”.


The first version of the Guidelines has been developed using an approach aiming to respond to the desire to stimulate inclusive debate and to build a consensus on the document. With this successful meeting, the validated version of the document would be submitted through appropriate AU Policy organs for consideration and adoption.






Media contacts: Mr Youssoupha MBENGUE, Senior Communications Officer, AU SAFGRAD. Email: .