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Urgent Action Needed for Pastoralists to Cope with Climate Change

Nairobi, 29 June, 2010, Nairobi - Urgent action is needed to help pastoralists cope with the rising impacts of climate change including strategies by governments to facilitate safe passage across borders in the Horn and East Africa region.

This is among the key recommendations of a new report launched today by the United Nations (UN) and partners, members of the Security in Mobility initiative.

The key findings of the assessment reveal that:

  • Climate Change is resulting in unpredictable & extreme weather patterns and influencing mobility patterns amongst Pastoralist communities.

  • Insecurity in Pastoralists border regions has increased

  • Some local governments facilitate cross-border mobility especially during drought, others need to consider similar strategies

  • Mobility (movement) is usually associated with conflict and this risk needs to be recognized and managed down

  • Pastoralists are frustrated with current humanitarian aid policies and want sustainable and transformational solutions

Security in Mobility conducted consultative assessments with local communities and their leaders in Kenya's cross border regions between January 2009 and June 2010 in order to gather first hand knowledge on how various economic, social and environmental factors including climate change are impacting on pastoralist lives.

The regions visited include the Maasai, Karamoja and Somali clusters which border Tanzania, Uganda & Sudan, and Somalia & Ethiopia respectively. The initiative also advocates for an integrated approach to respond to humanitarian and development needs in pastoral communities.

Key Findings

The effects of climate change and its impact on pastoral communities are now more conspicuous than ever with evidence pointing to increasing levels of migration and conflict over often scarce resources.

Vulnerability, a lack of preparedness and appropriate, timely and relevant responses to natural disasters has left millions in need of humanitarian assistance. An 80 year old Pastoralist Bote Bora in Isiolo Kenya summed it up: "In my 80 years living as a pastoralist it has never been like this. The rainfall pattern has been unpredictable and there is a migration of pastoralists from this community to the urban centres of Nairobi, Uganda and others. The few animals we have that have survived the drought are plagued by new diseases that we do not know about. Our livestock is dying and we do not know why. We are even afraid to eat some of the livestock as we fear the diseases might be transferred to humans."

Full Release

Pastoralist children walk long distances to fetch water. Photo Credit: Security in Mobility



Further Resources

UNEP: Climate Change


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