Skip to main content

page search

Library Will pastoral legislation disempower pastoralists in the Sahel?

Will pastoral legislation disempower pastoralists in the Sahel?

Will pastoral legislation disempower pastoralists in the Sahel?

Resource information

Date of publication
December 2005
Resource Language
ISBN / Resource ID

Guinea, Mauritania, Mali, and Burkina Faso have all passed specific legislation in support of pastoralism. This paper reports that while some of these laws provide an improved framework for the management of rangelands and greater tenure security for pastoralists, they contain conceptual and practical problems which may ultimately further marginalise pastoral people.Crucially, the new legislation seeks to manage access to resources through complicated procedures controlled by various levels of government. In doing so, pastoral communities are disempowered as they neither understanding nor have any control over these provisions. Livestock mobility could be reduced and the authors fear that elites could ultimately capture exclusive rights to water and land. The report recommends that these issues be urgently addressed.In order for local communities to benefit from decentralisation, they must:build their capacities to influence local government decision-making and hold them accountable, particularly over land and other natural resourcespastoralists must learn to articulate a vision for pastoralism that can be understood by policymakersIn turn, policymakers themselves need to better understand the Sahelian pastoralist environments, the role social and political networks play in the management of natural resources and the central place of pastoralism as a viable system and major contributor to national economies.In summary, the paper concludes that pastoralists, through their associations, have to develop the necessary “leverage” to ensure that improved knowledge and understanding is actually used to improve policy and legislation in support of pastoralism as a livelihood system.

Share on RLBI navigator