Introducing EUI workshops

Pastoralists have long learnt to live with and through uncertainties that transcend agro-ecological ones dictated by rainfall variations and grazing availability. Growing integration into wider societal frames, state structures and market dynamics significantly contributes to reconfigured livelihood in drylands.

PASTRES and the EUI Environmental Challenges and Climate Change Governance Interdisciplinary Research Cluster are aiming to elaborate on lessons learnt from the field, looking to support better informed policy-making. This will be done through enhancing interdisciplinary relations by connecting separate working groups and networks around crucial issues, such as changes and transformations affecting rural livelihoods and resilience in dryland settings.

EUI has organised a series of workshops that critically assess the transformations taking place in pastoral drylands in different regions. Climate and environmental changes will be analysed as part of wider territorial and livelihood reconfigurations, which also include aspects related to institutional and governance challenges, transnational networks, cooperation and conflict with other actors, such as farming and urban communities and the interactions with market forces. Implications for socio-economic and political landscapes will also be assessed, with the aim of learning from pastoralists experiences of responding to uncertainty and then applying such ‘lessons from the margins’ to global challenges.

The first workshop is scheduled as a hybrid event on 25-26th November 2021; it will specifically look at drylands where climate variability and volatility are the norm – rather than the exception. At the heart of these processes, three aspects emerge as being particularly important for livelihood transformations and territorial change: market integration, livelihood mobility, and land-use. These aspects will be the objects of discussion of three thematic groups.

Market integration of pastoral systems will be addressed through the lens of milk commercialisation, a process which characterises agro-pastoral systems in Europe, and more recently also areas of the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and South-East Asia. The commoditisation of this basic pillar of the pastoral economy, and the related integration into market dynamics – from the local, to the national to the international trade arena – represents a main driver of change in these regions, including in population patterns and natural resource management.

Livelihood mobility is a core feature of pastoral systems in drylands. Traditionally employed to navigate environmental changes and benefit from variable resource settings, mobility is increasingly taking new shapes and forms in response to broader socio-political and economic transformations occurring in the drylands. Environmental changes, market evolutions and policy frames have contributed to translate mobility patterns into migratory flows, with portions of pastoral populations moving away from drylands in ‘search of greener pastures’.

The latter theme of the workshop concerns land use changes. The dramatic transformations that are affecting pastoral systems carry relevant implications in terms of natural resource management, as well as livelihood adaptation patterns. This thematic group will work on understanding how land use has changed, including management of natural resources, claims and rights on land, and broader governance issues, in response to environmental, socio-political, and economic transformation in different cases in the drylands.

“Territorial changes and livelihood transformations. Agro-pastoral communities living with uncertainties in dryland settings. Market integration, livelihood mobility, land-use changesRegistration available here by 24 November at 12 pm.

As part of this event there will also be a talk by Ian Scoones on Livestock Climate Change and Justice, based on the recent report by Houzer and Sconnes (2021) – Are Livestock Always Bad for the Planet ?

The second workshop is also scheduled as a hybrid event on 29th November 2021 ; it will discuss narratives and processes related to the complex nexus at the interface of ecological transformations, security, and governance, taking place in pastoral drylands. The focus will be on institutional as well as vernacular perspectives that frame such nexuses, with the aim to disentangle misplaced understandings of current dynamics. The workshop will concentrate on contemporary unfoldings in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, which are crucial areas where local and global dynamics are reconfiguring socio-political arrangements and livelihoods, intimately reshaping governance patterns and security issues. This event will take advantage of the expertise of institutional as well as academic standpoints. Findings and reflections developed by the PASTRES project will work as a theoretical and empirical frame to comprehend ongoing developments.

Disentangling the Climate, Security, and Governance Nexus in Sub-Saharan African Pastoral Drylands. Focus on the Sahel and the Horn of Africa”

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