Climate change impacts the route and calendars of nomadic herders throughout Western and Central Africa; challenging peaceful co-existence between groups as competition to access natural resources fuels violence and forced displacement. At the local level, IOM supports Member States through the Transhumance Tracking Tool to develop early alert mechanisms and reinforces local conflict mitigation strategies to pre-empt conflict associated with transhumant mobility. At the regional level, IOM assists ECOWAS and ECCAS, Member States, the Réseau Bilital Maroobé (RBM) and its national members; and ensures that ECOWAS and ECCAS remain the fora to manage international transhumance in a harmonized and coordinated way.
Address the drivers and longer-term impacts of crises and displacement, supporting durable solutions and investing in crisis prevention
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.
Activities will directly benefit 54 local authorities, one regional herder network, 12 national pastoral organisations.
Building on the TTT’s data reports, IOM garners its substantial experience in community stabilization along at-risk zones to work with local governance structures in communities affected by transhumant movements to collectively define solutions in support of improved governance of transhumance, including conflict mitigation and resolution methods.
IOM promotes participatory local decision-making processes to define priority actions while supporting relevant line ministries to respond directly to communities, who may otherwise be aggrieved, in the prioritization process.
IOM’s programmes in the WCA countries will include the following activities:
- Connect local authorities, line ministries and civil society to identify and implement local solutions, including the establishment or revitalisation of inclusive decision- and dialogue mechanisms in border regions that gather all concerned authorities, leaders and groups of herders. Such activities ensure the inclusion of nomadic populations into local community structures and help reinforce local dialogue and decision-making, including on resource management.
- Support the resolution of potential land tenure issues, through local negotiations and the formalization of traditional tenure in a transparent and participatory manner. This will enable securing pastoral space that has been shrinking due to land grabbing, decentralization and urban development.
- Rehabilitate community infrastructure to cater for the passage or the temporary station of herds (transhumant corridors, water points, markets, etc.).
To promote peace in the region in a context of transhumance and human mobility, IOM supports community reconciliation processes and seeks to mitigate the drivers of conflict. Interventions will include:
- Mapping of existing conflict mitigation mechanisms in communities and supporting conflict resolution processes between herders and farmers along transhumance corridors.
- Supporting participatory local decision-making processes to define priority activities and infrastructures that contribute to conflict mitigation or resolution, notably through protection mainstreaming and inclusion of marginalized voices/groups in peacebuilding activities.
- Accompanying relevant line ministries to support communities in their transition away from conflict.
IOM data collection related to transhumance supports various networks in the region, such as ECCAS, ECOWAS, as well as local organizations and herders' networks such as Reseau Biliale Maroobe among others. IOM contributes to:
- Risk-informed decision-making and planning at the local level, to mitigate the impacts of disasters linked to climate and disaster risks on natural resources.
- Reinforce capacity on disaster risk management and preparedness, climate resilience, and climate-adapted livelihood strategies.
In doing so, IOM’s work on transhumance contributes to improved economic resilience of communities along transhumance corridors, thereby reducing climate and disaster risks.
Through the TTT’s data reports, IOM maps infrastructure and resource availability along transhumance corridors, taking into account the climate and disaster risk and their potential effects on the means of existence (water points, grazing areas…) among local herder and farmer populations. The data drawn from these reports is designed to feed into risk-informed decision-making and planning at the local level, for instance, during the definition of targeted interventions to mitigate the impacts of climate and disaster risks on natural resources. Those interventions will contribute to improving resilience of the local populations to disaster.
More specifically, the initiatives proposed could serve, among others, to support the following intervention areas:
- Reinforcement of capacity on risk assessment with a focus on natural resources;
- Reinforcement of capacity on preparedness with a focus on the livestock and elaboration of response plans;
- Carrying out mitigation interventions to reduce disaster impacts on the means of existence of herders and farmers (reforestation, soil regeneration, restoration and reinforcement of water points);
- Vocational training in support of climate-adapted livelihoods;
- Construction and rehabilitation of climate-adapted public infrastructure;
- Reinforcement of capacity for climate-adapted and climate-resilient agricultural techniques.
IOM’s data collection related to Transhumance supports:
- The provision of evidence-based reports to pastoral organisations (national and regional) and relevant line ministries involved in the implementation of the ECOWAS Transhumance Protocol;
- Local Mapping and Early Alert System to provide information on conflict mitigation strategies to local authorities and relevant civil society organizations at the local level.
Ultimately, the data provided through the TTT and the capacity developed to transfer the tools to the respective governments (9 line ministries) and civil society informs annual Transhumance campaigns and the regional framework dedicated to Transhumance.
IOM supports its Member States along the regional transhumance corridors to develop and apply a unified data collection mechanism to inform sound policies as it pertains to the regional governance of transhumant mobility. The TTT is centred around four main components:
- Herders and cattle mapping – mapping (in)formal transhumant corridors;
- Flow monitoring – monitoring the numbers and basic characteristics of people and cattle moving along the corridors;
- Early warning system – capturing real-time information on events and conflicts related to livestock mobility throughout the region;
- Individual surveys – a deeper dive into the characteristics and motives driving the flows.
For the implementation of the TTT, IOM relies on a network of 750,000 potential enumerators through a strong partnership with the Réseau Bilital Maroubé (RBM), a regional transhumant network of local herders’ associations representing herders in 11 countries in WCA. Data are collected following the transhumance calendar, and dashboards are generated either monthly or every three months and shared with local actors and governance mechanisms.
To do so, IOM will broaden the application of the Transhumance Tracking Tool as follows:
- Mapping of transhumance corridors (including water points, grazing areas, markets, border posts, among others);
- Issuing Early Alerts notifying at-risk communities ahead of the arrival of at-risk herds to ensure communities can agree on solutions to facilitate safe passage ahead of clashes materialising;
- Implementing Regional Transhumance Movement Tracking for the enhanced provision of reliable and unified analysis to enable regional decision-making.
- Enhancing partnerships with other actors present in the region and looking at ways to leverage big data to the advantage of relevant programming for transhumance.
Mauritania, Mali, Guinea, Niger, Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic
The map used here is for illustration purposes only. Names and boundaries do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by IOM.Figures are as of 31 December 2022. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.