"Climate change may […] serve as a driver for implementation of sustainable land management for both mitigation and adaptation, while also providing pathways to meet the actions called for in the context of UNCBD and UNCCD, and for enhancing sustainable and enhanced productivity to address hunger."
This quote from the FAO report on drylands pastoral systems and climate change (FAO, 2009) shows the multitude of agendas and actors converging in the field of climate change.
The work DCG is and has been doing over the past 14 years, with improving food security for vulnerable households in the drylands of Africa, is increasingly relevant also for climate adaptation in these areas. Some of our research projects have contributed directly to building resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change through improved farming systems. The Ecofarm research project, followed by the Plant Establishment project is an example of this.
Mapping of coping strategies and effects of climate change, on farmers and pastoralists, are currently being carried out in Mali and a similar study was finalised in Ethiopia in 2009.
DCG also carries out action research with pastoralists. We believe there is a need for an increased focus on pastoralism in general and also when it comes to the climate change adaptation arena.
For some groups of pastoralists the level of conflict with sedentary farmers is increasing due to, amongst other reasons, the pressure on grazing lands. A project we are currently carrying out in Mali, has contributed to improving the work of two of our member organizations in how to reduce conflict over resources between pastoralists and farmers. The project has developed tools for facilitating dialogue between the stakeholders and it has also established meeting places between the different groups. Due to a series of consultations with pastoralists, shepherds, sedentary farmers and the local community councils, on how to manage the common resources in the area, the level of conflict between these groups have decreased. Our goal is that these tools can be used in similar situations in other parts of Mali and Africa.
It is importat to emphasize that DCG is working to address core challenges related to the increased pressure on natural resources. Although climate change is on the top of the list these days, we have to remember that there are also many other forms of pressure, and when it comes to pastoralism and drylands it is natural to mention political pressure. It is important to not let climate change drown all other perspectives on what is happening in the drylands. Pastoralists and also other groups of people in the drylands are vulnerable for many reasons, and DCG is working to address all these reasons.
Review of evidence on drylands pastoral systems and climate change. Implications and opportunities for mitigation and adaptation. Land and Water Discussion Paper 8. Edited by C. Neely, S. Bunning and A. Wilkes, Land Tenure and Management Unit (NRLA,)Land and Water Division.Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2009.