The 8 member States of Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have inked an historical agreement to guide the activities of the pastoral communities across the borders in the region.
The IGAD livestock sectoral Ministers and their technical teams convened in Entebbe, Uganda on Friday to sign the Transhumance Protocol meant to exploit the full social and economic potential of the pastoral system by alowing free, safe and orderly cross-border mobility of transhumant livestock and herders in search of pasture and water as an adaptation mechanism to climate change and weather variability within the IGAD region.
Member States agreed to invest adequate resources to pastoral regions and competent institutions managing transhumance since the largely unmanaged sector contributes 6% to 10% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of IGAD member economies.
Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti also committed to harmonize national laws and policies related to livestock and pastoral development, land use and governance, disease control and cross-border measures.
The protocol was endorsed endorsed by the IGAD Committee of Ambassadors in Khartoum on 27th February 2020 after a series of technical consultations with Member States. It included harmonization of a technically all-inclusive draft version through national and high-level regional negotiation meetings with Member States’ technical experts and legal / policy makers.
The endorsed protocol is expected to be submitted to the IGAD Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, for singing and adoption by the IGAD Summit.
Uganda’s State Minister of Karamoja Affairs, Moses Kizige said at the event that the protocol was long overdue since the people in the IGAD region are one with relatively homogeneous interests and benefits.
“Free movement of pastoral communities across the countries is going to transform their activities for the better. The people of IGAD are one and there is a lot we can cooperate on for a common benefit,” said Kizige.
Adding: “Collaboration will also help us to address bottlenecks affecting the pastoral areas like drought, locusts and others.”
The IGAD Director of Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development, Dr. Muchina Munyua said the protocol is immensely going to facilitate strategic investments along the transhumance corridors beyond survival to commercial development.
“The protocol is ushering opportunities for strategic investments to improve both the lives of the pastoral communities and also to tap commercial benefits,” said Dr. Muchina.