The International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP) organized two sessions on the second day of the Joint Congress. The aim was to reflect on the gaps in knowledge about rangelands (especially from Johnsen et al 2019) and how this could inform priorities for the IYRP from different regional perspectives. Munkhnasan Tsevegmid, Secretary of Mongolia’s IYRP National Working Group, mentioned the significance of having a designated IYRP to raise global awareness of natural and cultural values of rangelands and its potential contribution to addressing rangeland degradation and poverty reduction for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Perspectives from various regions around the world were discussed under three key topics:
- Land use/tenure, and governance. The lack of recognition of land-use rights was seen as a major factor contributing to the marginalization of pastoralists, and the vulnerability of pastoralist women. Capacity building is needed to empower pastoralist civil society and pastoral institutions to effectively cooperate with policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders. The value of rangelands and pastoralism for economies, livelihoods and food security was discussed.
- Social economic services and demography. Critical issues identified included lack of government support, sedenterization of pastoralists, fragmentation of pastures, lack of capacity building of pastoral youth. Some of the actions suggested were the need of recognition of pastoralist’s local governance, need to cooperate pastoralists in formal economy and including pastoralist’s IK in decision making processes at the state level.
- Climate change and ecosystem health. One of the issues in Europe is the lack of recognition of environmental values and services of livestock grazing, which is partly due to misunderstanding of the links between livestock grazing and ecological processes. One of the popular examples of this misunderstanding is the linkage drawn between livestock grazing and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, where pastoralists are blamed for the GHG emissions, which is a complex issue related to climate change. In South Asian countries the linkage between food production, ecosystem health and climate change was emphasised.
During the discussion, the twelve monthly themes that have been identified for 2026 were outlined. Some priorities for actions include:
- Build capacity for pastoralist civil society to better collaborate & engage with policy processes
- Build capacity for government & development actors to understand pastoralists’ land tenure & management practices & their value
- Recognise pastoralists’ legal rights re land use
- Empower local institutions for rangeland management and governance
- Strengthen capacity of governments & civil society to collect, analyse & disseminate land use data
- Invest in infrastructure & social services appropriate for mobile systems of land use in the rangelands.
While the gaps in research are often discussed, the value of the knowledge with the pastoralists and how their voices can be included in planning future steps in rangeland management needs to be further highlighted. Three resolutions related to the IYRP were discussed, and all three were passed at the IRC Business meeting.
The next important event to drafting actions for the IYRP will be at the Society for Range Management Annual Meeting on 6-10 Feb 2022 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Everyone can attend as this meeting will be hybrid.
Photos courtesy of the IYRP website