Ann Waters-Bayer, Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  Email:

The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Decade of Family Farming 2019-2028 on 20 December 2017 in order to improve the position of family farmers in all five continents.

To mark the beginning of this Decade, the Coalition of European Lobbies for Eastern African Pastoralism (CELEP) combined forces with the International Land Coalition (ILC) Rangelands Initiative and the International Support Group (ISG) for the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP) to publish a short illustrated brief entitled Pastoralists as Family Farmers (March 2019).  In the definition of family farmers for the International Year of Family Farmers (IYFF) in 2014 and also for the Decade of Family Farming, pastoralists have been mentioned as a group requiring specific attention. Despite this recognition, most statements, papers and information about family farmers refer primarily to small-scale crop farmers. CELEP, ILC and the ISG – as a group of organisations supporting, working with or representing pastoralists – seek to draw attention to the importance of including pastoralists within discussions and interventions in family farming.

The above publication is also closely linked to the recently published CELEP brief entitled Pastoralism and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The VI Global Conference on Family Farming was held in Derio-Bilbao, Spain from 25 – 30 March 2019.  More information about this conference can be found at