Academic journal article Nomadic Peoples

Multi-Stakeholder Forums for Co-Management of Pastoralism in Niger

Academic journal article Nomadic Peoples

Multi-Stakeholder Forums for Co-Management of Pastoralism in Niger

Article excerpt


Multi-stakeholder forums are part of the family of cooperative management approaches. The Nigero-German Development programme 'Fight against Poverty' (LUCOP) has applied this approach to the pastoral zone in Niger. Stakeholders at three forums representing resident and non-resident resource users have made commitments of behaviour and action in favour of consensual management of natural resources and pastoralism. The approach, after two years of implementation, has proven successful so far in securing mobile pastoralism and also presenting a framework for more small-scale and localized action. The question of sustainability remains open. Presented here are some of the key results from follow-up surveys and impact assessments of the forums.

Keywords: pastoralism, nomads, rangeland management, development, savannahs, Niger

Introduction: 'The Wish of One Person Is Not Identical with the Wish of Many Persons' (1)

Cooperative management or co-management of natural resources and pastoralism, implying multiple stakeholders, has been tested in a number of countries and situations over a number of years by various organizations. There exist many different approaches, such as 'community-based natural resource management', 'adaptive management', 'joint management', 'collaborative management' (Zhaoli and Shaoliang 2008: 276). Multi-stakeholder forums can be one method of these strategies or a stand-alone approach. The term as such is not properly defined. In general the term is used to describe big meetings of actors, who after consultation and discussions come up with decisions.

In the case of the Niger, forums in the field of pastoralism have been in use for a number of years. In particular pastoral organizations such as AREN (Association pour la Redynamisation de l'Elevage au Niger) have organized these kinds of multi-stakeholder meetings (Arzika and Saidou 2003). Unfortunately most forums just end up with a long list of recommendations, usually addressed at others. The purely informal character of most forums and the heavy dependency on outside assistance are another problem.

The Nigero-German development programme 'Lutte Contre la Pauvrete' (LUCOP) (Programme to Fight Poverty) has used the forum approach since 2006 in order to assist local stakeholders to improve the management of natural resources and pastoralism in its pastoral zone area of the LUCOP intervention zone in central Niger.

This brief outlines the experience of the LUCOP forum approach and summarizes some conclusions. The results of the forums were followed up in a survey among participants of the forums, and two follow-up workshops (Sommerhalter 2006; DeCampos and Watakane 2007) with key participants. The findings in this paper are also based on an impact evaluation made with 237 decision makers and ordinary producers (Botto 2008). The inquiries took place at the level of the projects' pastoral zone and also included pastoralists outside the area but migrating to the zones in which the forums were held.

The Legal Framework for Pastoral Land Use and Tenure

The Sahelo-Saharian country is semi-arid to arid. The strongly seasonal and highly variable rainfall declines from 800 mm in the south to nearly 0 mm in the Saharan north. Livestock production, being the second source of income for the rural population in general, is the first source of income in the mostly purely pastoral northern two-thirds of the country. Areas with less than 350 mm average yearly rainfall are completely dominated by mobile pastoral production systems. In drought years, one can safely assume that for the whole of Niger most livestock production is to a certain degree mobile. Although livestock production involves about 90 per cent of the population of Niger, mobile livestock production is the domain of Fulani (including Wodaabe), Tuareg, Arab and Toubou people. However, many (sometimes big livestock owners) are of people with a more agricultural background such as Haussa or Djerma/Songhrai. …

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