Rules of the range: natural resources management in Kenya–Ethiopia border areas

Working and discussion papers
September 2011

Pastoralists in the border areas of northern Kenya and southern Ethiopia have well-developed indigenous institutions to manage their rangelands, regulate the sharing of water and pasture and govern livestock mobility, including across the international border. These institutional aspects have rarely been given the necessary attention in national policy-making and state policies and actions have not recognised the right of pastoralists to own or manage their rangelands. The expropriation of parts of the rangeland is one reason why pastoralists’ livelihoods have lost resilience, and thousands have been pushed out of pastoralism and forced to urban areas to find alternative work.

This study explores institutional issues around rangeland management and mobility and their link to livelihoods resilience to provide entry points for government agencies, international donors, regional bodies and I/NGOs wanting to support initiatives in cross-border natural resources management. It recommends that, for pastoralism to remain a viable livelihood option, and one which continues to contribute millions of dollars to national economies, institutional arrangements around natural resources and land management must be better understood and better supported.

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