Camilla Toulmin, Senior Associate and former director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, offered a short video commentary on the PASTRES project following our launch in May last year.
At our launch workshop last May, we invited a number of the participants to comment on the themes of the PASTRES project in short video clips. These complement the ones already shared from the PASTRES team on China, Italy and Kenya, as well as the project overall.
Echi (Christina) Gabbert, from the University of Goettingen in Germany and coordinator of the Lands of the Future network, discusses, in the video below, the way pastoralists are experts at responding to a tough reality, able to improvise and make use of practical knowledge.
The PASTRES project has been extremely busy during 2018. This blog presents an overview of activities covered in the recent newsletter. If you haven’t already, do sign up for the bi-annual newsletter, here.
Following our launch event at IDS, Sussex in May, we have recruited three PASTRES PhD students who will be joining us at IDS, Sussex early next year. They will be joined by three more PhD students, also working on pastoralism issues. We have also selected a number of new honorary affiliates who will work closely with the project, contributing to the agenda.
The pastoral areas of the Tibetan plateau in China have been through numerous upheavals over the past decades. From collectivisation to the household responsibility system, to increasing individualization and marketization in recent times. Over the last decade in particular, massive investments have been made in infrastructure development, with roads, rail lines and new towns and cities being built across the plateau.
Eastern Africa is home to some of the world’s fastest growing economies. Foreign capital has streamed into this region over the past ten to fifteen years – into large infrastructure programmes consisting of roads, railways, ports and pipelines, and into large resource developments ranging from geo-thermal in Kenya’s Rift Valley to windfarms in Kenya and neighbouring Ethiopia, and oil and gas projects in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. New motorways, shopping centres and office towers are sprouting in the region’s capital cities – a testament to the new wealth that is flowing in and being created.
Yet much of the large investment happens in rural areas – places distant from political and commercial centres, where the state let alone multi-national capital has rarely made itself felt. Many of these areas also have complex conflict legacies, and elaborate locally-specific ways of managing conflict and making peace. That is the genesis of a recent project on ‘Large-scale resource development at the rural margins’ – to understand what happens to governance and conflict in remote rural areas where large new developments are unfolding.
Pastoralists in Isiolo county in northern Kenya feel under siege, with their way of life under threat. Isiolo has been the home of the Waso Boran pastoralists for many decades, but attacks from neighbouring Somali herders, encroachments by agriculturalists from Meru, expansion of conservancies and planned road, pipeline and resort city mega-projects are affecting all pastoral livelihoods, creating many new risks and uncertainties. One elder warned us: “We were the majority in our area, but now we are becoming a minority. This means conflict is coming”.
In a scoping visit for the PASTRES fieldwork in Kenya, the PASTRES team talked to many people. Government officials in town, local experts and activists and pastoralists at water points and other meeting places. A number of themes emerged, each of which highlight different dimensions of uncertainty.
Most people’s image of Sardinia is based on the picture-postcard scenes of beaches and smart tourist resorts along the coast. But Sardinia also has an important livestock production sector, and pastoralism is central to the wider economy. Sardinia is most famous for its pecorino cheese, made from sheep’s milk. Most of us know the hard grating Pecorino Romano PDO cheese exported globally, but there are multiple other varieties too, and sheep, goat and cow’s milk production for cheese-making and meat offtake are all-important.
By Linda Pappagallo
Payments for ecosystem services (PES) schemes are gaining popularity as an environmental and development policy tool, linked to poverty reduction as well as enhancing ecosystem sustainability. Spurred by environmental motives, different financial and non-financial incentive schemes are designed, theoretically to create positive social and environmental impacts. For example, as part of the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), payments for agri-environmental measures are offered.
The PASTRES country lead for China, Gongbuzeren, has a fascinating new article out in Ecology and Society (open access), together with Lynn Huntsinger and Wenjun Li. It is based on extended fieldwork on the Tibetan plateau and explores how pastoral communities are responding to rapid economic and policy change.
By Jeremy Lind
The past ten years have seen the spread of large-scale investments in infrastructure, resources and land across pastoral areas of eastern Africa. In the past, these areas were insignificant to states in the region and large capital from beyond – at least compared to the region’s agrarian highlands and Indian Ocean coast. Yet, the recent rush to construct pipelines, roads, airports, wind farms, and plantations – to give a few examples – signals a new spatial politics that binds the pastoral margins ever closer to state power and global capital.