Rewriting policy narratives on pastoralism

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.

Camilla has worked in particular on dryland agriculture and pastoralism in West Africa, and a forthcoming book will document changes in an agropastoral region of Mali over 35 years. Diversification – between crops and livestock, different types of livestock, different forms of family organisation and so on – is crucial for responding to uncertainties, she argues.

Livelihoods that combine different options are able to respond to unknown future risks more successful. This very often requires institutional innovation, whether at family, community or wider levels.

Challenging narratives on pastoralism that see pastoralists as backward, the cause of conflict and in need of settlement is an important task for the project. Creating positive alternative narratives, focusing on how pastoralists can offer wider lessons for responding to global uncertainties, is a vital ambition for the PASTRES project.

Camilla suggests that PASTRES offers an important new centre of excellence for understanding global pastoral systems.

Image credit: Prof. Ian Scoones

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