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Cross-border coordination of livestock movements and sharing of natural resources among pastoralist communities in the Greater Karamoja Cluster

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Operationalising the humanitarian-development-peace nexus through the promotion of intercommunity coexistence


The Greater Karamoja Cluster (GKC) encompasses the southwestern parts of Ethiopia, northwestern Kenya, the southeastern parts of South Sudan and northeastern Uganda. Pastoralism is the principal source of livelihood in the GKC. Pastoralists in the GKC largely depend on natural seasonal pastures and water resources for their survival. Livestock mobility remains the prime strategy employed by pastoralists and agropastoralists to cope with the seasonality and changing distribution of these resources. While the human population is estimated at 4.5 million, the livestock population amounts to approximately 9 million cattle, over 11 million sheep, close to 16 million goats and 100 000 donkeys and camels.

Pastoralist groups traditionally rely on interdependent relationships and the symbiotic sharing of knowledge and resources. However, changing state borders have contributed to tensions and restricted their mobility. Climate change has since worsened intercommunal conflicts and disputes over natural resources, straining the pastoralists’ ability to move their herds beyond their communities’ own lands. Located at the periphery of each country’s capital, the drought-prone, cross-border region has the lowest social development indicators (e.g. education and health) and the worst access to services (e.g. agricultural extension services). Though livestock is a crucial livelihood asset, the region is poorly integrated into national livestock marketing systems and conspicuously absent from the vibrant business of livestock exports from the Horn of Africa.