Joint interregional good practice visit on farmer-pastoralist dynamics in West and Central Africa
Cotonou, November 25, 2022 - The United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and the Office of the Special Coordinator for Development in the Sahel (OSCDS), carried out a joint inter-regional visit on farmer-herder dynamics in West and Central Africa, from November 24 to 25, 2022, in Cotonou (Benin).
Organized with the support of the Office of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Benin and the Office of the High Commissioner for the Sedentarization of Livestock Breeders in Benin, the joint interregional visit aimed to deepen good practices in this area, including the sedentarization approach in Benin.
In this regard, the High Commissioner for the sedentarization of herders presented the sedentarization policy that Benin has been implementing since 2021 which offers a unique model of alternatives to transhumance. The Beninese approach envisages the gradual implementation of the sedentarization of herders to modernize transhumance while considering the consequences of climate change combined with the pressures of population growth, security challenges and increased competition for access to natural resources. Representatives of Beninese herders' associations, as well as the Mayor of Banikoara and the Prefect of Borgou presented on the existing opportunities and challenges of implementing sedentarization policy at the local level. They noted efforts to strengthen social cohesion, the need for economic support to improve productivity, as well as increased efforts to support education for the younger generation.
The common goal of achieving cohesion and peaceful coexistence between the two communities (farmers and herders) was recognized by all. While recognizing the need to adapt transhumance to new realities, several participants from the region highlighted the difficulties of such an approach in Sahelian countries and expressed concerns regarding socio-cultural factors. During the exchange session with the United Nations system and technical and financial partners, options for supporting the new approaches were discussed.
This visit brought together participants from four Central African countries (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Chad) and two West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso). It follows the workshop on good practices held in Yaoundé from September 29 to 30, 2022 on farmer-herder dynamics in West and Central Africa. It will be followed by other joint visits in 2023.