Benin + 6 more

Sahel Transhumance Crisis Response Plan 2020


Funding Required $13,000,000

Target Beneficiaries 2,000,000

IOM Vision

IOM supports its Member States to develop early alert mechanisms and to reinforce local conflict mitigation strategies to preempt and mitigate risk of conflicts associated with increasingly precipitated transhumant movements, which, if ungoverned, may lead to continuing and increasing clashes between mobile herders and sedentary farming and herder communities.

Context Analysis

Insecurity and climate variability have forced shifts in the seasonal migratory routes of transhumant movements throughout the Sahel, and between the Sahel and coastal countries in West and Central Africa. The precipitated and inconsistent arrival of international herder movements through agricultural lands across the sub-region have led to recurrent local conflicts as mobile herds graze on uncollected crops thereby diminishing revenue of the sedentary farming communities. Sedentary farming communities also have extended their use of lands beyond the traditional and agreed zones, thereby reducing possible passage corridors that had previously served as safe spaces for transhumant communities.

The past years have seen an escalation of clashes between mobile transhumant and sedentary herder and farming communities necessitating collective action to preempt and mitigate the risk of persistent loss of life and livelihoods across West and Central Africa. The Sahel has been particularly marked by these tensions in recent years, while coastal countries are increasingly reacting to ungoverned transhumant mobility fearing an increase in clashes in their countries, and recognising a risk of transhumant communities becoming stranded within their borders due to escalations of violence in the Sahel.

The Central Transhumance Corridor, spanning across Ghana, Togo, Niger, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali, is acutely impacted by the growing instability in the Central Sahel, which has led to notable shifts in traditional transhumant routes. This, in turn, has led to a hardened stance by coastal countries who opt to close their borders in an attempt to protect national farmers from losing valuable crops to precipitated grazing by mobile herds. These policy decisions, however, have not halted the passage of transhumant herds through the coastal countries but made these movements more opaque.

Recognising these dynamics, multiple intra-regional bodies have convened focused policylevel discussions to formulate cohesive regional strategies to prevent further risk of tensions in their States, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), accompanied by the largest regional herders' network, the Billital Maroobé Network (Réseau Billital Maroobé in French – RBM), and the Liptako Gourma Authority (ALG) who meet on a regular basis to take stock of the latest transhumance campaigns, grouped along the three primary transhumance corridors, and to discuss risk and vulnerabilities in the tri-State zone, namely Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, respectively.

As a result of these cyclical high-level consultations, two core gaps have been highlighted.
ECOWAS Member States remarked and deplored the region’s lack of unified understanding of transhumant movements, their numbers and routes, and noted the direct impact this has on their ability to make sound policy decisions. The ALG, in its governance of the collective responses to herder-farmer conflict in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, stressed the need for localised conflict mitigation approaches to successfully address these recurrent conflicts.