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RESPONSES TO CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS BY PASTORALIST POPULATIONS IN THE GREATOR HORN OF AFRICA (GHA) RICHARD S. ODINGO UNIVERSITY OF MAIROBI MAY 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "RESPONSES TO CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS BY PASTORALIST POPULATIONS IN THE GREATOR HORN OF AFRICA (GHA) RICHARD S. ODINGO UNIVERSITY OF MAIROBI MAY 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 RESPONSES TO CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS BY PASTORALIST POPULATIONS IN THE GREATOR HORN OF AFRICA (GHA) RICHARD S. ODINGO UNIVERSITY OF MAIROBI MAY 2014

2 INTRODUCTORY REMARKS Climate variability, and climate change have played havoc with the lives of pastoralist populations who dwell in the arid and semi-arid lands of the African continent for millenia. Excellent examples of climate impacts on pastoral livelihoods and survival are to be found in the Sahelian lands of West Africa, as well as the comparable Sahelian lands of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA). In West Africa extending eastwards into the Sudan Republic and the rest of the IGAD countries the experiences are similar if not comparable.

3 HISTORCAL CONTEXT In this address we will concentrate on the Greater Horn of Africa(GHA) where droughts and floods are major climatic phenomena causing excessive human mobility with nomadic and even agricultural populations in search of refuge crossing borders at will. Such droughts can best be understood if they arestudied against the background of long- term shifts in climate-or climate change.

4 One can go back hundreds if not thousands of years to be able to fully explain the impacts of climate risks on pastoral populations. Prior to colonisation, both agriculturalists, and pastoral nomads were free to wander to areas with pasture and water, or food without having to explain to anyone, except those who chose violence.

5 GHA CLIMATE FACTS The GHA is an area of climate extremes which go back several millenia. In the last 3000 years we have had to deal with short term variations and actual climate change. The human record in this sub-region is littered with extreme events dominated by droughts and famines with locust infestations as well as floods and disease which have forced people to migrate in search of solutions.

6 GHA CLIMATE FACTS II What is relevant for our story is the fact that all these “climatic accidents” have resulted in massive population movements within a single state, or human migrations where more than one state is involved. Following the occurrence of a disaster, such as a bad drought,relief centres overflow, and boundaries are crossed without permission. It is because of this that there is need for governments of adjacent countries to meet.

7 REDUCING MOBILITY In theory it should be possible to reduce human mobility by tackling climate change, but this is beyond possibility, hence the need for the establishment of IGAD-wide institutions charged with finding acceptable solutions. The truth of the matter is that there are no ready-made solutions to deal with pasoral communities in IGAD countries.

8 FINDING SOLUTIONS Efforts at sedenterization of nomads have not been successful Turning pastoralists into agriculturalists goes against the cultural trend as we have learned from the Maasais of Kenya It was because of such realization that IGAD countries have resorted to institutional structures charged with finding long-term solutions.

9 DISASTER RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH ARID AND SEMI-ARID LANDS  The crowning and common climate related disasters are the frequent occurrence of severe droughts sprinkled with a few floods which are equally disruptive of pastoralist pursuits.  History of existence in the Sahelian lands is punctuated by droughts, famine, and floods, locust infestations, and disease ravages which have in the past and present triggered massive population movements by nomads looking for new pastures, as well as sustenance.

10 IMPLICATIONS OF MASSIVE DISPLACEMENTS Pastoralists forced to flee from their lands as a result of drought have no time to plan their journeys or to look for visas. They cross into neighboring countries through porous borders with their flocks and head for the nearest watering, and grazing places, as their very survival depends on that of their flocks. Apparently this has been the story from the 15 th century when climate begun to change, as a result of human interference.

11 AFRICA BEFORE THE BERLIN CONFERENCE 1884 Pastoralist movements were unconstrained except by tribal conflicts before the european powers started the “Scramble for Africa” when they not only divided the continent, and also drew many fictitious boundaries to back their claim. Henceforth free movements for the nomadic pastoralists would be constrained if not contained

12 MEANINGLESS BOUNDARIES  Many pastoralist tribes found that they were cut into two or three by the new colonial boundaries  The Maasai found themselves in the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya, and in Tanganyika Territory, Somalis found themselves in Kenya and Italian Somaliland, the Pokot found themselves in Kenya and Uganda. Many other small tribes were separated by the new colonial boundaries, and when remained “Nomads” and felt they did not need permission to go back and fourth depending on the rains.

13 THE SAHEL IN WEST AFRICA  These are the arid and semi-arid lands which lie south of the Sahara Desert, and includes Sudan which for purposes of this paper is treated together with the IGAD countries. Over decades, drought episodes have been common. There is a history of droughts in the Sahel for over 3000 years, and this was also the period where human impacts combined with the process of desertification to highlight the plight of the Sahel.

14 WRITING ABOUT DROUGHT AND LOSS OR DAMAGE IN SSA IS HISTORICAL  The history of Africa is full of tales about drought and famines, and it is not possible to understand the history of Sub Saharan Africa( SSA) without following the innumerable droughts and how they resulted in massive population migrations throughout the continent.  It may never be possible to quantify the loss and damage which can be attributed to droughts in Africa, but one can learn from recently well- recorded episodes such as those quoted here which can be used for comparison.

15 PATTERNS OF DROUGHT IN THE SAHEL

16 WRITING ABOUT DROUGHT AND LOSS OR DAMAGE IN SSA IS HISTORICAL  The history of Africa is full of tales about drought and famines, and it is not possible to understand the history of Sub Saharan Africa( SSA) without following the innumerable droughts and how they resulted in massive population migrations throughout the continent.  It may never be possible to quantify the loss and damage which can be attributed to droughts in Africa, but one can learn from recently well- recorded episodes such as those quoted here which can be used for comparison.

17 A LOOK AT NORTH-EAST KENYA AND NEIGHBORING SOMALIA A look at North-Eastern Kenya and neighboring Somalia has got some lessons for us. Attempts by Kenya to improve conditions for pastoralists by improving grazing areas and digging boreholes drew nomads from the neighbors during droughts, and vice-versa (Map shows) The traditional movements by pastoral nomads are difficult to change (Map2)

18 THE KENYA-SOMALIA BOUNDARY

19 HUMAN DISPLACEMENT  A recent report by Bailey of Chatham House has indicated that extreme events, in particular drought and floods have been responsible for the displacement of hundrds of thousand people, and tens of thousands have died in the process.  An example from GHA can be quoted where in 2011 drought created an emergency affecting 12 million people, and this was the fourth such event since 2000.

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21 DROUGHTS AND FAMINE IN THE SAHELIAN LANDS OF AFRICA The history of Sub Saharan Africa in the last one thousand years is littered with big losses of human lives due to prolonged droughts, accompanied by famines. The particular localities most affected are covered by the ecological conditions which could loosely be called “the Sahelian Lands of Africa”, but more appropriately they could be referred to as the “Semi-Arid Lands”

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23 DROUGHT CHARACERISTICS  Some of the worst droughts in GHA have featured in the form of low rainfall covering several seasons in a row, and leading to what they refer to in the Sahel in West Africa, as “dessication”. Recent examples of this in the GHA left up to 16 million affected populatins without food, and this is the typical example of a climate risk which leads to an explosion of eople crossing borders in search of sustainance.

24 Recurrent severe droughts and/or high rainfall variability in pastoral & agro-pastoral areas … GHA: RECENT CLIMATIC VULNERABILITY 1.Investigated severe inter-annual drought, using a threshold of “less than 50%” of long-term average 2.Rainfall variability was computed using the coefficient of variation on annual totals ( )

25 GOVERNMENT PARALYSIS IN THE FACE OF INCREASING RISKS  Even with early warning, such widespread droughts tend to paralyse governments. When the priority becomes feeding hungry populations, the fact that people tend to cross borders in large nunbers is almost forgotten, and the need for pre-existing institutions such as is being proposed by the Nansen Initiative acquire special relevance

26 CONTROLLING FORCED MIGRATION As already demonstrated, governments find it particularly difficult to controll forced movements under the glare of the international press. Such a situation faced many GHA countries in 1984 with Ethiopia taking the lead in the sub-region. Subsequently Kenya too has had its embarrassing moments when large numbers of starving populations followed bad droughts.

27 THE NEED FOR A BASKET OF MITIGATIONS The threat of global warming is no longer a threat, but a fact. A basket of solutions along what the Nansen Initiative is called for better handling of problems at the local, and international levels. Drought Early warning, such as provided by FEWSNET is an essential part of the process. The next 100 years will see temperatures rising, followed by sea level rise, as well as the spread of diseases’ to face these threats, GHA countries must be prepared.

28 END THANKS


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