An interregional workshop on best practices on farmer-herder dynamics in West and Central Africa was held in Cameroon. Participants from four Central African nations and three West African countries participated. They discussed alternatives to traditional transhumance as well as best practices for conflict avoidance and management. The workshop was part of the UNOCA and UNOWAS project on the dynamics of conflicts between herders and farmers in Central and West Africa. It provided alternatives to traditional transhumance, mainly through various sedentarization models, in a sustainable or ad hoc structural form.
An interregional workshop on best practices on farmer-herder dynamics in West and Central Africa was organised by 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) from September 29 to 30 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Participants from four Central African nations (Cameroon, CAR, Chad, and DRC) and three West African countries participated in the workshop, which was organized with the help of the Government of Cameroon and the Office of the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations system in Cameroon (Benin, Burkina Faso, and the Gambia).
Aside from discussing alternatives to traditional transhumance, the participants also exchanged excellent practices for conflict avoidance and management, particularly those including early warning, dialogue, and supervisory methods. They emphasised the value of organising the numerous conversation channels, branches at all levels, and the state’s backing.
Participants emphasised the significance of these mechanisms’ inclusivity, including women’s and young people’s participation and their adaptation to the local context. The participants urged the states to increase transhumance supervision at the municipal, national, and regional levels. They suggested that when establishing regulatory frameworks, local circumstances should be considered. Participants acknowledged the need to revive joint commissions while highlighting their value.
The workshop also provided alternatives to traditional transhumance, mainly through various sedentarization models, in a sustainable or ad hoc structural form in specific locales, together with ancillary measures to assure their sociocultural and economic acceptance.
The panellists emphasised the importance of securing the transhumance corridors to prevent insecurity and promote peaceful transhumance. Participants underlined the necessity to develop economic options given how easily armed groups might use young people for their own gain or for recruiting. In this regard, social cohesion was crucial in averting violent cycles and enhancing relationships between various groups and governmental agencies.
It was also suggested that the narrative around transhumance be changed to combat the stigmatisation of particular communities. Participants emphasised the significance of highlighting the economic potential of this activity rather than the security challenges in the story. The participants agreed that combined field trips would be an excellent way to deepen the exchange of experiences.
The creation of a community of practice was discussed. It will be a vital component of the roadmap for the following phases of the joint UNOCA and UNOWAS project on the dynamics of conflicts between herders and farmers in Central and West Africa. This will enable countries and regions to encourage and systematise the sharing of effective practices.
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network