Regional symposium on pastoral livestock, N'Djaména (Chad), 27-29 May 2013



A sustainable contribution to development-security of the Sahara-Sahelian areas

The regional symposium illustrated that concrete action linking “security and development” can be implemented in the Sahara-Sahelian areas through pastoralism, simultaneously contributing to its revival. Bringing together livestock experts from North Africa and West Africa, political decision-makers, representatives of pastoral farmers’ organisations, civil society and the private sector, as well as financial and technical partners, some 250 people participated in the debates. The regional symposium was co-organised by the Agence française de développement (French Agency for Development - AFD), the SWAC Secretariat and the Government of Chad, with the support of the EU, IFAD, IUCN and Switzerland. A high-level roundtable, chaired by HE Mr Joseph Djimrangar Dadnadji, Prime Minister of Chad, drew lessons and conclusions from the symposium, resulting in the Declaration of N’Djaména. 

> Summary record - French

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"Pastoral farming is a solution against abandoned space and the related risk of instability. It is, at the same time, an answer to social, economic and environmental problems and must therefore be placed at the core of stabilisation strategies and policies."

Emphasising the need for regional co-operation, the Declaration sends an important message to policymakers responsible for strategies aimed at stabilising and developing the Sahara-Sahelian areas: pastoral farming is a solution against abandoned space and the related risk of instability. It is, at the same time, an answer to social, economic and environmental problems and must therefore be placed at the core of stabilisation strategies and policies.

As pastoral livestock and trade constitute one of the main legal and peaceful activities in the areas concerned, they form a crucial line of defence against insecurity across the region. Through their regular presence in uninhabited zones, transhumant pastoralists limit the physical space available to terrorists and criminal networks and defend against the creation of ungovernable no man’s lands.

To further capitalise on this advantage, the Declaration calls on states and breeders to work together to strengthen the livelihoods and resilience of nomadic communities by placing pastoralism at the core of strategies for development and security. The Declaration identifies four priority areas for action: 1) Improving governance; 2) Strengthening the resilience of pastoral communities; 3) Enhancing the economic sustainability of the pastoral livestock sector; and 4) Enhancing the social sustainability of communities in the Sahara-Sahelian areas.

Recommendations include involving pastoralists in governance and public life, increasing their access to natural resources and basic social services, and strengthening inter-state co-operation to facilitate cross-border mobility. Regional and international stakeholders committed to work toward leveraging pastoral livestock to enhance security and development in the Sahara-Sahelian areas.




Forty years ago, unparalleled droughts put the Sahel under the spotlight of international attention. This series of climate disasters resulted in the massive influx of emergency aid and a desire to better understand the region to prevent future crises. Today, the Saharo-Sahelian region has regained global attention, due to the insecurity plaguing the area. It is perceived as a threat against the stability of the region’s States and against international security. Necessary emergency security responses have been put in place, costing lives and encroaching on national budgets. This context makes the formulation of long-term development solutions difficult, although these will constitute the foundations for the future stability of these areas.



Focus areas

  • Retrospective and prospective analyses: in-depth analysis of the history of the Sahara and the Sahel, of its insecurities, its economy and of pastoralism; identification of current and future challenges; reflection on the role of mobility (and by extension, that of pastoral livestock) in the face of transnational threats (the movement of mafia and terrorist groups, illegal trafficking, etc.)
  • Analysis of public policies: in-depth analysis of the creation and the modalities of public policies regarding the development of the Saharo-Sahelian areas and the promotion of pastoral livestock
  • Proposals for action: proposals for technical and political action for the creation of a strategy that promotes pastoral livestock herding at the centre of the efforts for security and development




  • 27 May, 2013:  Introduction
    • Opening statement by Prime Minister Djimrangar Dadnadji
    • Introduction to the symposium: pastoral livestock herding and factors of insecurity
  • 28 May, 2013:  Thematic workshops (carried out simultaneously)
    • Workshop 1: Governance and security – challenges and public policy responses
    • Workshop 2: Strengthening the resilience of pastoralist communities – challenges and public policy responses
    • Workshop 3: Strengthening the economic and social sustainability of pastoralist communities – challenges and public policy responses
  • 29 May, 2013: Feedback from the workshops in plenary and closing remarks
    • Ministerial Conference (carried out simultaneously) leading to the Declaration of N’Djaména




The Symposium brought together some 200 participants from West African and North African countries: livestock sector experts, representatives of pastoral organisations, policy makers at national and regional levels as well as development partners. His Excellency Idris Déby, President of the Republic of Chad, alongside Sahelian and North African Ministers and high-level representatives from respective regional economic communities participated in the High-level Roundtable (Ministerial Conference) on 29 May.





The debates of the symposium served as substantive inputs for the Declaration of Nouakchott  - Mobilising jointly an ambitious effort to ensure pastoralism without borders, approved on 29 October 2013 by six Sahelian countries and a multistakeholder alliance led by CILSS and the World Bank, in collaboration with the AU, ECOWAS, FAO and UEMOA. The Nouakchott process calls the Declaration of N’Djaména “a major reference that summarises the existing frameworks and defines the priorities for a policy of support for regional pastoralism closely linking development and security issues.” It also makes reference to the Global Alliance for Resilience –  which “places pastoralism among its top priorities.” 



APESS - building a network of livestock organsiations

Interview with Aliou Ibrahima, APESS Secretary-General

"The deep-seated changes of traditional pastoral systems require the ability to significantly adapt: demographic growth contributes to intensifying demand and exerts pressure on production capacities; unfair competition from imported meat (dumping) hinders local production’s competitiveness. Indeed, livestock breeders cannot meet these challenges individually; which is why APESS’ mission is so important. The livestock professionals’ strength will depend on their capacity to become mobilised within one powerful livestock movement." 





Livestock and the regional market in the Sahel and West Africa

This ECOWAS/SWAC study, conducted in collaboration with the CILSS, UEMOA and ROPPA within the framework of the Initiative “Potentials and Challenges for Strengthening the Regional Market”, is part of a strategic thinking process aiming to identify ways and means of enabling the livestock sector to play its role effectively as an engine of economic development in the individual countries and take part in the process of regional economic integration.



Policy notes

Drawing on outcomes of this study, a series of policy notes on the future of livestock has been produced to facilitate decision-making.


Valorising Regional Livestock Complementarities: A lever to better meet growing demand for animal products in the Sahel and West Africa

With a growth rate of animal products in the Sahel and West Africa estimated at 4% per year, demand is expected to increase by more than 250% by 2025. The importance of imports varies according to different zones and raises the following issues: Can regional demand be met at reasonable prices by increasing local production? If so, why the potential demand is not yet satisfied by regional production? Are current livestock policies in line with food security goals and with potential production?

> download the policy note nº1 (1,3 Mb) 

Implementing Trade Policies to Strengthen the Regional Animal Products Market

To ensure the stability and development of the livestock sector, it is very important to regulate competing imports, including by-products, and to harmonise cross-border trade policies. West Africa must define agricultural and trade policies that enable it to better integrate into the global market while optimising its potential production. Livestock is a very competitive product but the sub-sector is still largely unorganised and its transaction costs remain high (transporting live cattle very long distances and a lot of administrative hassle).

> download the policy note nº2 (1,4 Mb) 

Promoting and Supporting Change in Transhumant Pastoralism in the Sahel and West Africa

Transhumant pastoralism is important in the Sahel and West Africa's livestock sector and involves 70-90% of the Sahel’s cattle and 30-40% of its sheep and goats. Despite its importance, it still faces serious obstacles that threaten its potential production. The dramatic shrinkage in pastures as a result of expanding crop cultivation and the takeover by agriculture of key pastoral areas and the neglect of livestock in major dam projects on the Senegal and Niger rivers restricts the access of cattle to the Sahel’s resources.

> download the policy note nº3 (1,9 Mb) 

Strengthening the Role of Actors and Livestock Professionals: A Necessity to Stimulate Regional Trade

With the reduction or even the dismantling of checkpoints along trade routes and the abolition of customs duties on cattle exports to other UEMOA countries, professionals recognise that significant progress has been made in the free movement of people and goods. However, some actors stress the continuing bureaucratic “obstacles” involving illegal taxes imposed along international roads. Trade is slowed down as a result and the consumer ends up paying more than he should for animal products. How can actors contribute to stimulating animal production sectors in the Sahel and West Africa? What steps could strengthen the actors’ capacity?

> download the policy note nº4 (1,4 Mb) 

Science and Technology: Responding to Future Challenges in the Livestock Sector

Strengthening capacities and human resources in research are vital to the future of the livestock sector, yet little attention is paid to research policy. The lack of resources allocated to scientific research hinders development of technology to meet the needs of the range of livestock farming systems and the breeders themselves. What policies need to be adopted in order to strengthen the contribution of science and technology the promotion of animal sectors in the Sahel and West Africa?
> download the policy note nº5 (1,4 Mb) 

Processing of Agro-food animal products in the Sahel and West Africa: essential for strengthening intra and extra-regional trade

The fact that urban West African consumers are increasingly geared towards processed foods has often been neglected in the analysis of the evolution of the African food system. Policy Note No. 6, produced within the framework of the SWAC initiative on “Potentials and Challenges for Strengthening the Regional Market” focuses on the analysis of this phenomenon and its impact on intra and extra-regional trade. There is a gap that needs to be bridged between food consumption patterns and animal product marketing systems.
> download the policy note nº6 (0,8 Mb) 




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