By Akanimo Sampson
The United Nations is currently supporting the government of Chad to improve its border management and resolve conflicts linked to transhumance since movements by herders have been a source of clashes between the agro-pastoral communities, particularly in Moyen Chari, a province in Southern Chad.
Transhumance movements’ is a modern term for a very old tradition: the foraging of scarce pasturage by traditional herders. In the region between Southern Chad and the Central African Republic, such activities are considered in the modern age among the largest on the planet in the world, according to the International Crisis Group.
Herders are moving cyclically along traditional transhumance corridors, both within the country’s boundaries and across borders, in search of fodder for their livestock.
Across the region, herders and farmers communities are greatly affected by a mismanagement of pastures and transhumant cross-border movements which is causing significant disputes, with regular casualties, mainly due to a mutual misunderstanding.
In addition, climate change and ongoing inter-communal conflicts disrupt the traditional patterns of agro-pastoral communities, prompting new challenges for nomadic herders and host communities.
As part of its efforts to support the government to effectively improve border management and resolve conflicts linked to transhumance, the UN agency, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Chad on November 19 presented its new guide for practitioners on the safe and orderly management of transhumance flows and cross-border information exchange.
Designed together with an international human rights expert and in conjunction with the Government of Chad, the guide covers topics including the identification, referral and protection of vulnerable pastoralists; the best methods to combat trafficking in persons; management of tension linked to cross-border movements and profiling techniques.
Commending the project, the Deputy Director of the National Police General Directorate, Benguela Guidjinga, said “border management has improved and the dialogue around transhumance between the two countries, Chad and the Central African Republic has helped addressing difficulties created by weak institutional and political dialogue on transhumance issues.”
The project Restoration of Peace and Dialogue between Communities Affected by Transboundary Transhumance aims to strengthen dialogue and peace through data collection of pastoral mobility.
This cross-border project, funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), implemented by IOM and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Chad and the Central African Republic, and aims to strengthen dialogue and peace at the community level for the prevention and management of conflicts between agro-pastoral communities.
The November 19 event gathered representatives of the government, UN agencies, local civic groups, members of the transhumance community and traditional authorities who shared their feedback and inputs. The finalised guide is expected to be made available in the beginning of 2020.