Saturday, July 3, 2010

Kenya / IOM and UN Partners Promote Regional Policy to Facilitate Pastoralists’ Movement Within and Across Borders

NAIROBI, Kenya, June 29, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM Press Briefing Notes

IOM in conjunction with the UN and partner agencies is working with governments in the Horn and East Africa to facilitate safe movements of pastoralists across border regions as a climate change coping mechanism.

The inter-agency initiative called Security in Mobility (SIM) conducted consultative assessments with local communities and their leaders in Kenya’s cross border regions between January 2009 and June 2010.

The regions visited include the Maasai, Karamoja and Somali regions, which border Tanzania, Uganda and Sudan, and Somalia and Ethiopia respectively. The initiative also advocates for an integrated approach to respond to humanitarian and development needs in pastoral communities.

The key findings of the assessments conducted reveal that:

* Climate change is resulting in unpredictable and extreme weather patterns and influencing mobility patterns amongst pastoralist communities
* Insecurity in pastoralist border regions has increased
* Some local governments facilitate cross-border mobility especially during drought
* Mobility is usually associated with conflict
* Pastoralists are frustrated with humanitarian aid and want sustainable solutions

The effects of climate change and its impact on pastoral communities are now more evident than ever, and evidence points to increased migration and conflict over scarce resources.

The lack of preparedness and relevant response to natural disasters has left millions in need of humanitarian assistance. According to United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) in 2009, close to 10 million people faced starvation in Kenya, of which three million were pastoralists.

The SIM initiative is calling on regional governments to develop a policy that facilitates safe movement of pastoralists within their countries and across borders using a collaborative approach that encompasses provision of humanitarian assistance, provision of basic services, facilitated migration and comprehensive security initiatives.

The launch of the SIM initiative was attended by more than 100 participants from Kenya and around the region, among them pastoralist community leaders, senior government representatives, members of the diplomatic corps, NGO members and various UN agency representatives.

IOM is partnering with three other agencies on the SIM initiative including: UN-OCHA, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

SOURCE: International Office of Migration (IOM)