Weather and resource information as tools for dealing with farmer–pastoralist conflicts in the Sahel

Mertz, Ole; Rasmussen, Kjeld; Rasmussen, Laura Vang

Conflicts between pastoralists and farmers in the Sahel mainly arise from competition over land and water resources or because of livestock damage to crops. Rather than being linked to larger environmental change processes such as climate change, conflicts are often caused by inappropriate zoning of land, governance and unequal power relations between stakeholders. However, conflicts may be affected by more short-term weather and resource information that guide mobility of pastoralists. In this paper, we therefore explore if improved weather and resource information and improvement in its communication could prevent conflicts or reduce their severity. Based on a survey of key stakeholders involved in dissemination of weather and resource information and studies on pastoral access to and use of information, we conclude that improved information may both reduce and increase the level of conflict, depending on the context. Communication of information will need to go beyond just the weather and resource information and also include the multiple options for herd movements as well as providing information on herd crowding and potential conflict areas.

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Mertz, Ole / Rasmussen, Kjeld / Rasmussen, Laura Vang: Weather and resource information as tools for dealing with farmer–pastoralist conflicts in the Sahel. 2016. Copernicus Publications.

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