Efforts to harmonize policies for 12 million citizens
The pastoralist movement represents 12% of the 100 million strong Ethiopian populations. Nevertheless, it is widely recognized that this important part of society had been marginalized throughout the past. In addition to limited access to schools, hospitals or political decision making processes, pastoralists are suffering because of recent developments in climate change and ongoing insecurity in the border regions.
During a conference on “Pastoral Development and Pastoralism in Ethiopia”, jointly organized by the Ministry of Federal and Pastoralist Development Affairs, the Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung State Minister H.E Mr. Kaydaki Gezahegn underlined the importance of the pastoralist movement for local and regional development in Ethiopia. He also took the opportunity to elaborate upon the various efforts being made by the Ethiopian government to improve their lives – in accordance with their ways of living.
This viewpoint was widely shared by the participants of the conference, which consisted of more than one hundred officials of different government branches and representatives of various international aid agencies working in that sector.
A strategy to harmonize the different government policies regarding pastoralism was also intensively discussed. In his intervention, Hon. Mohammed Yusuf, Chairperson of the Pastoralist Affairs Standing Committee (PASC) in the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) stated that the official recognition of the Ethiopian Pastoralist Day by the government would hopefully lead to more integration of the pastoralist community within the larger community.
Still, a lot remains to be done. The conference on Pastoralist Development and Pastoralism in Ethiopia in Addis Abeba could be the starting point for an intensified effort by all stakeholders to improve the lives of the pastoralist communities in Ethiopia.