For an International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists

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At the end of September, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations will vote for the adoption of an International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists. This vote was proposed by the Government of Mongolia.

Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Belgium, as a focal point of the CELEP, supports this initiative. For many years we have been advocating the cultural, socio-economic and environmental importance of pastoralism throughout the world.

A little-known but crucial issue

Did you know that 30 to 40% of the world’s surface is made of rangelands? And that about 500 million pastoralists keep them in good condition thanks to their herds?

More than a third of the Earth’s land surface are rangelands: natural grasses, shrubs or scattered trees, grazed and browsed by livestock and wildlife. They are critical to the livelihoods of 500 million pastoralists and have enormous potential for climate mitigation.

To increase awareness about this, the Government of Mongolia proposes an International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists. Erratic climate, population growth, unsustainable land-use change,… All these challenges need urgent global attention to guarantee food security and environmental services.

This international year will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals by enhancing sustainable land management and restoration. It will foster enlightened policies that recognize the economic and cultural values of rangelands and pastoralists but also their rights. It will also benefit the nutrition and wellbeing of all.

This is why we call upon the UN to designate an International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists at the 2020 meeting of the Committee on Agriculture.

Michèle Rivasi’s call to action

Michèle Rivasi, Member of European Parliament, understands the importance of pastoralism and supports the initiative. She explains why in this video.