Across the Sahel region, conflicts are growing more frequent and volatile along seasonal grazing routes between nomadic groups and farming communities. As demographic pressure, climate change and armed conflicts intensify the scarcity of natural resources, the micro-conflicts over transhumance are in danger of becoming militarised as inter-community and political tensions rise.
To reduce the risks, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) has been convening mediation processes in various parts in the Sahel region between herder and farmer communities since 2015 to prevent and peacefully manage disputes over natural resources. Over the last six years, HD has led conflict resolution training for 2,000 agropastoral mediators who have fanned out across 129 border communities in Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad.
This on-the-ground approach has proved its worth. The network of mediators has resolved 1,100 micro-conflicts over access to natural resources and transhumance, while more than 8,000 stolen or lost cattle have been returned to their owners.
The community mediators are also at the heart of mediation of local frameworks to sustainably improve the management mechanisms of disputed natural resources. Based on their experiences, the mediators engage with local and national authorities and the G5 Sahel framework on regional cooperation to outline structural reforms rooted in agropastoral realities and practices.
HD’s efforts are contributing to stability in the Sahel by re-establishing traditional mechanisms of mediation among communities and addressing the drivers of conflict – from population and climate issues to governance of rural areas, management of nomadism and the need for cultural, gender and socio-economic inclusion in dialogue and resolution processes.
We hope you find the report and video interesting and informative as HD works to reduce tensions, increase understanding and promote peaceful settlements of agropastoral conflicts in the Sahel.