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ECOWAS urges adoption of regulations on livestock, pastoralism to tackle insecurity, communal Conflict

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[FILE PHOTO] ECOWAS office

Governments of member countries of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) have been urged to implement regulations on livestock and pastoralism across the region to curb incessant farmers/herders crisis as well as other inter-community conflicts.

This was indicated in a presentation on the ECOWAS Legal framework on Transhumance and intercommunity conflict management presented by the Director of Agriculture and Rural Development of the ECOWAS Commission’s representative, Dr. Fouad Mohammed, at the Parliamentary Seminar on Transhumance and Intercommunity conflicts, holding in Monrovia, Liberia.

Fouad stated that Pastoralism is an essential component of the West Africa state economy; hence there is a necessity for it to be regulated to provide high-value and at the same time reduce conflict and insecurity.

He recalled a decision of 1998 and the adoption of a regulation in 2003 to regulate transhumance activities across the region by member countries, however, most member states have not implemented the regulations till date
 
“Just last year, the ministerial council agreed to review the regulations, because of some member states who are saying that the regulations do not conform to the reality in their countries. 

‘’Unfortunately, most of the member states were not able to implement this regulation in their countries so we couldn’t even identify the areas to review this regulation,” he stated.

According to him, the framework “is designed to foster free movement and integration which is a major objective of ECOWAS.
“The regulations are there, the implementation is slow, but we are getting there,” he said.

Fouad explained that the effective implementation of the regulation would provide the organisation of information and awareness-raising campaigns or sessions, communication, training and education for transhuman livestock farmers and the various stakeholders involved in transhumance in the zones of departure, transit, and reception of transhuman herds.

He added further that “It provides also, the setting up and/or revitalisation of pastoral organisations at national level so that they contribute to better transhumance management, as well as to the prevention and management of conflicts related to transhumance”.
 
“The regulation is going to make things better for member states, for them to be able to move freely within the region and also to curtail the spread of diseases. Because once you depart from your country to another country, you will be monitored and checked that you are not taking any diseases across to infect your localhost.”

The need for compliance by pastoralists, transhumant, farmers and other components of rural society with ECOWAS Community regulations relating to transhumance between the Member States was emphasized.

In a related development, Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, Moustapha Cisse Lo, while speaking during the opening ceremony of the Parliamentary Seminar on Transhumance and Intercommunity Conflicts in the ECOWAS Region underscored the commitment of the parliament to tackling Transhumance and Intercommunity conflicts in the region.  

He stated that the sub-region has been plagued by various crises for more than a decade with the most worrying being the rampancy of terrorism.

The Speaker recalled that on 26 April 2018 in Abuja, a specific meeting of Ministers responsible for Security and Agriculture/Livestock was held, preceded by a meeting of ECOWAS Experts on conflicts between livestock farmers and farmers, unfortunately, crises between various communities continue to worsen while ECOWAS and member countries move to combat the scourge.
 
The general objective of the on-going seminar is therefore to strengthen the capacities of Community Members of Parliament on issues related to the problem of transhumance and the management of inter-community conflicts within the ECOWAS region

Also speaking, the Speaker of the Liberia House of Representatives, Dr. Bhofal Chambers said that efforts by the regional body to bring about socio-economic synergy between and amongst the peoples of ECOWAS states must take cognizance of the respective cultures and values of its peoples. 

“Transhumance is the movement of people with their animals or livestock from one place to another in search of food and better weather for their livelihood, whilst intercommunity conflicts deal with people’s inability to coexist in social or cultural diversities,” Bhofal said. 

He further admonished the Parliament to consider the sociology of the people of the sub-region, ranging from their traditions, culture, religions and their respective economies to ensure a proper policy prescription that suits their wellbeing. 

“As the region moves more closely together, the means and mechanisms for ECOWAS citizens to live more peacefully cannot be over emphasized,” Bhofal said.  


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