Action plan for the project :

For the triennium : Available, commonly cited numbers of pastoralists worldwide have not originated from data collection or compilation of records across nations, but instead have been derived from coarse expert base assessments. Reference statistic repositories such as FAOSTAT – fed by national statistic services – do not keep specific data on pastoralist systems. Estimates, in addition to being largely unreliable, vary largely, from 25 to 60 percent extent of emerged lands and 50 million to 500 million pastoralists. This hampers any global analysis, for example, of the potential adaptability of the livelihood in the face of global change, or of the costs and benefits of the practice for biodiversity conservation. Data, however, exist in abundance, although they are restricted to sub-national repositories. Furthermore, advancing the monitoring of pastoralism towards a sustainable development path will require additional data in the form of suitable indicators. These indicators should capture well environmental, social and economic dimensions. The strengths and weaknesses of diverse sustainability indicators have been extensively discussed, yet such developments have overlooked the particular characteristics of pastoralism systems, hence their suitability to capture the vulnerabilities of these systems requires examination. This program will foster a working network of core researchers that have been involved in the pilot phase, and extend this network to include academics and relevant stakeholders to have an adequate global coverage of diverse pastoralism systems. The program will utilize working groups and writing retreats to advance this network and develop a global database and map of pastoralism that will encourage citizen participation through an online platform.

The program will connect and practice two-way communication with relevant international stakeholders (e.g. FAO, IUCN, WISP) to initiate changes in pastoralism awareness and its links to biodiversity globally. It will capitalise on existing networks and knowledge, bringing together actors and regions not only to contribute data, but to ensure that diverse pastoralist contexts are considered. The chairs of the project have expertise and collaboration networks in East Africa and Central Asia, while other steering group members and participants cover well all other world regions. The steering committee will make sure that all regional voices are heard, and that pilot tests of the indicator framework will be carried out at each region. J. Eronen will be responsible for Scandinavia; M.Cabeza and D. Burgas for East Africa; P. Manzano for Southern Europe and West Africa; N.C. Stenseth and Z. Zhan for China, N. Ghotge for South Asia, P. Frere for Latin America and M. Ferdandez-Gimenez for North America and Mongolia.

Global network:

A number of global, regional and national pastoralism networks exist (e.g. the global network -WAMIP, or the Eastern and Southern Africa Pastoralist network –ESAPN) although these networks have focus on the civil society and their rights, representing advocacy movements. Many of these networks hold the potential to act as nodes for gathering global data of pastoralism in a standard and accurate manner. Such a development is what the program aims to focus on (see action plan for the first year).

Global database and Mapping (2019-2022) :

The ultimate objective of the program is to develop a global database of pastoralism with an associated map of the practice, built up following robust standards.

The program would focus on developing the structure of the database. Population of the database will be initiated along the program in two phases:

First Phase: data will be compiled at national levels on basic pastoralism statistics (see detailed Action plan) through the network, and progressively complemented with data at higher resolutions [Objective 1].

Second Phase: Data structure for the selected indicators will be developed and 3-5 pilot projects will be set to generate data and serve as first examples in the database [Objective 2].

Webpage (2019-2022):

The program will develop a website that will serve as a) a portal for interaction of the core members, b) a platform to foster the global pastoralist network and c) a visualization and data-query tool for the global dataset. The webpage will also provide a tool for participatory data input.

Working groups:

A number of working groups will be sponsored through the program to advance decisions on standards and develop networking activities. We envision working groups with participation of core members (steering committee and collaborators involved during the pilot phase) and varying invited academics and stakeholders, with a maximum of 20 participants per working group. One working group on Global pastoralism mapping will be initiated in 2019 to address Objective 1. Another working group will be formed in 2021 to proceed with Objective 2. Additional working groups may be considered.

Writing retreats:

Following the model of the pilot phase, writing retreats will be promoted to a) produce synthesis outputs in the form of articles and/or policy briefs, and b) write grant proposals to maximize the adoption and use of the outcomes of the program. Additional funding to support the first year of the program is available to the Chair of the program, Mar Cabeza, through a seed funding fund of the University of Helsinki, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (2000 €) which includes part-time salary for an administrative coordinator. Further funding to support the planned activities will be applied from various sources, including an EU Cost network. To minimize travelling costs, meeting activities will be planned at nodal network points and when possible coincide with relevant international meetings (e.g. FAO) which bring overseas participants to Europe. Online updating meetings of the steering committee will take place bimonthly.