Pastoralists seek recognition as stewards of biodiversity

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity commits it signatory countries to protect and encourage customary use of biological resources in accordance with traditional cultural practices that are compatible with conservation and sustainable use requirements (Article 10c).

Many traditional pastoralist communities would qualify for support by their governments. Alas, in reality, they are generally ignored or scorned upon by policy makers.

On 19-23 May 2008, the government parties to the Convention will meet in Bonn, Germany, to discuss progress in implementing the Convention.

Parallel to the official meetings, a Planet Diversity event will bring together grassroots organizations that promote cultural and biological diversity.

The League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development and Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan (India) will use the opportunity to lobby for an official acknowledgment of the role of pastoralists in conserving various aspects of biodiversity, including those of domestic animals, certain wild plants and animals, as well as landscapes.

LPP and its partners have gained allies among shepherds in Germany, who often get paid to herd sheep on land to maintain its biodiversity. Another strong supporter is the LIFE Network for community-based conservation of animal genetic resources.

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