South Sudan’s government officials on Wednesday held discussion with members from the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) on the protocol on transhumance in the Horn of Africa Region.
The meeting held in Torit town of Eastern Equatoria State to discuss was attended by representatives from the ministries of animal resources and fisheries, foreign affairs, and interior.
The two-day discussion seek to regularize and legalize cross-border movement of livestock in the region.
Louis Lobong Lojore, the Governor of Eastern Equatoria State, said the protocol could provide the much-needed solution to cross-border conflicts resulting from livestock.
“90percent of our people in Eastern Equatoria are good pastoralists and 10 percent are good farmers, we hope that this transhumance protocol in the IGAD region will give South Sudan some experience on how to regulate movement of livestock within the country,” Lobong Lojore, said in a statement.
Lobong said many concerned South Sudanese have been calling him about the transhumance protocol with an understanding that it was a legal instrument to regulate movement of livestock within the country.
“This protocol is for the whole of IGAD region, we in Eastern Equatoria border three countries, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia and our people take their animals to those countries, pastoralists from those countries also come to South Sudan so there should be law that will protect all of us,: he added..
The 32-article IGAD Protocol on Transhumance provides for; among other things, that “all transhumant livestock and herders shall be allowed free and safe passage across points of entry into and departure from each country…….on condition that they have the IGAD Transhumance Certificate.”
- Dr. Adan Bika, Head of Livestock atIGAD Centre for Pastoral Areas and Livestock (ICPALD) said.
Dr. Mohamed Elduma, the Acting head of IGAD Mission in South Sudan, said the protocol is expected to promote trade and reduce conflict in the region.
“This is the start, we have brought the community leaders to understand the protocol, making the protocol a reality is a process but we have started, time will come when we will bring all the beneficiaries of the protocol together to sensitize them on it,” Dr. Elduma said.
The three-year program towards a free movement regime in the IGAD region has been funded by European Union Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) to promote orderly cross-border mobility and migration, regional economic integration and development.
IGAD through its specialized unit ICPALD has conducted all-stakeholders’ consultation meetings at national levels to come up with an all-inclusive Protocol on Transhumance to support development and orderly cross-border mobility of transhumance pastoralists in the region.
National legal reviews and regional negotiations on the protocol were organized to ensure that the protocol speaks to the legal and policy frameworks of the Member States.
Further, IGAD through ICPALD had conducted assessment on the existing legal, policy and institutional frameworks that would be useful in the implementation process of the Protocol at MS level. IGAD has also conducted a benchmarking/learning mission to the ECOWAS region, which has shaped the process of both the IGAD Protocol and the implementation roadmap, as informed by the ECOWAS experience in their existing protocol on transhumance.
Participatory Mapping sessions have been conducted in the IGAD Karamoja Cluster to identify key cross border Transhumance corridor which will facilitation of cross-border pastoralist movements
The final Adopted protocol version will be submitted to the IGAD Ministers of Foreign Affairs in all IGAD Member states for signature in line with the 72nd Communique that Adopts the Protocols. The aim of the protocol is to promote an orderly free movement regime for transhumance to exploit the full social and economic potential of the pastoral system.