Livestock keepers will participate in the launch of the Sustainable Livestock Agenda

Livestock keepers, such as this camel milk producer from the Thar Desert, will have a voice in the Sustainable Livestock Agenda (SLA).

Livestock keepers, such as this camel milk producer from the Thar Desert, will have a voice in the Sustainable Livestock Agenda (SLA).

Good news at the start of the New Year! The FAO is fully supporting participation of four livestock keepers ‘ representatives in the “third Multi-Stakeholder Platform meeting” for a Sustainable Livestock Agenda (SLA). This meeting will take place in Nairobi from 22-24th January and you can find more information at www.livestockdialogue.org.

We are elated that livestock keepers are getting due consideration as a separate stakeholder group and look forward to their inputs to the interesting and challenging process ahead!

Just to recap: The rationale of the SLA is the need for “accommodating demand growth for livestock products within the context of a finite natural resource” and the need for a “change in habits and practices from all stakeholders”. The common parameter to focus on is “natural resource use efficiency” –  the rate of conversion of critical natural resources like land, water, nutrients, and energy into livestock products and services, and emission intensity of Green House Gases (GHG).

This sounds good! Our only concern is that certain other angles whose metrics are not that easily grasped don’t get left out of the calculation. Such as biodiversity conservation (both wild biodiversity and domestic animal diversity), animal welfare, nutritional quality of livestock products, and of course rural livelihoods. If we do ignore these angles, then high input and industrial livestock production may come out on top in terms of “natural resource use efficiency”, but if we take a more holistic perspective, then my guess is that pastoralist and other “decentralised” modes of livestock production will certainly win. But lets wait and see!

For the time being, lets be grateful that there is at least one policy relevant process that has taken the lead in letting livestock keepers have a voice. We very much hope that other institutions will follow this example, thereby not only inching closer to adhering the concept of Livestock Keepers’ Rights, but also taking a step towards making their work more relevant and benefitting from a treasure trove of knowledge and experience.

Happy New Year once again!

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About ikrweb

I'm a researcher, writer and activist passionately believing in animal cultures rather than animal industries. Since about 20 years I have been making my home among the Raika, the traditional camel and sheep herders of Rajasthan in India, and observed how their life has been changing... how economic development, forest policies, population growth and other factors are impacting their traditional way of life. With the help of my colleagues from Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan (www.lpps.org) and League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development (www.pastoralpeoples.org) I have been trying to support them in their struggle for cultural and economic survival. On this blog I would like to chronicle some of these efforts.
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