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This article deals with the rights-based approach to development that in the last decade has informed discourse on pastoralism. It focuses on the organisations that have engaged in pastoral advocacy at the global level, considering the dynamic conceptions of development, human rights and policy that provide their cultural and operative background. It outlines the convergence of indigenous rights with the core challenges of pastoralism, and the emergence of the new concept of 'pastoralists' rights', eventually considered as a separate domain. It argues that the mobility paradigm of pastoral development may not by itself provide an adequate answer to the problems of pastoral communities, unless explicit consideration is made of the collective and procedural rights recognised under the international human rights framework.

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Published In

Nomadic Peoples
Volume 21Number 12017
Pages: 4 - 33


Published in print: 2017
Published online: 1 September 2023


  1. Advocacy
  2. minority rights
  3. pastoralism
  4. pastoral development
  5. WAMIP



Marco Bassi [email protected]
Social anthropologist with experience of research and teaching in several European, American and African universities, including Addis Ababa University, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Oxford and the University of Trento. Since his Ph.D. research among the Borana pastoralists, he has maintained his interest in Oromo Studies (in Ethiopia), and received the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the Oromo Studies Associations in 2011. Over time he has developed an interest in applied and interactive research and in advocacy, networking and engaging with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and several other international organisations in the fields of development, pastoralism, higher education and human rights. Email: [email protected]

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  • Pastoralism and conservation: The politics and notions of environmental justice under the grazing ban policy in Inner Mongolia, China, Political Geography, 10.1016/j.polgeo.2022.102779, 99, (102779), (2022).
  • Community engagement in pastoralist areas: Lessons from the public dialogue process for a new refugee settlement in Turkana, Kenya, Pastoralism, 10.1186/s13570-021-00192-7, 11, 1, (2021).
  • Toward a holistic understanding of pastoralism, One Earth, 10.1016/j.oneear.2021.04.012, 4, 5, (651-665), (2021).
  • Differences in African Indigenous Rights Messaging in International Advocacy Coalitions, Human Rights Review, 10.1007/s12142-021-00641-1, 23, 2, (183-204), (2021).
  • The relativistic attitude in development: reflections on the implementation of the Ethiopian multinational Constitution, Archivio antropologico mediterraneo, 10.4000/aam.2319, 21, 2, (2019).
  • Intensifying pastoralism may not reduce greenhouse gas emissions: wildlife-dominated landscape scenarios as a baseline in life-cycle analysis, Climate Research, 10.3354/cr01555, 77, 2, (91-97), (2019).

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