Speaking at the recent policy convening on policy linkages for effective early warning, anticipatory action, humanitarian response and resilience building in pastoral areas, Ian Scoones of the University of Sussex posed three challenges underlying policy-practice disconnects.

First, in the drylands, pastoralism is the core livelihood for most people – and will be for the foreseeable future. We need to banish forever some of the myths about pastoralism that have plagued past policymaking.

 Listen to his presentation:

Second, droughts and other disasters are not single events that can be predicted and managed as risk, but emerge as part of complex systems, always uncertain, often combined with other pressures. Rather than assuming that we can develop a technical fix – a satellite early warning info system, an insurance product, or whatever – we need to think about how such interventions work (or often don’t) in context.

Third, we need to ask how reliability can be generated in such variable, uncertain settings, so that disasters are averted. With climate change, variability will only increase. Reliability can only be generated by working closely with the men and women who continuously manage grazing, assure water supplies, keep the peace, transport products to market, supply emergency fodder and so on. Understanding how this is done, by whom, through what relationships with which resources is an important starting point for building resilience from below.

Read his full remarks on the CRDD website