World Initiative on Sustainable Pastoralism (WISP)

What the project is about


World Initiative on Sustainable Pastoralism (WISP). Pastoralism is a significant production system in the world’s dryland ecosystems but is not clearly understood with “conventional wisdom” characterizing it as a backward, environmentally destructive and economically unsustainable agricultural system that should be replaced with more sedentary forms of production. As a result, there are numerous policy and systemic barriers to the integration of pastoralism into mainstream agricultural and economic production systems. These misconceptions have persisted despite evidence that indicates that with enabling policy incentives, pastoralism is a viable production system that protects the land resources from degradation. It was in response to this that IUCN-The World Conservation Union developed WISP, a global advocacy and capacity building initiative that sought to tackle the causes of land degradation and lift policy and capacity barriers preventing sustainable management of pastoral lands.

 The project was designed to work through global, regional and national partnerships and networks set up to ensure that appropriate policies, legal mechanisms and support systems are established to enhance the economic, social and ecological sustainability of the pastoral livelihood system. This was to be done through advocacy at regional and global events and United Nations and other fora where WISP presented the social, economic and environmental arguments for pastoralism on behalf of pastoralists.

 The overall goal of WISP was: “to enhance the enabling environment for sustainable rangeland management, improved pastoral livelihoods, and pastoral empowerment.”

The immediate project objective was “to advocate and engage in capacity building in support of sustainable pastoral land management, through a catalytic partnership between pastoralists, donors, United Nations agencies, NGOs and the private sector”.


What we have archieved so far

The project has focused on the generation, packaging and dissemination of information and knowledge about pastoralism to increase global awareness about the economic contribution of pastoralists. Best practices from around the globe have also been identified and consolidated for use by policy makers.

The WISP project has generated a lot of research products which are now contributing immensely to awareness raising about pastoral production systems as well as the importance of these systems to nature conservation and the livelihoods of nomadic people.


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