Maasai men herding their cattle in Arusha, Tanzania.
Photo: ©Katiekk/Shutterstock

2026 declared the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists

Rangelands and pastoralists play an important role in creating a sustainable environment, economic growth and resilient livelihoods for communities across the world. They have great potential to deliver on the SDGs.

To raise awareness and advocate for the value of healthy rangelands and sustainable pastoralism, the United Nations (UN) has declared 2026 the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists, to be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as the lead agency, FAO reported mid-March 2022 on its website. 

The International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists aims to highlight the need to further build the capacity of and increase responsible investment in the pastoral livestock sector. This includes sustainable land management practices, improved or restored ecosystems, and equitable access to markets, livestock health and breeding. 

Rangelands and pastoralism are linked to diverse ecosystems, cultures, identities, traditional knowledge and historical experience in coexisting with nature. Rangelands support the livelihoods and food security of millions of people around the world and have many benefits, not only to herders, but also to other communities through biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration and the delivery of clean water. Pastoralists make the most of a variable environment by using strategic mobility seasonally.

However, droughts, floods, ecosystem degradation, animal diseases, pressure on land and increasingly erratic climate are compromising the economic productivity of rangelands and pastoralism, which risks exacerbating rural poverty due to the loss of pastoralists’ productive assets.

FAO, together with its partners in government, civil society and the scientific community, will develop a series of activities linked to the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists, with the aim of raising awareness around the initiative and the importance of sustainable management of rangelands and pastoralism and its contribution to achieving sustainable development. FAO Members will be encouraged to build the capacity of the pastoral livestock sector and increase responsible investment, including for sustainable land management practices, also aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase adaptive capacity, and maintain and enhance biodiversity in rangelands.


Read more at FAO website

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