The Horn of Africa is incredibly dynamic and one of the world’s most food‑insecure areas, drought being a direct trigger of recent food insecurity crises. In a region that is one of the most conflict-prone regions in Africa, the humanitarian impact is severe on an already vulnerable part of Africa. In turn the consequences of the drought in such a context are costly and potentially explosive: food and nutrition security are both a cause and consequence of conflict and instability. Building resilience to shocks is even more important in conflict-affected countries.
Most of the Horn of Africa may be classified as arid and semi-arid and livestock production is the economic mainstay of these environments. Pastoral communities have long adapted to harsh climatic conditions but they are now facing endemic insecurity with increasing climate variability, more frequent occurrence and intensity of droughts and competition for shrinking pasture and water resources.
Building on the growing momentum for change that addresses the underlying causes of vulnerability, this brief calls for recognition that livestock is a powerful engine and a key driver for sustainable agriculture, for poverty reduction and the achievement of food security and nutrition. It highlights the importance of longer‑term solutions that keep the enhancement of the adaptive capacities of communities at the core of the responses and which address the relationship between issues that have the potential to drive conflict or peaceful cooperation.