Just days before 2020 ended, ILC's member-led platform Central Asia Pastoralist Alliance (CAPA) organised a planning meeting of the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP) initiative for the Central Asia and Mongolia chapter. The meeting involved representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, all of which had been included in the regional support group of the campaign.
Participants agreed to introduce the "IYRP 12 monthly themes" as part of campaign promotion and advocacy at the national level. Starting this year, the IYRP chapter in Central Asia and Mongolia will introduce themes such as climate change, agroforestry, and disaster risk reduction among others, and highlight the important role and linkage of pastoralism with these issues. Pastoralists are often not recognised for their sustainable animal husbandry practice, which practices a highly efficient way of managing drylands and high-altitude ecosystems. They are key to food security in areas like drylands, highlands, wetlands, and shrublands where crop production is difficult.
The IYRP campaign has been a culmination of solidarity among pastoral and herding communities across the globe who have been working to raise awareness of pastoralists' role in ensuring food security and protecting ecosystem services. In August 2019, the Mongolian Government proposed the United Nations declare an IYRP by 2026. The proposal has now been endorsed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Committee on Agriculture (COAG) in October 2020 and the FAO Council in early December 2020. The IYRP campaign seeks to generate further support for the proposal during the FAO Conference in mid-2021 and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2021.
The meeting concluded with participants agreeing on the involvement of more stakeholders in these activities. The support group seeks to expand its network by opening its doors to government agencies, donors, research institutions, NGOs, local associations, pasture user groups, and pastoralists.