UN Peacekeeping Operations and Pastoralism-Related Insecurity: Adopting a Coordinated Approach for the Sahel

In recent years, pastoralism has increasingly become associated with violent conflict. In the Sahel, pastoralism-related insecurity is directly linked to macro-level conflict dynamics in contexts with UN peacekeeping missions, including Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Darfur, Abyei, and South Sudan. However, the UN system has been slow to adopt a coordinated response to this phenomenon.

This issue brief provides a preliminary overview of peacekeeping missions’ efforts to mitigate growing pastoralism-related insecurity in their areas of operation. It analyzes six missions that are active within or near the Sahel region. After framing pastoralism-related security, it explores how the Security Council has addressed this issue in mission mandates. It then looks at how missions have tried to address pastoralism-related insecurity and how they can leverage partnerships with other actors as part of a multi-stakeholder approach.

The paper concludes that while peacekeeping missions are not the primary means for addressing the multidimensional drivers of pastoralism-related insecurity, they can help mitigate risks, including through political and logistical support to other actors. Together with these partners, peacekeeping missions should leverage their comparative advantages to help address pastoralism-related insecurity in the Sahel.